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Martin v. Baldwin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 3, 2017



          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Jamion Martin, an inmate in Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks fees and damages. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         An action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross “the line between possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on January 25, 2017. (Doc. 1). It appears that Plaintiff's Complaint may be missing a page. The Statement of Claim starts with “Count 2.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff has also filed two supplements to the Complaint (Docs. 7, 11), which normally the Court would not consider due to its policy of not accepting piecemeal complaints. The Court will consider them in this case, however, due to its concern about the potentially missing page. Nonetheless, Plaintiff is warned that all further attempts to amend any complaint piecemeal will be denied. Any amendments should contain all claims currently pending with new material underlined. See Local Rule 15.1.

         A grievance attached to the Complaint, as well as Plaintiff's subsequent filings, make it clear that he believes that Lashbrook, Love, and other Pinckneyville administrative staff had an ongoing “illegal” policy or practice of refusing to submit inmates for their SSC and GCC good time credit. (Doc. 1-1, p. 7). Plaintiff believes he was entitled to SSG good time specifically because he completed a program, and thus was entitled to the credit as soon as he entered the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”). (Doc. 7, p. 2). Plaintiff also completed the mental health program, which he believes entitled him to credits. Id. Plaintiff witnessed six to eight other inmates receive SSC as soon as they entered IDOC. Id. Plaintiff was told that he is not eligible for the credits due to his C-grade status, (Doc. 1-1, p. 7), but he believes that everyone else at the prison is eligible but him. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He has alleged that he meets all the criteria for an award of SSG. (Doc. 11, p. 2). He attributes his ineligibility to the fact that he filed complaints. Id. Lashbrook specifically told Plaintiff to stop “bitching” and “crying” and that he would get the credits when she was ready. (Doc. 7, p. 5). Plaintiff included correspondence from Gomez, Warden of Sheridan Correctional Center, dated September 8, 2016, telling him to address concerns about SSC with his counselor and reminding Plaintiff that SSC is discretionary. (Doc. 1-1, p. 1).

         Plaintiff also alleges that Counselor Clay, the unknown grievance officer, Lashbrook, Baldwin, Doe, and Love violated Plaintiff's rights by refusing to provide grievances to inmates. (Doc. 1, p. 5). For example, Plaintiff recently requested two grievance forms from Clay, but Clay said “unless you tell me who you're writing up, and what for, I'm not giving you shit.” Id. Plaintiff then wrote a grievance on regular paper, but it was rejected. Id. His oral complaints were ignored, and four subsequent requests for grievance forms went unanswered. Id. As a result of the defendants' actions, Plaintiff has suffered from severe headaches and other mental injuries. Id.

         Plaintiff indicated in his Complaint that he filed a grievance regarding these issues on December 26, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 4). The Complaint does not mention or address any other grievances. Id. Plaintiff attached a grievance, which is dated December 26, 2016, to his Complaint. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 7-8). The grievance has a counselor's response dated January 4, 2017. (Doc. 1-1, p. 7). No other responses were included. On February 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed his “Motion in Addendum.” (Doc. 11). That motion affirmatively states that “Plaintiff just received a grievance back from Defendant Baldwin's Office.” (Doc. 11, p. 1). Plaintiff again attaches a copy of the December 26 grievance, this time with a stamp noting that it was ...

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