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Cunningham v. Snearly

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 8, 2017

TIMOTHY J. CUNNINGHAM SR., Plaintiff,
v.
SNEARLY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Timothy J. Cunningham, Sr., an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff requests monetary 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 originally brought this claim in case No. 16-cv-1360-MJR on December 19, 2016. (Doc. 1). On February 8, 2017, the Court severed this claim from that action as unrelated. (Doc. 1).

         Plaintiff alleges that on September 15, 18, and 21, 2016, Officer Snearly cut short the time to eat on the diabetic chow line. (Doc. 2, p. 16). Exhibits attached to the Complaint allege that on September 15, the last man in the chow line sat down at 4:43 pm, and that Snearly called out the inmates at 4:48 pm, forcing Plaintiff to throw away the rest of his meal. (Doc. 2-11, p. 3). On September 18, the last man sat down at 4:48 pm, and Snearly told the inmates to exit the chow facility at 4:51 pm. (Doc. 2-11, p. 5). On September 21, 2016, Snearly entered the chow dining area and told the assembled inmates that he usually gives inmates twelve minutes to eat, and that they had been eating for fifteen minutes, three minutes longer than usual. (Doc. 2, p. 16). The grievance Plaintiff wrote on this incident suggests that the last inmate sat down sometime between 4:44 pm and 4:47 pm, and that the inmates were told to get up at 4:50 pm. (Doc. 2-11, p. 8).[1] Snearly told the inmates to get out because they had been eating too long. (Doc. 2, p. 16). Snearly was serving as the walk officer, who is in charge of moving inmates from building to building. Id. Plaintiff alleges that Snearly is not supposed to control how long the inmates have to eat. Id. Plaintiff further alleges that Snearly violated Rule 11 of the inmate orientation manual, which states that inmates will be allowed ten minutes to eat from the time the last man sits down. Id. As a result of Snearly's actions, Plaintiff was forced to throw away food. Id. Plaintiff is a diabetic. Id. If Plaintiff has to eat commissary food instead of chow hall food, it puts him at risk because he could potentially eat too much sugar. Id.

         Discussion

         Previously, the Court found that Plaintiff had alleged one ...


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