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Lane v. Putnam County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

April 18, 2017

JOYCE LANE, Plaintiff,
v.
PUTNAM COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, WILLIAM MUCCI, and DAVID LEIGH. Defendants.

          ORDER & OPINION

          JOE BILLY McDADE United States Senior District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on a sua sponte review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and her claims must be dismissed.

         I. Procedural History

         On November 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed this complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants Leigh, Mucci, and the Putnam County Sheriff's Department had violated her constitutional rights by forcefully evicting her from her home. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff also filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 2). On November 17, 2016, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 3). The Court also performed a screening of Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). (Doc. 3). The Court found that based on the Complaint, the Court could not find at that stage in the litigation that Plaintiff had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (Doc. 3 at 2).

         On March 14, 2017, Plaintiff filed an exhibit to her Complaint. (Doc. 28). The exhibit was an additional eight pages of factual pleadings pertaining to the Complaint. (Doc. 28). Because of the additional facts, it appeared to the Court that the Plaintiff may have pled herself out of Court by establishing that her claims are not redressable. Therefore, on March 28, 2017, the Court issued an order requiring Plaintiff to show cause as to whether she had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. See Mar. 28, 2017 Text Order. On April 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed her response to the order to show cause. (Doc. 31). The Court now reviews Plaintiff's Complaint, her additional facts, and her response to the show cause order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).

         II. Legal Standards

         The complaint of a plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis must be dismissed at any time, if the Court deems that it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). When evaluating whether a pro se plaintiff has stated a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B), courts use the same standards that apply to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motions. Luevano v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1027 (7th Cir. 2013). Therefore, the court will take “all well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and view[ ] them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Id. (citing Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011). A plaintiff need only give “‘fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” EEOC v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776-77 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Furthermore, a pro se complaint is to be construed liberally and held to “less stringent standards than a formal pleadings by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         There are two ways a plaintiff can find his or her case dismissed for failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The first is if the plaintiff did not allege enough facts to state a claim that would be plausible on its face. Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556 F.3d 575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). To be facially plausible, a complaint must allow the court to “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         The second is if he or she pled facts that show he or she has no legal claim. Atkins v. City of Chi., 631 F.3d 823, 832 (7th Cir. 2011). This includes not only the facts alleged within the complaint, but also the facts from documents that were incorporated into the pleadings. In re Wade, 969 F.2d 241, 249 (7th Cir. 1992). If the plaintiff voluntarily provides unnecessary facts in his or her complaint, those facts may be used to show that the plaintiff is not entitled to relief. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1086 (7th Cir. 2008) (citations omitted).

         III. Factual Background

         Plaintiff's claims arise from the forced eviction from her rental home. At this stage of the proceedings, the Court takes Plaintiff's well-pled allegations as true and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the Plaintiff. On November 6, 2014, Plaintiff had a hearing in her divorce proceedings against Defendant Leigh. (Doc. 28 at 5). When she returned home, she discovered that the locks had been changed and her key did not work. (Doc. 28 at 5). Plaintiff then called the Putnam County Sheriff's Department and informed them that she needed their help to get into the house. (Doc. 28 at 6). Officer Physcia responded that if it was her house, she should break the window and go in. (Doc. 28 at 6).

         On November 8, 2016, Plaintiff returned to the house with her sister and cousin. (Doc. 28 at 7). A locksmith, whom Plaintiff had contacted, was unable to meet them in the morning, so Plaintiff left for lunch. (Doc. 28 at 7). As she was leaving, she noticed a sheriff's car following her. (Doc. 28 at 7). She pulled her vehicle over and the officer approached her window. (Doc. 28 at 7). The officer informed her that he had received a call that she was trying to break into the house. (Doc. 28 at 7). Plaintiff took the officer's recorder and stated her name and that it was her home. (Doc. 28 at 8). The officer then informed her that he would meet her at the house after lunch. (Doc. 28 at 8).

         When Plaintiff returned that afternoon, Officer Kasenski was waiting. (Doc. 28 at 8). He informed Plaintiff that Defendant Mucci had called him and told him that he owned the property and had eviction papers for Plaintiff. (Doc. 28 at 8). Officer Kasenski informed Plaintiff that he had orders to remove Plaintiff's goods from the home. (Doc. 28 at 8). The officer proceeded to remove Plaintiff's goods as she identified them. (Doc. 28 at 8). While moving, Plaintiff noticed that her “357 gun” and $5, 000 in cash were missing from her possessions in the house. (Doc. 28 at 8). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated her due process by forcibly evicting her from her home and without the proper documentation, according to Forcible Entry and Detainer Act, 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/9-101.

         IV. ...


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