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McCaskill v. Nance

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 26, 2017



          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Stephen McCaskill, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), previously incarcerated at Shawnee Correctional Center (“Shawnee”), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that the defendants violated his federal constitutional rights by incarcerating him beyond the date he was eligible for mandatory supervised release (“MSR”). Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated, though he was at the time he filed this lawsuit, so this Court will conduct 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 “no reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.” 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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows 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). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts “should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements.” Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a 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; certain claims in this action are subject to dismissal.

         The Complaint

         In the Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff alleges the following: on October 26, 2015, he informed the counselor that he had submitted parole plans for two different parole sites every week for almost three months. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff told Counselor Nance this information, and Nance looked at the computer only to find that no new sites were recorded, only Plaintiff's brother's house, which was pending, and another in Cicero, Illinois, that had been denied in July. Id. The sites Plaintiff had submitted plans for were St. Leonard's House and CG&G Associates, in Chicago and Chicago Heights, Illinois, respectively. Id. Plaintiff's parole date was on November 6, 2015, so he believes Field Services employees were unprofessional, deliberately indifferent, biased, hateful, and careless, as well as in violation of IDOC policies, in their failure to log the proposed sites submitted by Plaintiff. Id. The counselor did not attempt to help Plaintiff after he made this discovery, despite Plaintiff's request that he call Field Services to resolve the issue.

         Plaintiff also wrote to Nolen in Field Services and Counselor Lynn about the issue, and he spoke to Bob Allard, the Supervisor of Clinical Services, who wrote Plaintiff's name down and stated he had seen something from Plaintiff. Id. Allard told Plaintiff that he would send him the papers he needed to fill out for a new parole site, but he never did. Id. Counselor Seips also failed to respond to several requests Plaintiff submitted to her regarding his parole site and asking her to send him parole resident request forms. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Defendant Nance did not respond to a grievance that Plaintiff handed him on October 26, 2015. Id. Field Services similarly did not respond to approximately fifteen request slips from Plaintiff to be placed on their call line in order to get his parole situation resolved. Id. On November 6, 2015, Plaintiff's parole was considered violated by the Springfield Prison Review Board (“PRB”) for his failing to have a place of residency to parole to, though Plaintiff believes this was due to Field Services failing to enter Plaintiff's requested parole sites. (Doc. 1, p. 8), On December 4, 2015, Plaintiff saw Counselor Reeder and informed her that his parole date was passed and that he had placed slips to Field Services to parole to a halfway house. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Reeder told Plaintiff he could not parole to a halfway house because he is a sex offender, which Plaintiff knows to be false because the halfway houses he requested accept sex offenders. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). Reeder then told Plaintiff that he had been put in for a halfway house, and when Plaintiff questioned why a murderer was approved to parole to a halfway house before him, Reeder stated loudly, in front of other prisoners, that it was because the other inmate is a murderer, and Plaintiff is a sex offender. (Doc. 1, p. 8). This put Plaintiff in a very dangerous situation, and several inmates called Plaintiff a rapist and pedophile and looked at him “crazy.” Id. Plaintiff believes Reeder's actions violated the Privacy Act. Id.

         On December 3, 2015, Plaintiff received a Prison Review Board Notice of Parole/MSR Violation Hearing. Id. On December 9, 2015, the hearing was held, and Plaintiff was served with a Parole Violation Report that was typed up by Parole Agent Pate on November 6, 2015, and signed by the Parole Supervisor Akpore on November 8, 2015. Id. The report stated that Plaintiff had been charged with failure to comply with MSB rule number 5, failure to provide a host site for intensive supervision. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9). The report was false, as Plaintiff had provided host sites, but they were never entered into the computer by Nolen. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff believes Pate and Akpore fabricated the report to cover up the situation and deprive Plaintiff of his constitutional right to be free. Id. Pate stated that no suitable site could be found, and also stated that the parole agency attempted to place Plaintiff at all of the places IDOC would pay for, but these paid placements could not accept Plaintiff for any number of reasons. Id. As far as the residences of Plaintiff's family members, Pate said these sites did not provide adequate, intensive supervision and were not acceptable. Id. Plaintiff claims that these excuses are lies often told to keep sex offenders incarcerated. Id.

         On December 9, 2015, Plaintiff received a memorandum from Julie Tanner in the Records Office telling Plaintiff to provide Field Services with the information of any other parole site Plaintiff wanted to be checked. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff submitted a site, Community Care Nursing Home in Chicago, Illinois, that same day. Id. On January 12, 2016, Plaintiff saw Counselor Reeder and asked her to check whether Field Services had entered Plaintiff's new parole site request into the computer. Id. Reeder showed Plaintiff that they had not entered any that would accept Plaintiff. Id.

         Plaintiff requests monetary damages from the defendants. (Doc. 1, p. 12).


         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide this pro se action into four counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court.

Count 1 - Defendants subjected Plaintiff to cruel and unusual punishment contrary to the Eighth Amendment by failing to release him on his MSR date.
Count 2 - Defendants deprived Plaintiff of a liberty interest without due process, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, when they failed to release him on his MSR date.
Count 3 - Defendants violated Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection rights by treating prisoners who are not sex offenders differently than sex offender prisoners, including Plaintiff.
Count 4 - Reeder violated the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. ยง 552a(b)) by stating that Plaintiff is a sex offender within ...

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