United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JAMES E. FORD, # R-43353, Plaintiff,
ROBERT MUELLER, CHRISTOPHER C. BAILEY, JUSTIN R. BHXEVGTON, and UNKNOWN OFFICERS (All Internal Affairs Officers), Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. Rosenstengel United States District Judge
currently incarcerated at Centralia Correctional Center
("Centralia"), has brought this pro se
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff claims that he was wrongly subjected to discipline
based on alleged gang membership and that he was singled out
for a ticket because of his race. The Complaint is now before
the Court for a preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. Also before the Court is Plaintiffs motion for
leave to file an amended Complaint (Doc. 8).
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion
of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks
for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 maybe so sketchy or implausible that they
fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiffs 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 Arnett v.
Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011);
Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816,
821 (7th Cir. 2009).
these standards, the Court finds that some of Plaintiffs
claims survive threshold review under § 1915A.
10, 2016, Plaintiff was on the yard talking to his cousin
(also an inmate) about family matters. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Three
other inmates were standing about two feet away. C/O Bailey
walked up to the other three inmates and asked to see their
ID cards, then called Plaintiff and his cousin over to check
their ID's as well. They complied. Bailey then told them,
"He didn't know why but [they] should move
around." (Doc. 1, p. 6).
next day, Plaintiff was called to the "gang intel
office" and questioned about whether he was a member of
the Gangster Disciples. Id. Plaintiff responded that
he was not and had never been in a gang.
12, 2016, however, Plaintiff received a disciplinary ticket
claiming he was a member of the Gangster Disciples. (Doc.
1-2, p. 2). Although Plaintiff asserts there is no evidence
of gang activity in his background, he was found guilty of
the offense. (Doc. 1-2, pp. 5-6). He was punished with the
loss of two months telephone privileges, two months of
outside recreation, and six months of visit restrictions.
Because Plaintiff has now been labeled as a gang member,
other gang member inmates have been questioning him He is
concerned that this label will affect him upon his release.
alleges that Bailey singled out Plaintiff and the other four
nearby inmates for disciplinary action because of their race
(African-American). Bailey has walked past
"numerous" groups of whites and Hispanics gathered
on the yard, in order to get to a group of Blacks. (Doc. l,
complained about the charge and discipline to Warden Mueller,
who said he would "look into it, " but Plaintiff
claims Mueller never did. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff filed a
grievance (Doc. 1-2, pp. 3-4, 8, 13-15),  talked to the
administration, and had his family call about the matter. He
was told to "let the administration look into it, "
which Plaintiff did, but nothing was done. Id.
three months after the incident, C/O Bailey came to
Plaintiffs cell for a compliance check. Bailey poured all the
water out of Plaintiffs hot pot, then plugged it in and left
it that way. When Plaintiff said something about this
conduct, Bailey ordered him out of the cell. When Plaintiff
returned, Bailey had confiscated a number of personal items,
including a Sony Walkman, 24 tapes, and various dishes and
toiletry items. Plaintiff wrote grievances about Bailey's
"harassment" and "abuse of power." (Doc.
1, p. 6; Doc. 1-1, pp. 3-4, 8-9). Since then, Bailey has not
been assigned to Plaintiffs housing unit, but when Bailey
sees Plaintiff, he stops Plaintiff and searches him to
continue the harassment.
seeks a declaratory judgment, an order clearing the
disciplinary charges from his record, and compensatory and
punitive damages. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
for Leave to File Amended Complaint (Doc. 8)
motion, Plaintiff seeks permission to "file an Amended
Complaint adding a party." (Doc. 8, p. 1). He explains
that in the "bogus adjustment committee hearing, "
C/O Mark Burton sided with staff and ignored prison rules,
thus violating Plaintiffs rights. Id. Plaintiff
wants to include Burton as a defendant. Along with the
motion, Plaintiff tendered a two page proposed Amended
Complaint. This document consists only of the first page of a
complaint form, including the caption naming Burton along
with the other defendants, and a second page listing all the
defendants, including Burton. The proposed Amended Complaint
does not contain a statement of claim, signature, or any
plaintiff cannot amend a previous Complaint in a piecemeal
fashion, as Plaintiff attempts to do here. Consistent with
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), a cut-and-paste
amendment like this (known as amendment by interlineation) is
not permitted; instead, all claims against all defendants
must be set forth in a single document. Furthermore, an
amended complaint supersedes and replaces the original
Complaint, rendering the original Complaint void. See
Flannery v. Recording Indus. Ass 'n of Am., 354 F.3d
632, 638 n.l (7th Cir. 2004). For this reason, an amended
complaint must contain all the relevant allegations in
support of Plaintiffs claims and must stand on its own,
without reference to any other pleading.
Plaintiffs motion (Doc. 8) shall be denied, but without
prejudice to seeking leave at a later date. The Court will
proceed to review the original Complaint, as required under
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. $ 1915A
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the prose action into
the following 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. The
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as
to their merit. Any other claim that is ...