United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE United States District Judge.
currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”), has brought this pro se
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff claims that Defendants failed to timely mail his
legal documents, which resulted in the dismissal of his civil
rights case in the Northern District of Illinois. The
Complaint is now before the Court for a preliminary review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 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.
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).
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 Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751
(7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
fully considering the allegations in Plaintiff's
Complaint and the record in his dismissed Northern District
case, the Court concludes that this action is subject to
summary dismissal pursuant to § 1915A.
factual summary is drawn from Plaintiff's statement of
claim (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6) and his attached exhibits. (Doc. 1,
pp. 8-14). In late 2016, Plaintiff brought a civil rights
action in the Northern District of Illinois, Case No.
16-C-50326, Peters v. Satkiewicz, et al. On November
16, 2016, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's Complaint in
that action and ordered him to submit a complete application
for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”) and an amended complaint that stated a
claim. (Doc. 1, p. 11). The Court gave Plaintiff a deadline
of January 23, 2017 to submit those documents. On February 9,
2017, when the Court did not receive either document from
Plaintiff within the specified deadline, the case was
dismissed with prejudice for failure to prosecute and
noncompliance with a court order. Id.
asserts that he in fact prepared the IFP documents and the
amended complaint for Peters v. Satkiewicz in a
timely fashion and had “attempted to file” them
on January 19, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 9). However, Menard
officials delayed sending out these documents and other
unrelated documents for 2 months (between December 22, 2016,
and February 7, 2017). (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 9). They held all
documents that Plaintiff had submitted during this period,
consolidated them and then mailed them all out on February 7,
2017. (Doc. 1, p. 10).
motion for leave to proceed IFP and his amended complaint
were docketed in Case No. 16-C-50326 (N.D. Ill.) on February
10, 2017, one day after the entry of judgment in that
case. (Docs. 10, 11 in Case No. 16-C-50326 (N.D.
Ill.)). On March 1, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a motion
seeking reconsideration of the dismissal of his case,
explaining his attempts to comply with the Order and the
delays caused by Menard officials. (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10; filed
on March 7, 2017, as Doc. 12 in Case No. 16-C-50326 (N.D.
Ill.)). Plaintiff notes that he did not receive the Northern
District's Order of dismissal until February 28, 2017.
(Doc 1, p. 10). As of the date of the instant Order, the
Northern District has not yet issued a ruling on
Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration.
asserts that Menard “employees, the Warden, [and] the
Director created negligence, when they failed in the[ir] duty
to insure the mail is handled correctly.” (Doc. 1, p.
5). These actions violated his right to access the courts.
Id. In a grievance filed on January 25, 2017,
Plaintiff complains that Menard has no procedures to track
his legal mail, his money voucher receipts are not being
returned to him, and “numerous pieces of deadline
mail” are not accounted for. (Doc. 1, pp. 12-13). On
February 1, 2017, he filed another grievance over alleged
tampering with his legal mail, the failure to return money
vouchers, and complaining that he had not received filed
documents back from the courts. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Plaintiff
has received no response to these grievances. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as
compensatory and punitive damages. (Doc. 1, p. 7).
Review Pursuant to 28 ...