United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. Yandle, United States District Court District Judge
2016, Plaintiff Robert Minerly, an inmate who is currently
incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center
(“Big Muddy”), filed a pro se civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that
certain Big Muddy officials conspired to retaliate against
him for filing a grievance pertaining to the prison's
“orange crush” tactical team. See Minerly v.
Nalley, et al., Case No. 3:16-cv-00782-MJR-SCW
(“2016 Civil Rights Action”). Plaintiff's
2016 Civil Rights Action is presently pending.
filed the instant action on May 16, 2017, alleging that
certain Big Muddy officials have retaliated against him for
filing and pursuing his claims in the 2016 Civil Rights
Action. In connection with these claims, Plaintiff sues Karen
Kirschke (Counselor in Charge of Aftercare Program), Cecil
Holt (Psychologist and Kirschke's Supervisor), Denise
Minor (Lieutenant of Internal Affairs Department), Jason
Garnett (Warden) and an Unknown Party (John Doe Correctional
Officers with Rank of Internal Affairs Officers). Plaintiff
seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief. Plaintiff has
also filed a motion for preliminary injunction. (Doc. 9).
Complaint is before the Court for a preliminary review
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
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.
8, 2016, Plaintiff filed the 2016 Civil Rights Action. (Doc.
1, p. 2). Two days later, He was removed from the Voluntary
Sex Offender Program (“VSOP”) and transferred to
another wing of the prison. (Doc. 1, p. 3; Doc. 1-2, p. 4). A
grievance attached to the Complaint provides the following
additional information pertaining to Plaintiff's removal
Karen Kirschke disclosed to me a barrage of inconsistencies
as to why I must be removed from the program. One reason in
particular piqued my curiosities as being the truth. She said
and I quote, “if a certain somebody gets wind that
I'm still in the program she'll be put on the spot
and will have to justify it some how.”
(Doc. 1-2, p. 4). The grievance further indicates that both
Kirschke and Holt were involved in the decision to remove
Plaintiff from VSOP. Id. After Plaintiff complained
about being removed from VSOP, he was placed in an aftercare
program that meets once a week, for an hour, in the prison
chapel with Kirschke. Id. Plaintiff contends that he
was removed from VSOP in retaliation for filing the 2016
Civil Rights Action. Id.
August 2016, after an aftercare meeting had been adjourned,
Plaintiff secured declarations from inmates Mike Thomas and
Daniel Vanskike for use in the 2016 Civil Rights Action.
Id. Additionally, in August 2016, Plaintiff relayed
instructions to certain inmates regarding how to provide
Plaintiff with declarations for use in his 2016 Civil Rights
Action (Bobby Barrett was asked to give instructions to Brad
Boaz and Edwin Klemm). Id. Kirschke and Holt learned
about Plaintiff's efforts to obtain the declarations and
reported his activity to internal affairs. Id.
Thereafter, several inmates (Vanskike, Foutch, and Thomas)
were reprimanded by unidentified internal affairs officers
(unknown John Doe Defendants), Holt, Kirscke and Minor for
providing Plaintiff with statements. Id.
Additionally, Plaintiff and inmate Vanskike were
“kicked out” of the aftercare program. (Doc. 1,
pp. 3-4). Plaintiff contends his removal from the aftercare
program was also an act of retaliation. Doc. 1, p. 4). As a
result of this conduct, other inmates are no longer willing
to provide Plaintiff with statements pertaining to his case.
filed a grievance pertaining to the alleged retaliation on
August 30, 2016 and mailed a copy of the grievance to
Garnett. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff's grievance was denied
on September 13, 2016. Id. Plaintiff's appeal was
denied on October 17, 2016. Id. On October 26, 2016,
Plaintiff submitted an appeal to Baldwin. Plaintiff received
a final denial on April 20, 2017.
asserts that the retaliation is ongoing in that he is no
longer a participant in VSOP or the aftercare program. (Doc.
1, pp. 5-6). He seeks monetary damages as well ...