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Jordan v. Brookhart

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 17, 2017


v.
DR BROOKHART, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. Chief District Judge

         In Jordan v. Lamb, Case No. 17-cv-207-SMY (S.D. Ill. June 14, 2017), Plaintiff Pierre Jordan, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”), brought suit for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007), a First Amendment access to courts claim against Defendant Brookhart was severed from that initial action to form the basis for this action, Case No. 17-cv-625-MJR. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of that claim 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 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. 2009).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to allow this case to proceed past the threshold stage.

         The Complaint

         The allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 2) relevant to this severed action are as follows: Plaintiff was obstructed from having meaningful access to the courts when Dr. Brookhart instructed Law Librarian Caslin to deny his request “to be placed on the legal deadline because they don't recognize civil and criminal litigation, only prison conditions.” (Doc. 1, p. 19). As a result, Plaintiff missed a filing deadline in his tort case, a fact the opposing counsel cited as grounds for dismissal of the case. Id.

         Discussion

         In its Severance Order (Doc. 1), the Court designated the following count to be severed into this pro se action. The parties and the Court will continue to use this designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court.

Count 6 - Brookhart violated Plaintiff's First Amendment rights by denying him access to courts when he instructed the law librarian to deny Plaintiff's requests with respect to his ...

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