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Vancee v. Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 24, 2017

SANTIAGO VANCE, Plaintiff,
v.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS CORRECTIONAL CENTER, and ANITA BAZILE-SAWYER Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Santiago Vance, an inmate in Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff requests monetary compensation and staff retraining. This case is now before the Court for 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 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 exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges that on March 2, 2017 he received mail regarding a sensitive matter from the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) and that mail was given to him opened. (Doc. 1, p. 4).

         Discussion

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

Count 1 - Plaintiff's mail from the ARB was opened outside his presence on a single occasion in violation of the First Amendment.

         Plaintiff's claim fails for multiple reasons. First of all, Plaintiff has named Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center as a defendant, but a correctional center is not a proper defendant. The Supreme Court has held that “neither a State nor its officials acting in their official capacities are ‘persons' under § 1983.” Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police,491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). See also Wynn v. Southward,251 F.3d 588, 592 (7th Cir.2001) (Eleventh Amendment bars suits against states in federal court for money damages); Billman v. Ind. Dep't of Corr.,56 F.3d 785, 788 (7th Cir.1995) (state Department of Corrections is immune from suit by virtue of Eleventh Amendment); Hughes v. Joliet Corr. Ctr.,931 F.2d 425, 427 (7th Cir.1991) (same); Santiago v. Lane,894 F.2d 219, 220 n. 3 (7th Cir.1990) (same). The IDOC is not a “person, ” who is amenable to suit under § 1983. Likewise, ...


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