United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
NATHAN C. WALKER, Plaintiff,
JEFF STANDARD, et al., Defendants.
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
MICHAEL M. MIHM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
proceeding pro se, pursues a § 1983 action alleging
interference with his mail while a pretrial detainee at the
Fulton County Jail (“Jail”). The case is before
the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. In reviewing the Complaint, the Court accepts the
factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in
Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 649-51 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements
and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to
“state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.” Alexander v. United States, 721 F.3d
418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(citation and internal quotation
marks omitted). While the pleading standard does not require
“detailed factual allegations”, it requires
“more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-
harmed-me accusation.” Wilson v. Ryker, 451
Fed.Appx. 588, 589 (7th Cir. 2011) quoting Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
claims that in March and April, 2016, he sent six letters
directed to a judge at the Fulton County Courthouse.
Plaintiff asserts that mail for the courthouse was picked up
by Defendant Jesse Hampton, a Fulton County bailiff. When
Plaintiff received no reply to his letters, he asked a staff
member about it. The unidentified staff member allegedly told
him that Defendant Hampton had posted a memo directing staff
to intercept and discard prisoners' letters to Fulton
County judges. Plaintiff claims that his letters to the judge
complaining about his public defender might, if received,
have changed the outcome in his criminal case. He alleges
violation of his First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment
rights and a state law claim of intentional infliction of
have a First and Fourteenth Amendment substantive right to
send and receive mail. Rowe v. Shake, 196 F.3d 778, 781
(7th Cir.1999). See Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490
U.S. 401, 424-25, 109 S.Ct. 1874, 1887-88, 104 L.Ed.2d 459
(1989) (the sender and recipient of personal correspondence
has a First and Fourteenth Amendment protection
“against unjustified governmental interference with the
intended communication. ...”. See also, Antonelli
v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1432 (7th Cir. 1996)
(interference with mail violates right to free speech and
association). Prison officials may, however, examine mail to
ensure that it does not contain contraband. Kaufman v.
McCaughtry, 419 F.3d 678, 685 (7th Cir. 2005)(internal
citations omitted). While prison officials may seize and read
inmate mail, they may only do so in furtherance of an
important governmental interest and with no greater
restriction than necessary. See Koutnik v. Brown,
456 F.3d 777, 784-85 (7th Cir. 2006).
states enough at this juncture for First and Fourteenth
Amendment claims for interference with his mail. While
Plaintiff claims that Hampton posted a memo, he does not
explain how a bailiff at the County Courthouse would have the
authority to post a memo governing staff conduct at the Jail.
Plaintiff does not claim, however, that it was staff who
threw out his mail, but appears to claim that this was done
by Hampton. Plaintiff names Lieutenant LaFary, Jail staff and
Sheriff Standard, but asserts no allegations against them.
“[T]o be liable under [Section] 1983, an
individual defendant must have caused or participated in a
constitutional deprivation.” Pepper v. Village of
Oak Park, 430 F.3d 809, 810 (7th Cir.2005) (citations
omitted). Merely naming a defendant in the caption is
insufficient to state a claim. See Collins v.
Kibort, 143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th Cir.1998). These
Defendants are DISMISSED.
also asserts a state law claim for the intentional infliction
of emotional distress. “Under Illinois law, a plaintiff
claiming intentional infliction of emotional distress must
demonstrate that the defendant intentionally or recklessly
engaged in ‘extreme and outrageous conduct' that
resulted in severe emotional distress.” Dent v.
Nally, No. 16-00442, 2016 WL 2865998, at *4 (S.D. Ill.
May 17, 2016) (internal citations omitted).
“[E]motional distress alone is not sufficient to give
rise to a cause of action. The emotional distress must be
severe.” Sornberger v. City of Knoxville,
Ill., 434 F.3d 1006, 1030 (7th Cir. 2006) (internal
citations omitted). “Fright, horror, grief, shame,
humiliation, worry, etc. may fa ll within the ambit of the
term ‘emotional distress, ' these mental conditions
alone are not actionable.” Id. at 1030. Here,
Plaintiff does not allege facts sufficient to support the
state law claim and it is dismissed.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
1. This case shall proceed solely against Defendant Hampton
for the interception and destruction of Plaintiff's mail.
Any claims not identified will not be included in the case,
except in the Court's discretion upon motion by a party
for good cause shown, or by leave of court pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15. Defendants Sheriff
Standard, Doug LaFary and Fulton County Jail Staff are
2. Plaintiff's motions for status [9, 10] are rendered
MOOT by this order.
3. The Clerk is directed to send to each Defendant pursuant
to this District's internal procedures: 1) a Notice of
Lawsuit and Request for Waiver of Service; 2) a Waiver of
Service; 3) a copy of the Complaint; and 4) a copy of this
4. If a Defendant fails to sign and return a Waiver of
Service to the Clerk within 30 days after the Waiver is sent,
the Court will take appropriate steps to effect formal
service on that Defendant and will require that Defendant pay
the full costs of formal service pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 4(d)(2). If a Defendant no longer works at
the address provided by Plaintiff, the entity for which
Defendant worked at the time identified in the Complaint
shall provide to the Clerk Defendant's current work
address, or, if not known, Defendant's forwarding
address. This information will be used only for purposes of
effecting service. Documentation of forwarding addresses will
be maintained only by the Clerk and shall not be maintained
in the public docket nor disclosed by the Clerk.
5. Defendants shall file an answer within the prescribed by
Local Rule. A Motion to Dismiss is not an answer. The answer
it to include all defenses appropriate under the Federal
Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings are to address the
issues and claims identified in this Order.
6. Plaintiff shall serve upon any Defendant who has been
served, but who is not represented by counsel, a copy of
every filing submitted by Plaintiff for consideration by the
Court, and shall also file a certificate of service stating
the date on which the copy was mailed. Any paper received by
a District Judge or Magistrate Judge that has not been filed
with the Clerk or that fails to include a required
certificate of service will be stricken by the Court.
7. Once counsel has appeared for a Defendant, Plaintiff need
not send copies of filings to that Defendant or to that
Defendant's counsel. Instead, the Clerk will file
Plaintiff's document electronically and send notice of
electronic filing to defense counsel. The notice of
electronic filing shall constitute notice to Defendant
pursuant to Local Rule 5.3. If electronic ...