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Masonn v. Unknown Party

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 6, 2017

MICKEY DEANGELO MASON, Plaintiff,
v.
UNKNOWN PARTY, and INTERNAL AFFAIRS Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          David R. Herndon United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Mickey Mason, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff requests monetary damages. 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).

         Complaint and Procedural History

         Plaintiff originally filed suit in Case No. 17-cv-867-DRH-RJD (“17-867”) on August 15, 2017. On September 21, 2017, the Court determined that Plaintiff had stated unrelated claims and directed that Count 4 be severed into this action. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff filed a motion requesting reconsideration of that order, or in the alternative, dismissal of the severed claims in Case No. 17-867 on October 2, 2017. (17-867, Doc. 16). That motion remains under advisement. On October 18, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Proceed with Count 4, indicating that since the Court had already assessed a filing fee in this case, he no longer wished to dismiss this case as an alternative if the Court declined to grant his motion to reconsider. (Doc. 7). Plaintiff's motion requesting to withdraw his prior request of conditional dismissal is GRANTED. (Doc. 7). Although the Court is proceeding with screening in this case, the Court does not intend this screening order to speak to Plaintiff's request for reconsideration; that motion remains under advisement in Case No. 17-867.

         As relevant to the claim in this case, Plaintiff alleges that he wrote to the Illinois State Police twice, but got no response because his mail was being thrown away. (Doc. 2, p. 8). He was finally able to get a letter to the State Police via certified mail on May 13, 2016, although he alleges that the mailroom staff put the wrong year on his receipt. Id. Plaintiff then began to notice that all of his incoming legal and privileged mail from government officials was being tampered with. Id. He also alleges that his outgoing legal and privileged mail took 7 to 10 days to clear the mailroom. Id.

         At an unspecified time, “mailroom/internal affairs” started steam opening all of Plaintiff's incoming legal and privileged mail because they were aware that Plaintiff was trying to press charges against William Spiller, an IA officer. Id. Specifically, on November 9, 2016, Plaintiff received a piece of certified legal mail that had been opened and read outside of his presence; he also alleges that his signature was forged on the receipt. Id. He also received a piece of certified legal mail 18 days after the postmark that had been opened and read outside of his presence on November 28, 2016. (Doc. 2, p. 9). This significantly cut into Plaintiff's 30 day deadline to appeal a ruling in that case. Id. Like the other piece, Plaintiff's signature had been forged to confirm delivery of the certified mail. Id. He received another piece of legal mail postmarked November 8, 2016 on November 30th, also opened and read outside of his presence. Id. Plaintiff experienced many other instances of this happening. (Doc. 2, p. 11).

         The mailroom staff stopped sending Plaintiff his money voucher receipts for sent mail. (Doc. 2, p. 10). When he complained, they returned them with a middle finger drawn on the back. Id.

         Discussion

         The severance order designated 1 ...


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