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Ross v. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 7, 2017

RICHARD P. ROSS Plaintiff,
v.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, JIM VOZZI, and KEVIN KNISLEY Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Richard P. Ross, an inmate in Graham Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that happened at the Montgomery County Jail. Plaintiff requests financial compensation. 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; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Montgomery County Jail from January 20, 2017 until August 1, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He was a pre-trial detainee until August 1, 2017. Id. During that time Kinsley and Vozzi illegally used his funds to pay for medical and hygiene expenses at the jail. Id. As a result of the allegedly illegal encumbrances on Plaintiff's account, he could not buy envelopes to write to his family or attorneys. Id.

         Plaintiff was also charged $.52 per minute to make phone calls. Id. He alleges that the maximum the jail is permitted to charge is $.22 per minute. Id. The jail also added an allegedly illegal $.30 surcharge.

         Plaintiff was also forced to sleep on the floor for 182 days because of overcrowding and because when he was assigned to a bunk, it was the top bunk and Plaintiff could not climb into the top bunk. Id.

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into 3 counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial ...


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