United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's “Motion
for a Preliminary or Emergency Injunction” (Doc. 1).
Plaintiff, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) currently house at
Pinckneyville Correctional Center, filed this motion
yesterday. Interestingly, however, Plaintiff has not filed a
motion, Plaintiff states that he plans to file a complaint,
but-despite several requests-he has not yet been called to
the prison law library. He requests this Court to order
Jaimet (Warden of Pinckneyville Correctional Center) to
process his library request slips so that he will have access
to the law library to prepare his civil suit, as well as to
ensure that all his mail and other request slips are properly
handled, and to ensure that he is not subjected to
retaliation because of his litigation activity. Plaintiff
does not elaborate on the nature of the proposed civil action
he intends to file in this Court.
only has Plaintiff not submitted a complaint, but he also has
not paid the $400.00 civil filing fee or applied to proceed
in forma pauperis (“IFP”). The Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure provide that “[a] civil action
is commenced by filing a complaint with the court.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 3. In other words, “the first step in the
action is the filing of the complaint.” Id.,
Advisory Committee Notes, 1937 Adoption. Although pro
se litigants are not held to the same standards applied
to licensed attorneys, Kyle v. Patterson, 196 F.3d
695, 697 (7th Cir. 1999), they are not entitled to general
dispensation from the rules of procedure, Jones v.
Phipps, 39 F.3d 158 163 (7th Cir. 1994).
motion for injunctive relief cannot suffice as a complaint.
The only potential claim it includes is based on the alleged
denial of Plaintiff's access to the law library, but this
alone does not indicate that a constitutional violation has
occurred. “[T]he mere denial of access to a prison law
library or to other legal materials is not itself a violation
of a prisoner's rights; his right is to access the
courts, and only if the defendants' conduct
prejudices a potentially meritorious challenge to the
prisoner's conviction, sentence, or conditions of
confinement has this right been infringed.”
Marshall v. Knight, 445 F.3d 965, 968 (7th Cir.
2006). In order to state a claim for denial of access to the
courts, a prisoner must show actual substantial prejudice to
specific litigation. Kincaid v. Vail, 969 F.2d 594,
603 (7th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 1062
(1993). Clearly, Plaintiff was able to file his motion with
the Court, and there is no indication that he would not be
permitted to file a complaint, once he prepares it.
a complaint, the Court cannot ascertain the basis for
jurisdiction. See Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 681-82
(1946); Greater Chicago Combine & Ctr., Inc. v. City
of Chicago, 431 F.3d 1065, 1069-70 (7th Cir. 2005). The
Court likewise cannot determine what causes of action
Plaintiff intends to assert against Defendant. More to the
point, the Court cannot consider an application for
injunctive relief in the absence of a complaint.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff's
“Motion for a Preliminary or Emergency
Injunction” (Doc. 1) is DENIED without
IS FURTHER ORDERED that, should he wish to further
pursue this action, Plaintiff shall file a complaint within
35 days of the entry of this order
(on or before January 23, 2018). By the same
deadline, Plaintiff shall either pay the $400.00 filing fee
in full, or shall submit a motion for leave to proceed IFP,
along with his prisoner trust fund records for the 6
months prior to the date he filed this case.
preparing his complaint, it is strongly recommended that
Plaintiff use the form designed for use in this District for
civil rights actions. He should label the complaint with Case
Number 17-cv-1364-NJR. Plaintiff shall note that the
complaint should identify each Defendant alleged to be liable
for a particular claim, as well as the actions alleged to
have been taken by that Defendant. Plaintiff should state
facts to describe what each named Defendant did (or failed to
do), that violated his constitutional rights. Legal arguments
or citations to legal authority are not required; therefore,
access to the law library should not be necessary. Instead,
Plaintiff should focus on the facts that support his
claims. New individual Defendants may be added if they were
personally involved in the constitutional violations.
Plaintiff should attempt to include the facts of his case in
chronological order, inserting Defendants' names where
necessary to identify the actors and the dates of any
material acts or omissions.
Plaintiff still seeks injunctive relief, he must file a new
to file a proper complaint by the prescribed deadline will
result in the dismissal of this action for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. Such a dismissal shall count as one of
Plaintiff's allotted “strikes” under the
provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), and Plaintiff will
remain obligated to pay the filing fee. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1); Lucien v. Jockisch, 133
F.3d 464, 467 (7th Cir. 1998).
Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to send Plaintiff
a copy of this Order, along with a blank civil rights
complaint form, and the “Instructions for Filing a Pro
Se Civil Complaint for Civil Rights Violations or Other Civil
Claims Filed by a Person in Custody.” Finally,
Plaintiff is ADVISED that he is under a
continuing obligation to keep the Clerk of Court and each
opposing party informed of any change in his address; the
Court will not independently investigate his whereabouts.
This shall be done in writing and not later than 7
days after a transfer or other change in address
occurs. Failure to comply with this order will cause a delay
in the transmission of court documents and may result in
dismissal of this action for want of prosecution.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).