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Medford v. Walt

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 9, 2018

SCOTT A. MEDFORD, #Y22728, Plaintiff,
v.
C/O WALT, and JOHN/JANE DOE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Scott Medford, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights that allegedly occurred at St. Clair County Justice Center (“Jail”). (Doc. 9). In his First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff claims that legal mail at the Jail is being opened before inmates receive it. (Doc. 9, p. 5). This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the First Amended 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). 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 First Amended Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court concludes that this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The First Amended Complaint

         In his First Amended Complaint (Doc. 9), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: “[l]egal mail is being opened prior to getting [to the] intended [recipient].” (Doc. 9, p. 5). Plaintiff further claims that in St. Clair County, there is a “blatant disregard” for the rights of inmates. Id. “[O]n May 24, 2017 C.O. Walt gave [Plaintiff] open legal mail.” Id. Plaintiff did not include a request for relief in his First Amended Complaint. However, on November 2, 2017, Plaintiff filed a document titled “Supplemental First Amended Complaint” (Doc. 11) in which he requests that this Court add a request for monetary damages and injunctive relief “requiring the grievance procedure to be fixed” at the Jail to the First Amended Complaint.[1](Doc. 11, p. 1).

         Discussion

         The Court previously designated a single count in this pro se action. The parties and the Court will continue to use this designation, with a slight modification included herein, in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of this count does not constitute an opinion regarding its merit.

         Count 10 - First and/or Fourteenth Amendment access to courts claim for the opening and reviewing of Plaintiff's legal mail at the Jail.

         As discussed in more detail below, Count 10 will be dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Any other intended claim that has not been recognized by the Court is considered dismissed without ...


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