Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Santiagoo v. Bradley

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 4, 2018

FABIAN SANTIAGO, Plaintiff,
v.
TYLER A. BRADLEY and JOHN BALDWIN Official Capacity, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          DONALD G. WILKERSON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson by United States District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and SDIL-LR 72.1(a) for a Report and Recommendation on Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. For the reasons set forth below, it is RECOMMENDED the Court DENY the portion of Plaintiff's Motion to Amend that seeks to add claims previously denied by the Court, and the Court adopt the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         Findings of Fact

         Plaintiff Fabian Santiago filed the current action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging a publication he had ordered was improperly withheld from him and destroyed, and that three items of legal correspondence were improperly opened outside his presence (Doc. 6, p. 1). The Court identified Santiago's Complaint to allege the following claims:

Count 1: First Amendment claim against Bradley for confiscating Plaintiff's “prison legal news” publication without reasonable justification, and against Rowald, Wandro, Jones, Phoenix, and Baldwin for failing to take corrective action in response to Plaintiff's grievance;
Count 2: Claims against John/Jane Doe #1 (mail handler) and John/Jane Doe #2 (mailing supervisor) for improperly opening and inspecting 2 letters from law firms and 1 package from Moran Law Group, and against Meyer, Oakley, Lashbrook, Power, Phoenix, and Baldwin for failing to take corrective action in response to Plaintiff's grievances.

         The Court conducted a revue of the original Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, dismissed the claims in Count 2 in totality, and dismissed the claims in Count 1 against Defendants Rowald, Wandro, Jones, Phoenix, and Baldwin (Doc. 6, pp. 6-7). Defendant Baldwin was ordered to remain as a Defendant in his official capacity solely for purposes of injunctive relief. Thus, the only claim remaining after the Court's threshold review was a First Amendment claim against Bradley for confiscating Plaintiff's “prison legal news” publication without reasonable justification (Doc. 6).

         On November 14, 2017, Santiago filed a Motion to alter, amend, or modify the Court's threshold merits review order (Doc. 6). Specifically, he sought to reinstate claims against the Defendants who were dismissed from the action and to reinstate Count 2 - the claims regarding opening of legal mail. The request for reconsider was denied (Doc. 25).

         On December 19, 2017 Santiago filed the Amended Complaint (Doc. 18) that is currently under review.

         Conclusions of Law

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) provides that a party may amend a pleading, and that leave to amend should be freely given when justice so requires. This Circuit recognizes “the complaint merely serves to put the defendant on notice and is to be freely amended or constructively amended as the case develops, as long as amendments do not unfairly surprise or prejudice the defendant.” Toth v. USX Corp., 883 F.2d 1297, 1298 (7th Cir. 1989). Accordingly, the Court is to liberally allow amendment of pleadings “so that cases may be decided on the merits and not on the basis of technicalities.” Stern v. U.S. Gypsum, Inc., 547 F.2d 1329, 1334 (7th Cir. 1977).

         Title 28 U.S.C. §1915A directs the District Court to screen complaints filed by prisoners and “identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint” if the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted” or if it “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.”

         Interference with Legal Communications

         Santiago once again raises a claim alleging the mailroom staff improperly opened his legal mail.[1] As this Court has repeatedly explained, in order for privileged attorney-client correspondence to receive the special treatment of being opened only in the inmate's presence, the envelope must be clearly marked with a warning that the letter is “legal mail, ” “privileged legal correspondence, ” or some similar notice that draws attention to its confidential nature. Wolff v. McDonnell,418 U.S. 539, 576 (1974). The sender of a legal communication which is intended to be treated as privileged lawyer-client correspondence has the burden of clearly labeling it as such. Wolff, 418 U.S. at 576. The mere fact that an envelope bears the return address of a law office is not sufficient to alert prison officials that the contents are privileged and should be opened only in the presence of the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.