United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ANTHONY T. MOORE, Jr., #446508, Plaintiff,
KEEFE SUPPLY COMPANY, RICHARD WATSON, AUSTIN EVERETT, and ST. CLAIR COUNTY, ILLINOIS, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert District Judge United States District Court
Anthony T. Moore, who is currently detained at St. Clair
County Jail (“Jail”), filed this action to
challenge the cost of items in the Jail's commissary.
(Doc. 1, pp. 5-12). Plaintiff complains that inmates at the
Jail are charged more for many items than federal inmates.
(Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). These items include candy bars, chips,
ramen noodles, cheddar popcorn, cookies, summer sausages,
cocoa, cappuccinos, oatmeal crème pies, peanut butter
wafers, tortilla wraps, tuna, and stamps. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-12).
In support of this claim, Plaintiff invokes 42 U.S.C. §
1983, 15 U.S.C. § 13(a) (“Clayton Act”), 15
U.S.C. § 1 (“Sherman Antitrust Act”), 15
U.S.C. § 15 (“Robinson-Putnam Act”), and 18
U.S.C. § 1964 (“RICO”). (Doc. 1, pp. 1, 5).
Plaintiff also asserts claims under Illinois state law for
conspiracy, breach of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and
violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive
Business Practices Act, 815 ILCS §§ 505/1, et
seq. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He seeks declaratory judgment,
monetary damages, and injunctive relief. (Doc. 1, p. 12).
case is before the Court for 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
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.
is a pretrial detainee at St. Clair County Jail
(“Jail”) in Belleville, Illinois. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
He has also been incarcerated in several facilities operated
by the Illinois Department of Corrections
(“IDOC”), including Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”). During his incarceration, Plaintiff
has noticed that inmates at different facilities are charged
different prices for items at the commissary.
challenges the manner in which vendors enter into contracts
with local, state, and federal prisons for commissary items.
(Doc. 1, p. 6). He admittedly “knows very little about
the particular bidding process.” Id. Plaintiff
nevertheless describes the process in great detail in the
to Plaintiff, state and federal facilities solicit bids for
contracts from vendors on each facility's website. (Doc.
1, p. 6). Interested vendors propose to sell items to the
facility at a predetermined price, and the facility selects
the vendor that submits the most attractive bid. Id.
The facility then obtains commissary items from the vendor at
the predetermined price and marks up the prices of these
items before selling them to inmates. Id.
obtain contracts with local detention facilities
(e.g., county jails or private detention centers) in
a different manner. (Doc. 1, p. 6). They allegedly agree to
pay a “site commission” or “kickback,
” usually by “fork[ing] over about 50 to 60% of
the profits [the vendor] makes from sales of commissary
products to inmates.” Id. Once the vendor
obtains a contract, the vendor sells items directly to
inmates, after the vendor “inflates the prices of goods
at an extraordinary rate.” Id. To obtain
contracts, these vendors bribe jail administrators with cash,
gifts, bonuses, and stock. Id. Plaintiff states that these
contracts are “indefinite.” Id. He also
asserts that the state and local facilities are exempt from
any sales tax. Id.
manner, Keefe Supply Company has sold hundreds of different
products directly and indirectly to inmates. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
These products include hygiene supplies, clothing, food,
drinks, snacks, and miscellaneous items. Id.
However, the cost of these products vary between local ...