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Teen v. Smith

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 10, 2018

ANTRELL TEEN, # 461504, Plaintiff,
v.
R. SMITH, and SGT. SHUBERG, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. Phil Gilbert U.S. District Judge

         In Teen v. John Doe #1, No. 18-cv-568-JPG-RJD (S.D. Ill. Mar. 13, 2018), Plaintiff Antrell Teen, a detainee in St. Clair County Jail, brought suit for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007), a claim against Defendants Smith and Shuberg was severed from that initial action to form the basis for this action, No. 18-cv-995-JPG.

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of that claim 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).

         After fully considering the relevant allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint, the Court concludes that this action shall proceed past the threshold stage.

         The Complaint

         The allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 2) relevant to this severed action are as follows: on or about January 25, 2018, C/O Smith (who Plaintiff sued in a 2017 civil action involving a boil order), targeted Plaintiff with a disciplinary action. (Doc. 2, pp. 7-8; Doc. 2-1, pp. 19-20). Smith falsely claimed that Plaintiff interrupted an investigation and was disrespectful. As a result, Plaintiff was moved to a restrictive area and then to L-Block. This punishment was much harsher than the typical outcome for a disciplinary ticket. Although Plaintiff contested the matter as retaliatory and offered witnesses who testified that Smith had not been truthful, Sgt. Shoeberg (a/k/a Shuberg)[1] refused to investigate the matter. Plaintiff alleges that the disciplinary record will negatively affect his classification in the future. Further, Shuberg/Shoeberg punished Plaintiff excessively by restricting his commissary beyond the date that the restriction should have been lifted. (Doc. 2, p. 8).

         Discussion

         In its Severance Order (Doc. 1), the Court designated the following count to be severed into this pro se action. The parties and the Court will continue to use this designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court.

Count 8 - First Amendment retaliation claims against Smith from bringing a false disciplinary charge on January 25, 2018, and against Shuberg/Shoeberg for refusing to investigate the false charge and imposing ...

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