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Sillas v. Lorea

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 23, 2018

STANTON E. SILLAS, #N96336, Plaintiff,


          MICHAEL J. REAGAN, U.S. Chief District Judge

         Plaintiff Stanton Sillas, an inmate in Centralia Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims the defendants have discriminated against him and deprived him of property without due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Doc. 1). This case is now before the Court for a 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 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).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to allow this case to proceed past the threshold stage.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: Defendants imposed a rule on Plaintiff, “not commonly enforced in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), requiring Plaintiff to consume food items purchased from the commissary within two months of purchase.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). If items violate this rule, they are confiscated as contraband. Id. On April 22, 2017, Defendant Lorea conducted a shakedown of Plaintiff's cell and confiscated the following: 2 powdered milk, 4 shredded chicken, 4 bacon, 4 tuna, 4 roast beef with gravy, 4 chunk ham, 4 beef stew, 4 taco filling, 4 shredded pork, 4 chili with beans, 4 rice, 4 hamburger patty, 4 chicken chunks, 4 pack tortilla shells, 3 double meat barrels, and 1 sausage and cheese. Id. In the corresponding disciplinary report, Lorea noted that the reason for the confiscation was “to determine if [Plaintiff] had purchased these items through the commissary in the past 2 months.” Id.

         On April 26, 2017, Plaintiff admitted to Defendant Burton, the Program Committee Chairperson, that the items were his and presented past receipts to prove he purchased them. Id. Burton found Plaintiff guilty of an infraction, however, and did not return his food items. Id. Defendant Warden Mueller approved Burton's decision. Id. Plaintiff filed a grievance that was heard and denied by Defendant Counselor Waken. Id. Plaintiff then sought relief from Defendant Walker, but he also denied Plaintiff's request for his items. (Doc. 1, p. 5). This decision was also approved by Mueller. Id. Plaintiff appealed to the Administrative Review Board, for whom Defendant Lahr denied Plaintiff's request for the return of his items. Id. Defendant Director Baldwin concurred with Lahr's decision. Id.

         “[T]here is no institutional rule at Centralia CC, nor an Administrative Rule in IDOC requiring inmates to consume food items purchased at the commissary within 2 months of purchase.” Id. Further, “no other inmate of the IDOC is subject to the rule solely imposed upon Plaintiff.” Id. Plaintiff is therefore being treated differently from other inmates. Id. Plaintiff has not been given a reason why his food was confiscated other than that it was not purchased within the past two months. Id. Plaintiff believes the “Defendants' actions were malicious and have no relation to prison needs.” Id. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief to prevent the future confiscation of his food. (Doc. 1, p. 6).


         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into 2 counts.[1] The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The ...

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