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Teen v. Masse

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 23, 2018

ANTRELL TEEN, #461504, Plaintiff,
v.
SGT. MASSE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Antrell Teen, who is currently detained at St. Clair County Jail (“Jail”), filed a civil rights action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights at the Jail. Teen v. John Doe #1, No. 18-cv-568-JPG-RJD (S.D. Ill.) (“original action”). The Court severed the claims in the original action into seven additional cases pursuant to George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007). (Doc. 2). The instant case addresses two retaliation claims (“Counts 6 and 7”) against Sergeant Masse. (Doc. 2, pp. 7, 10; Doc. 2-1, p. 8). In connection with these claims, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages against the defendant. (Doc. 2, p. 11).

         This severed case is now subject to preliminary review 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). Counts 6 and 7 do not survive screening under this standard and shall be dismissed.

         The Complaint

         On October 4, 2017, Plaintiff allegedly gave legal mail to C/O Jerry[1] for delivery to the district court. (Doc. 2, p. 7). The mail did not actually reach the court until October 25, 2017. Id. The “normal uninterrupted time” for mail to reach the court is two days. Id. In November 2017, C/O Carter[2] also delayed the delivery of Plaintiff's legal mail for more than two weeks. Id.

         During this general time period, Plaintiff was subject to a deadline for filing an amended complaint in Teen v. Peebles, No. 17-cv-593-JPG-SCW (S.D. Ill.). (Doc. 2, p. 7). He had to prepare and file the amended complaint in only three days, in order to meet the court-imposed deadline. Id. The delays caused his amended complaint to reach the court too late, and his case was dismissed. Id. Plaintiff's appeal was adversely impacted by these delays and also dismissed. Id. Sergeant Masse and C/O Walt[3] were supervisors in charge of mail during both incidents and were allegedly responsible for the constitutional deprivations. Id. Plaintiff alleges that the delays were retaliatory in nature and aimed at preventing him from succeeding with his civil complaints. Id.

         Plaintiff also alleges that on November 7, 2017, Sergeant Masse slammed a window shut in Plaintiff's face while he was speaking with a nurse on AB-Block about a medical concern. (Doc. 2, p. 10; Doc. 2-1, p. 8). As a result, Plaintiff was unable to obtain information or medical care from the nurse. Id. Plaintiff maintains that Sergeant Masse's conduct was discriminatory and retaliatory. Id.

         Discussion

         This severed case focuses on the following claims against Sergeant Masse, which were designated as “Counts 6 ...


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