United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW ORDER #2
A. BAKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is before the court for a merit review of the
plaintiff's amended complaint. The court is required by
28 U.S.C. § 1915A to “screen” the
plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to
identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the
entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient
if it "(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief."
28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
reviewing the amended complaint, the Court accepts the
factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in the
plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and
labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to
“state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.” Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418, 422
(7th Cir. 2013)(citation omitted).
alleges in his amended complaint that Defendant Bergin has
refused to issue him call passes to the law library, despite
the fact that he is no longer medically restricted from going
to the law library. Liberally construed, plaintiff alleges
that Defendant Bergin has done so without a legitimate
penological purpose, and in retaliation for lawsuits he filed
that are currently pending. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
Bergin's actions have prevented him from meeting court
deadlines in these cases.
also alleges, in an unrelated claim, that medical staff at
the prison has denied him treatment for an abscessed tooth.
states First Amendment claims for denial of access to the
courts and retaliation against Defendant Bergin. See
Marshall v. Knight, 445 F.3d 965, 968 (7th Cir. 2006);
Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 553 (7th Cir.
however, cannot bring unrelated claims against different
defendants in the same lawsuit. George v. Smith, 507
F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007) (“Unrelated claims
against different defendants belong in different
suits.”); Owens v. Godinez, 860 F.3d 434, 436
(7th Cir. 2017) (“[D]istrict courts should not allow
inmates to flout the rules for joining claims and
defendants…or to circumvent the Prison Litigation
Reform Act's fee requirements by combining multiple
lawsuits into a single complaint.”). The medical claim
plaintiff alleges in his amended complaint does not involve
Defendant Bergin. Therefore, the Court will dismiss, without
prejudice, the medical claims against Defendants Olada and
plaintiff filed a motion for temporary restraining order and
preliminary injunction (#15) seeking a court order directing
officials at Illinois River Correctional Center to provide
him access to the law library. Access to a law library is not
the only means by which prison officials can provide
meaningful access to the courts. Bounds v. Smith,
430 U.S. 817, 830 (1977) (“[W]hile adequate law
libraries are one constitutionally acceptable method to
assure meaningful access to the courts, [this] does not
foreclose alternative means to achieve that goal.”).
Plaintiff indicates in his memorandum of law that he has been
able to consult a jailhouse lawyer for help in preparing his
legal documents. At this stage, prison officials appear to
have provided at least some means to plaintiff to satisfy
their constitutional requirements. Therefore, the Court
cannot conclude that plaintiff has shown a reasonable
likelihood of success on the merits. Plaintiff's motion
1) Plaintiff's motion to amend complaint (#18) is
granted. Clerk is directed to docket the amended complaint
attached to plaintiff's motion.
2) Pursuant to its merit review of the amended complaint
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court finds that the
plaintiff states First Amendment claims for denial of access
to the courts and retaliation against Defendant Bergin. Any
remaining defendants are dismissed. Any additional claims
shall not be included in the case, except at the court's
discretion on motion by a party for good cause shown or
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.
3) This case is now in the process of service. The plaintiff
is advised to wait until counsel has appeared for the
defendants before filing any motions, in order to give the
defendants notice and an opportunity to respond to those
motions. Motions filed before defendants' counsel has
filed an appearance will generally be denied as premature.
The plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the court at
this time, unless otherwise directed by the court.
4) The court will attempt service on the defendants by
mailing each defendant a waiver of service. The defendants
have 60 days from the date the waiver is sent to file an
answer. If the defendants have not filed answers or appeared
through counsel within 90 days of the entry of this order,
the plaintiff may file a motion requesting the status of
service. After the defendants have been served, the court
will enter an order setting discovery and dispositive motion
5) With respect to a defendant who no longer works at the
address provided by the plaintiff, the entity for whom that
defendant worked while at that address shall provide to the
clerk said defendant's current work address, or, if not
known, said defendant's forwarding address. This
information shall be used only for effectuating service.
Documentation of forwarding addresses shall be retained ...