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McLendon v. Millner

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 31, 2018

CHRISTIAN MCLENDON, #B89940, Plaintiff,


          Staci M. Yandle U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Christian McLendon, an inmate at Centralia Correctional Center (“Centralia”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Millner refused to make copies for him and issued him a disciplinary ticket in retaliation for filing a grievance against her, in violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. (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

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his Complaint (Doc. 1): on August 31, 2017, Plaintiff requested to have several legal documents notarized and copied at the law library. (Doc. 1, p. 3). The librarian, Defendant Millner, refused to make copies of Plaintiff's documents. Id. Plaintiff asked her why, but she merely reiterated her refusal and told him to sit down. Id. She also “fetched' C/O Campbell, an officer posted at the law library, which Plaintiff felt was an attempt to intimidate him into not asking her for anything. Id. Plaintiff asked Millner for copies and a notary several more times. Id. He also showed her a letter from his attorney about his appeal and explained that the copies were so that he could discuss his appeal with him. Id. Millner told Plaintiff that if that were true, his attorney would make copies for him. Id.

         Plaintiff filed a grievance about the incident on September 1, 2017. Id. Before he received a response, he once again went to the law library and requested copies and a notary from Millner. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Millner provided him with what he requested. Id. On September 21, 2017, after Millner learned of Plaintiff's grievance, she wrote Plaintiff a disciplinary report “for 206 Intimidation or threats” based on a statement Plaintiff included in his grievance. Id. The statement read: “I believe I asserted my right to the best of my ability, other than displaying obstructive/disruptive behavior, and causing physical force/harm.” (Doc. 1, p. 3).

         Plaintiff wrote a grievance regarding the disciplinary ticket on September 22, 2017 (Doc. 1, p. 4). Six days later, Plaintiff discovered the ticket's charges were reduced “to 304 Insolence (DR. 504) and that he was found guilty and given 2 months C grade (where he would not be allowed to transfer, use phones, shop at commissary, attend certain yard calls, or go to the gym).” Id. Plaintiff's initial grievance was heard by Susan Walker, a grievance officer, on October 2, 2017. Id. She denied the grievance, concurring with Millner without any investigation. Id. On November 14, 2017, Dave White issued a decision for the Administrative Review Board denying Plaintiff's grievance. Id.

         Plaintiff requests monetary damages and declaratory relief. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He also requests permanent injunctive relief, requiring that he “receive copies of ...

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