United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JOHN R. HARTMAN, Plaintiff,
ROBERT HICKS, SARA SNYDER, JESSIE CANADY, DAVA DAVIS, MICHAEL RYAN, and BRIAN UPCHURCH Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Herndon Judge United States District Judge
John Hartman, brings this action for deprivation of his
constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. Plaintiff was not
incarcerated at the time he filed suit, but he has been
granted leave to proceed IFP. Therefore the Court will
conduct a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), which provides:
Not withstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that
may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any
time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal
i. is frivolous or malicious;
ii. fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
iii. seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.
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).
alleges that Canady and Snyder, in their capacities as parole
agents, entered his residence on April 6, 2016 as part of a
compliance check on Shantel Steffens, his estranged
girlfriend. (Doc. 1, p. 2). Steffens stayed in the north
bedroom of the residence with her son, while Plaintiff used
the south bedroom. Id. Plaintiff refused to come out
of his room when Steffens told him that Canady wanted him in
the living room. Id. Canady then entered
Plaintiff's room and threateningly placed his hand on his
gun. Id. Plaintiff was afraid and moved to the
living room. Id. Snyder was blocking the exit with
her hand on her gun. Id.
Plaintiff and his mother repeatedly told Canady that Steffens
did not stay in the south bedroom and that the agents did not
have their permission to search it. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Plaintiff
asked Canady why he was being detained. Id. Canady
told Plaintiff he wasn't being detained. Id.
Plaintiff responded that he was going to get dressed and go
to work if he wasn't being detained. Id. Canady
then reached out and touched Plaintiff, and then falsely
reported to the police that Plaintiff had assaulted him.
(Doc. 1, pp. 3-4). Canady then followed Plaintiff into the
south bedroom and began searching it. (Doc. 1, p. 4).
Plaintiff left the residence, but just then deputies Davis
and Vaughn arrived. Id. Davis entered the residence
without Plaintiff's permission, while Vaughn stayed
outside with Plaintiff. Id.
alleges that Upchurch knew his subordinates conducted an
illegal search, but failed to act. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Davis
allegedly obtained a search warrant, despite knowing that
illegally obtained items were used to justify it. (Doc. 1,
pp. 5-6). Hicks conducted the illegal search. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into 2 counts. 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 following claims survive
Count 1 - Defendants Davis, Hicks, Canady,
Snyder, and Ryan violated Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment
rights to be free of unreasonable searches when they searched