United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
is currently incarcerated at Robinson Correctional Center
(“Robinson”). He originally brought this civil
rights action on February 6, 2018, when it was filed as
Mays v. Santos, et al., No. 18-181-MJR-SCW. After
screening the Complaint, the Court severed a number of
Plaintiff's claims from the original case into separate
actions. (Doc. 1). The instant case contains Counts 4 and 5,
which arose at Centralia Correctional Center
(“Centralia”) and were described as follows:
Count 4: Due Process claim against Singler
for issuing false disciplinary tickets against Plaintiff, and
against Rupert for finding Plaintiff guilty on the July 2016
ticket at Centralia.
Count 5: First Amendment retaliation claim
against Singler, for issuing false disciplinary tickets
against Plaintiff, and interfering with Plaintiff's law
library access, after Plaintiff complained and filed
grievances against Singler.
claims are now before the Court for a preliminary review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a complaint that is
legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seeks money damages from a
defendant who by law is immune from such relief, must be
dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 “no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.”
Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir.
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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on
its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true,
see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir.
2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or
implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a
plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574,
581 (7th Cir. 2009). Courts “should not accept as
adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of
action or conclusory legal statements.” Id.
However, the factual allegations of a pro
se complaint are to be liberally construed. See
Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011);
Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816,
821 (7th Cir. 2009).
portions of the Complaint which relate to Counts 4 and 5 are
alleges that in July 2016,  Singler (a temporary law
librarian) issued Plaintiff a disciplinary ticket for
unauthorized movement, after Plaintiff complained about
Singler forcing him to pay for copies of case law before
Plaintiff could read the material. (Doc. 2, p. 10). Plaintiff
asserts that Singler's ticket was false and issued in
retaliation for Plaintiff's complaint, and violated his
right to due process. Rupert (who conducted the disciplinary
hearing) ignored Plaintiff's written statement explaining
his “not guilty” response to the charge, and
incorrectly stated that Plaintiff had pled guilty. (Doc. 2,
pp. 11, 19, 22; Doc. 2-1, pp. 12-16; Doc. 2-2, pp. 8-11).
Plaintiff's punishment in connection with this
disciplinary ticket was a “verbal reprimand.”
(Doc. 2-2, p. 8). Plaintiff's grievance over the
disciplinary action led Centralia's warden to remand the
matter. (Doc. 2, p. 11).
later filed another grievance against Singler for refusing
him library time when he had a court deadline. On August 17,
2016, Singler issued Plaintiff an allegedly false
disciplinary ticket for insolence, which Plaintiff claims was
an act of retaliation for his complaints. (Doc. 2, p. 11;
Doc. 2-1, pp. 17, 20-21; Doc. 2-2, pp. 12-13). Plaintiff
challenged that ticket, and also complained that he should
not have to buy typewriter ribbons for the law library
typewriters. (Doc. 2, p. 11). Singler's alleged
retaliation continued and included changing Plaintiff's
law library times and losing his court papers. (Doc. 2, pp.