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Allsup v. Lakin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 19, 2018

DOUG ALLSUP, #93941, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN LAKIN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Doug Allsup, a detainee in Madison County Jail (the “Jail”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims he has been denied access to court hearings, he has received threats from guards, and his bond is unreasonable. (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 that the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and must be dismissed.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: on February 24, 2018, Plaintiff was pulled over for driving under the influence. (Doc. 1, p. 5). “Other than a first appearance in video court for a bond hearing, Plaintiff has not been taken to court for any kind of hearing.” Id. He has been away from family and friends and is suffering severe financial loss. Id. He has been denied access to the court on docket calls. Id. Plaintiff's family contacted the circuit clerk's office, and the response they received is that the Jail said Plaintiff refused to go. Id. This is false. Id. “Sheriff John Lakin . . . has violated Plaintiff's rights” to due process, equal protection, and to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Fourteenth Amendment and Eighth Amendment. Id. “Bond is unreasonable [at] $150, 000.” Id.

         Plaintiff requests that “an official grievance procedure be installed” so grievances and complaints cannot be thrown away or altered. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff also wants monetary relief and for the “federal government to investigate the criminal procedure and abuse of power.” Id. Plaintiff also attached to the Complaint a grievance addressed to “Captain.” (Doc. 1, p. 7). In it, he complains that on March 3, 2018, a corrections officer told Plaintiff that if he caught him in the hallway, he would kill him. The corrections officer also “called [Plaintiff] a retard.” Id.

         Discussion

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, plaintiffs are required to associate specific defendants with specific claims, so that defendants are put on notice of the claims brought against them and so they can properly answer the complaint. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Merely invoking the name of a potential defendant is not sufficient to state a claim against that individual. See Collins v. Kibort, 143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th Cir. 1998). Moreover, failure to include specific allegations tying individual defendants to the alleged unconstitutional conduct, does not raise a genuine issue of material fact with respect to those defendants. See Alejo v. Heller, 328 F.3d 930, 936 (7th Cir. 2003) (finding dismissal of named defendant proper where plaintiff failed to allege defendant's personal involvement in the alleged wrongdoings); Starzenski v. City of Elkhart, 87 F.3d 872, 879 (7th Cir. 1996).

         The Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted because Defendant Lakin, the only defendant, has not been sufficiently associated with any of the allegedly unconstitutional actions. Plaintiff's statement that Lakin violated his Fourteenth and Eighth Amendment rights is vague and conclusory and therefore cannot, without more, support a constitutional claim against him. Plaintiff also alludes to his rights being violated by other individuals, including a guard who threatened violence against him, but the guard is not named as a defendant in this case and will ...


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