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Moore. v. Doe

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 12, 2018

ANTHONY T. MOORE, Jr., #446508, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN DOE 1, JOHN DOE 2, and C/O WALT, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. Phil Gilbert District Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff Anthony Moore, Jr. filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, in order to address several violations of his constitutional rights at St. Clair County Jail (“Jail”). (Doc. 1). This Court screened the Complaint and concluded that the three claims identified in the Complaint were improperly joined in a single action. The Court severed two claims (Counts 2 and 3) into separate cases.

         The only claim at issue in this action is Count 1, a claim of mail interference against C/O Walt, John Doe 1, and John Doe 2. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff alleges that these defendants interfered with his incoming legal mail in Moore, Jr. v. Scott, et al., No. 17-cv-01153-JPG (S.D. Ill). (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff did not receive an “important letter” from the Court directing him to file an amended complaint, and the action was dismissed. Id. He now seeks monetary damages against the defendants. (Doc. 1, p. 10).

         Count 1 is subject to screening under 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).

         Complaint

         Plaintiff filed the instant action after learning that a civil rights case he filed in this District was dismissed on April 18, 2018. See Moore, Jr. v. Scott, et al., No. 17-cv-01153-JPG (S.D. Ill.). (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff allegedly had no opportunity to amend the complaint because C/O Walt, John Doe 1, and John Doe 2 failed to provide him with his incoming mail on a single occasion. Id. Plaintiff did not receive an “important letter” from the Court ordering him to file an amended complaint by a date certain. Id. He missed the court-imposed deadline, and the action was dismissed. Id. Had he known about the impending deadline, Plaintiff alleges that he would have corrected any defects in the complaint and timely filed an amended complaint. Id.

         Discussion

         The Court previously characterized Plaintiff's claim as follows, and the parties and Court will use this designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court:

Count 1 - First and/or Fourteenth Amendment claim against Defendants Walt, John Doe 1, and John Doe 2 for interfering with Plaintiff's mail and thereby denying him access to the courts in Moore, Jr. v. Scott, ...

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