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Champ v. Simmon

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 17, 2019

BRYON K. CHAMP, #1100250125, Plaintiff,
v.
CHERYL SIMMON, and DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL Chief U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Byron Champ, a pretrial detainee held at the Winnebago County Jail, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights arising from events that occurred during his time at Chester Mental Health Center (“Chester”). He seeks monetary damages.

         Plaintiff's Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 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 asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriquez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges the following: Cheryl Simmon is the Coordinator for Unit Three Module and is responsible for all mail at Chester. (Doc. 1, p. 4). On July 6, 2018, Plaintiff's mail was received “unduly, tainted, exp[loi]ted, disarray, disorderly.” Id. One of the letters he received from Simmon sent by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois had been opened and taped. Id. p. 5. When she handed Plaintiff the letter, Simmon said that it had been opened “before here.” Id. p. 8. Plaintiff claims that his constitutional rights have been violated because legal mail is to be opened in the presence of a detainee. Id. p. 4.

         Preliminary Dismissals

         Plaintiff names the Department of Social Services as a defendant, but makes no allegations against the Department in the body of the complaint. Plaintiffs are required to associate specific defendants with specific claims, so that defendants are put on notice of the claims brought against them and can properly answer the complaint. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Where a plaintiff has not included a defendant in his statement of the claim, the defendant cannot be said to be adequately put on notice of which claims in the complaint, if any, are directed against him or her. Furthermore, 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). Accordingly, Department of Social Services is dismissed from the complaint without prejudice.

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the claims in this case into the following three Counts:

Count 1: First Amendment and privacy violation claim against Cheryl Simmon for the opening of Plaintiff's legal mail.
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment violation claim against Cheryl Simmon for the opening of Plaintiff's legal mail.
Count 3: Fifth and Eleventh Amendment violation claim.

         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. Any claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order is considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under the Twombly[1] pleading standard.

         Coun ...


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