United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
his release from prison, Plaintiff Donnie Baker filed this
pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 claiming he was denied timely release
“under 1978 law” and in violation of his
constitutional rights. (Doc. 1, p. 4). He seeks money
damages. (Id. at p. 5). Plaintiff filed the action
without paying a filing fee or seeking permission to proceed
as a poor person. 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
weeks later, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed
in forma pauperis. (Doc. 5). Because he was not in
prison when he filed the action, Plaintiff does not meet the
definition of “prisoner” under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(h). A federal district court may nevertheless allow a
civil case to proceed without prepayment of fees, if the
applicant demonstrates he is indigent under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(1), and his Complaint survives review under 28 U.S.C.
1915(e)(2) requires careful threshold scrutiny of the
Complaint. The district court may deny an otherwise qualified
plaintiff leave to proceed IFP and dismiss a case, if the
action is clearly frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim for relief, or seeks money damages from an immune
defendant. Id.; Lucien v. Roegner, 682 F.2d
625, 626 (7th Cir. 1982). The test for determining if an
action is frivolous or meritless under Section
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) is whether the plaintiff can make a rational
argument on the law or facts in support of the claim.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An
action fails to state a claim 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). At this juncture, the
factual allegations of the pro se Complaint are
liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
includes no statement of claim in the Complaint. (Doc. 1, pp.
1-19). On page 4, he simply indicates that he was
“denied release under 1978 law” in violation of
his constitutional rights. (Id. at p. 4). On page 5,
he requests $2 million. (Id. at p. 5).
to the Complaint are exhibits that offer some insight into
his claims. (Id. at pp. 6-10, 16-17). Plaintiff
includes grievances and appeals from 2016 and 2017. According
to them, Plaintiff was approved for release from confinement
by the Prison Review Board (“PRB”) on March 8,
2017. His release was delayed because no suitable host site
could be found. Plaintiff argued that he was entitled to
release to a halfway house because he is not a sex offender.
remaining exhibits offer a different version of events.
(Id. at pp. 12-15). They indicate that Plaintiff
appeared before the PRB on March 22, 2017. He was declared a
parole violator as of January 26, 2017. (Id. at pp.
13-14). A PRB Order states that
“[p]arole/[r]elease” would be “RESUMED . .
. [e]ffective when plans are approved.” (Id.
at p. 14).
Complaint does not survive screening under Section 1915(e)(2)
because it fails to state any claim for relief. The omission
of a statement of claim is generally fatal to a Complaint.
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a
plaintiff to include a short and plain statement of the claim
against each defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff
must include enough facts to show that he or she is entitled
to relief. Id.; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662 (2009). Although “detailed factual allegations are
not required, ” Rule 8 does call for enough facts to
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. In the
Complaint, Plaintiff includes a single vague reference to a
“constitutional rights violation” resulting from
“being denied release under 1978 law.” (Doc. 1,
p. 4). This allegation falls well below the pleading standard
described in Rule 8, Iqbal, and Twombly.
Plaintiff's exhibits shed some light on his possible
claims, the exhibits alone are not enough to state a
plausible claim against anyone, because Plaintiff
provides no context for them. They offer what appear to be
conflicting accounts of Plaintiff's eligibility for
release from confinement. The Court will not attempt to guess
Plaintiff's reasons for bringing this action or to craft
his claims for him. Moreover, the Court will certainly not
require the defendants to answer or otherwise respond.
IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion for Leave to
Proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 5) is
DENIED, and the Complaint (Doc. 1) is
DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
IS ORDERED that, should he wish to proceed any
further with this action, Plaintiff must: (1) file a
Renewed/Second Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma
pauperis or prepay the full $400.00 filing fee for this
action no later than August 1, 2019; and (2)
file a First Amended Complaint that includes a statement of
claim by the same deadline of August 1,
2019. Failure to comply with this deadline or the
instructions in this Order shall result in dismissal of this
action with prejudice for failure to comply with a court