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White v. True

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 15, 2019

WILLIAM A. WHITE, # 13888-084, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM TRUE, and THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. Phil Gilbert, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff William White, an inmate of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) who is currently incarcerated at Marion Federal Correctional Center (“Marion”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights via a Bivens[1] action, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 702, and Illinois state law. Plaintiff alleges that his First Amendment rights have been violated by way of restrictions on his ability to communicate via written mail with his daughter, and that the restrictions constitute a due process violation. He seeks injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as available monetary damages.

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Complaint 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. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint, White alleges that after years of being allowed to communicate with his daughter in written letter format, he recently has been prevented from sending her letters (Doc. 5 at 19-20). He alleges that the issue arose on or about August 1, 2018, when his daughter and her mother moved to a new residence (Id. at 20). After the move, White attempted to enter his daughter's new address as an authorized contact in the computer mail system utilized at Marion (Id.). Two weeks later, his request that she be added as a new contact was denied (Id.). Marion intelligence officer, Kathy Hill, later informed White that Defendant True personally decided to deny the address change because he wanted to terminate White's parental relationship with his daughter (Id.).

         On October 11, 2018, White began the internal appeals process regarding his ability to communicate with his daughter (Id. at 21). Hill informed him on October 12 that Defendant True's proclamation included a ban on White communicating with his daughter via his mother (Id.). On November 3, White's mother learned from his daughter's mother that she had tried to let her daughter contact White, to no avail (Id.). On November 5, Gary Burgess allegedly told White that Defendant True did not personally do anything about White's communications, but White did not believe him (Id.). On April 9, 2018, the BOP appeals process informed White that it would not renew contact with his daughter, and it advised that he already knew the reason why that was the case (Id.). On the same date, White initiated this litigation (Id.). On April 18, 2018, the BOP denied White's internal tort claim regarding communications with his daughter.

         White alleges that he cannot currently proffer sufficient evidence to substantiate a retaliation claim, but he speculates that he will be able to do so in the future (Id. at 22). He goes on for five pages about his theories on the BOP's conduct towards him (Id. at 22-27) surmising that they are purposefully depriving him of communication with his daughter as a way to manipulate him (Id.). He then delineates four counts against the defendants. In support of his complaint, he also supplies copies of his efforts to exhaust the BOPs appeals process. A letter indicates that he has exhausted his final appellate avenue with the BOP (Id. at 16).

         Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief in the form of a directive requiring him to be allowed to communicate with his daughter. He also seeks monetary or other relief from Defendant True in his official capacity.

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to adopt the Counts in the pro se action as follows:

Count 1: True violated Plaintiff's First Amendment Rights by restriction of his ability to exchange mail correspondence with his daughter
Count 2: Defendant True has violated Plaintiff's Fifth Amendment rights by restricting his ability to foster a father-daughter relationship with his daughter
Count 3: Defendant True violated the Administrative Procedures Act by barring communication between Plaintiff and his daughter without taking the appropriate procedural steps
Count 4: Defendant True and the United States caused Plaintiff to lose the companionship of ...

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