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Ramsey. v. Madison County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 16, 2019

FLOYD LEE RAMSEY, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
MADISON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, MADISON COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY, and STACY LYNN SUMMERS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Floyd Lee Ramsey, Jr. filed suit in this Court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants Madison County Sheriff's Department (“Sheriff's Department”), Madison County State's Attorney's Office (“State's Attorney's Office”), and Stacy Lynn Summers violated his constitutional rights in relation to his arrest and detention in the Madison County Jail. Now before the Court is Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”), i.e., without prepaying the filing fee. (Doc. 2).

         At the time he filed this complaint, Plaintiff was living in a personal residence, having been released from the Madison County Jail on March 9, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 5). As such, Plaintiff does not meet the statutory definition of prisoner[1] for purposes of the IFP statute, which states that “[t]he term ‘prisoner' means any person incarcerated or detained in any facility who is accused of, convicted of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms and conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(h).

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), a federal district court may allow a civil case to proceed without prepayment of fees, if the movant “submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets [he] possesses [showing] that the person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.” Plaintiff has done so here. But the Court's inquiry does not end there, because 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) requires careful threshold scrutiny of the complaint filed by an IFP plaintiff.

         A court can deny a qualified plaintiff leave to file IFP or dismiss a case if the action is clearly frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim, or is a claim for money damages against an immune defendant. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(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). Even liberally construed, a complaint must contain facts that are sufficient, when accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Alexander v. United States, 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff makes the following allegations: At some unspecified time, Plaintiff was arrested after Summers (a registered nurse not employed by any state, local, or federal government agency) and unspecified members of the Sheriffs' Department broke into his house and “stag[]ed i[t] to make it look as if [Plaintiff] went bal[l]istic and lost [his] mind.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). “They” filed a motion for his bond to be revoked and an arrest warrant was issued. (Id.). Plaintiff was arrested on February 11, 2017. (Id.). The following day, Summers and the members of the Sheriff's Department broke in Plaintiff's house and stole business equipment, a truck, a washer and dryer, furniture and several other items. (Id., pp. 5, 7-8).

         Plaintiff alleges that he was held “without any charges ever being filed” until March 9, 2017. (Id., p. 5). On the other hand, he states that “it went nolle pos” [sic] and that the “cases in which [he] was being held on were just dismissed.” (Id.). Plaintiff attaches partial pictures of two orders of protection which Summers obtained against him in April 2016, which he alleges show that Summers “conspired with the States Attorney's to steal [his] property.” (Id., pp. 24-27).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following Counts:

Count 1: Fourth Amendment claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution against Sheriff's Department, State's Attorney's Office, and Summers;
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment claim for deprivation of property without due process of law against Sheriff's Department, State's Attorney's Office, and Summers; and
Count 3: State law tort claims for trespass and conversion against Sheriff's Department and Summers.

         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 other claim that is mentioned in theComplaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed ...


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