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Allmon v. USA

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 12, 2019

DEREK I. ALLMON, #12579-076, Plaintiff,
v.
USA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Derek Allmon, a federal inmate who is currently confined in the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners located in Springfield, Missouri, brings this action against the United States pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-2680. (Doc. 1). The Complaint is now before the Court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         Section 1915A requires the Court to screen prisoner Complaints and filter out non-meritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of the Complaint that is legally frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or requests money damages from an immune defendant must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). At this juncture, the factual allegations are liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff sets forth no allegations in the Complaint. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-5). He includes no request for relief. He does not describe his claim in basic terms. (Id.). The Complaint consists of a one-page handwritten “Notice to Commence 28 U.S.C. § 1346 Civil Action and Request for Legal Counsel.” (Id. at p. 1). Along with the handwritten request, he includes two denials of a federal tort claim from the Federal Bureau of Prisons - North Central Regional Office dated April 5, 2019, and August 15, 2019. (Id. at pp. 2-3).

         Discussion

         Plaintiff's Complaint does not survive screening. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires the Complaint to contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Plaintiff's exhibits do not replace his statement of claim. Exhibits may support or even clarify claims, but they often include extraneous information. Absent a statement of claim, the Court cannot determine which events, grievances, or misconduct give rise to the claims in this case.

         This Court's standard complaint form contains instructions for preparing a proper statement of claim. According to them, Plaintiff must state “as briefly as possible, when, where, how, and by whom [he] feel[s] [his] constitutional rights were violated.” In other words, Plaintiff must simply and concisely describe the basis for his FTCA claim(s) against the United States.

         He must also include a request for relief. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(3). Rule 8(a)(3) requires a plaintiff to include a “demand for the relief sought, ” and this “may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.” Id. Plaintiff's Complaint contains no such request.

         Plaintiff's failure to provide the most basic information about his claim(s) against the United States is fatal to the Complaint. The Complaint shall be dismissed. However, Plaintiff shall have an opportunity to file a First Amended Complaint, if he wishes to proceed any further with his claim(s) in this case. If he chooses to do so, Plaintiff is bound by the deadline and instructions for filing a First Amended Complaint set forth in the below disposition.

         Pending Motions

         Plaintiff's Motions for Recruitment of Counsel (Docs. 2 and 4) are DENIED without prejudice. A district court faced with a request for counsel must consider whether the plaintiff is unable to afford counsel and has made reasonable efforts to obtain counsel on his own before seeking the Court's assistance. If so, the Court must determine whether the plaintiff appears competent to litigate the case without counsel. Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654 (7th Cir. 2007).

         Plaintiff has not established that he is unable to afford counsel. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). The Court denied his Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis, and he paid the filing fee in full on November 6, 2019. (Doc. 7). Plaintiff does not assert that he is unable to afford counsel. He also describes no efforts to locate counsel on his own. Further, despite the fact that he is currently housed in segregation, “nearly” blind, and cannot walk, Plaintiff has neither claimed nor demonstrated that he is unable to read, write, comprehend, or prosecute his claims in this action. At this stage, he has not satisfied any of the requirements necessary to obtain recruited counsel. Accordingly, both motions (Docs. 2 and 4) are denied. Plaintiff may renew this request by filing a new motion at any time he deems it necessary to do so during the pending action.

         D ...


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