United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
L. ELLIS, JUDGE
Court denies Plaintiff Raunchino James' amended
application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
 as moot because James paid the full $400 fee. Summonses,
however, shall not issue at this time as the Court dismisses
James' complaint  for failure to state a claim. If
James wants to proceed with this lawsuit, he must submit an
amended complaint that addresses the concerns discussed in
this order. If he does not comply by February 21, 2020, the
Court will dismiss this case for failure to state a claim.
The Court denies James' request for the Clerk to send
copies of his submissions to him  as even setting aside
his consistent income, there is no “right of subsidized
access” to the Court. Johnson v. Daley, 339
F.3d 582, 586 (7th Cir. 2003). James must promptly submit a
change-of-address notification if he is released or
transferred to another facility. If he fails to do so, this
case will be subject to dismissal with no further warning.
The Clerk is directed to send James an amended complaint form
and instructions, along with a copy of this order.
Raunchino James, a state prisoner, has brought this pro
se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
concerning numerous events that allegedly happened from
December 2015 to April 2019 at the Dixon Correctional Center.
The Court has before it James' amended application for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”), his seventy-nine page complaint, and a
twenty-eight page supplement.
Court previously denied James' original IFP application
and ordered him to either pay the full $400 statutory filing
fee or submit a properly supported renewed application and a
sworn statement (attaching supporting records if appropriate)
disclosing the source of his income during the past twelve
months, what he bought, and why the money he spent should not
be counted against his ability to pay the filing fee. Doc. 9.
The Court also ordered James to explain why he represented
under oath that he received no income whatsoever in the past
twelve months when he received a total of $997.68 in income
in just the second half of the one-year lookback period and
presumably received additional income during the first half
of that period. Id.
response, James renewed his IFP application and submitted a
declaration claiming confusion and asserting that he needed
to spend his income on food and personal items as “to
think everything would be adequately provided at taxpayers
expense that's an illusion.” Doc. 8 at 16. Although
James merely resubmitted the same trust fund ledgers that he
originally provided, which end in April 2019 and thus are
stale at this point, he submitted updated ledgers in a new
case, James v. Varga, No. 19 C 50271 (N.D. Ill.),
which indicate that he received an additional $1, 037.46 from
April 10, 2019, to October 9, 2019, and spent most of that
income, leaving himself with $76.37 as of October 9, 2019.
subsequently paid the full filing fee. Given that payment,
the Court will allow James to proceed. However, the Court
warns James that it will not so easily overlook any future
untrue representations, whether about his finances or other
matters. The Court also advises James that if he contemplates
any additional litigation, he must save his income so he can
pay the filing fee, rather than make discretionary
expenditures. See Sanders v. Melvin, 873 F.3d 957,
960 (7th Cir. 2017) (a prisoner “can save up . . . and
pay the filing fee”). This is the case even if James
wants to shop at the commissary rather than use his money to
pay his debt to the Court. For any future litigation James
might contemplate, if he receives enough income to pay the
$400 fee after receiving this warning about the obligation to
save and is aware of the factual basis of a lawsuit but then
elects to spend those funds on personal items, he will almost
certainly not be allowed to pay the fee in installments.
See Kennedy v. Huibregtse, 831 F.3d 441, 443 (7th
Cir. 2016). This is the case even if James renews his IFP
application when his balance is less than the full $400
filing fee if he could have paid the fee by refraining from
making personal purchases since the Court need not grant IFP
status when an inmate has depleted his account of funds by
purchasing commissary items. See Newlin v. Helman,
123 F.3d 429, 435 (7th Cir. 1997) (noting that a prisoner who
“squander[s]” all his assets is not entitled to
proceed in forma pauperis), overruled on other
grounds by Walker v. O'Brien, 216 F.3d 626 (7th Cir.
2000). Moving forward, James should, therefore, reflect
carefully when he decides whether to spend his income on
Review of James' Complaint
James has paid the filing fee, his complaint is still subject
to screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because he was in
custody when he initiated this lawsuit. See Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 214, 127 S.Ct. 910, 166 L.Ed.2d 798
(2007) (explaining that court must screen pro se
prisoners' complaints and dismiss the complaint, or any
claim therein, if the complaint or claim is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks monetary relief
against an immune defendant); Turley v. Rednour, 729
F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). For purposes of initial
review, the Court must accept the well-pleaded facts in the
complaint as true, Alam v. Miller Brewing Co., 709
F.3d 662, 665-66 (7th Cir. 2013), and construes James'
pro se submissions liberally, Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d
submissions (a complaint and supplement totaling 107 pages)
set forth a lengthy convoluted chain of events dating back to
December 7, 2015, when James' left eyelid felt
“sore.” Doc. 1 at 7. Two days later, James'
“eye irritation” worsened when he “decided
to rinse his eye out” in his in-cell sink, which he
claims dispensed water with visible brown flecks that were
dangerous if touched or ingested. Id. The rest of
James' submissions consist of extremely detailed factual
allegations and summations of his opinions about numerous
events, much like a diary, until his narrative ends in April
2019. James names Drs. Zahtz, James, and Garcia, Nurse Lynn
Chattic, Nurse Practitioner Susan Tuell, Warden John Varga,
the “Illinois State Prison, ” “Old
Warden” Donald Enloe, and Officer Guelde as Defendants.
are several initial problems with James' complaint.
First, it fails to comply with Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(a), which requires only “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” The complaint is essentially a
stream-of-consciousness narrative that provides James'
perspectives about each individual he interacted with over
the past four years regarding his eye and many other matters.
While a minor amount of surplus material in a complaint is
not enough to frustrate Rule 8's goals, unnecessary
length coupled with repetitiveness, needless complexity, and
immaterial allegations are grounds for dismissal.
Kadamovas v. Stevens, 706 F.3d 843, 844 (7th Cir.
2013). This rule is based on the Seventh Circuit's
observation-which is directly applicable to this case-that a
disjointed and prolix presentation “may make a
complaint unintelligible, by scattering and concealing in a
morass of irrelevancies the few allegations that
matter.” Id. (quoting United States ex
rel. Garst v. Lockheed-Martin Corp., 328 F.3d 374, 378
(7th Cir. 2003)); see also Bakhtiari v. Bagwell, No.
3:15-CV-00922-SDY, 2015 WL 5675835, at *1 (S.D. Ill. Sept.
28, 2015) (striking inmate's lengthy and confusing
complaint because it “violates Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8, such that a § 1915A review of it is
unworkable”). James' submissions clearly run afoul
of this basic rule. This is even more true given that he has
provided two documents (his complaint and a supplement) that
overlap in places but provide different details, creating a
hodgepodge of allegations.
the Court advises James that the statute of limitations for a
§ 1983 action arising in Illinois (in other words, the
time period in which a lawsuit may be brought) is two years.
See, e.g., Neita v. City of Chicago, 830
F.3d 494, 498 (7th Cir. 2016). Absent a basis for tolling (in
other words, pausing) the limitations period, it appears that
potential claims based on at least some of the unrelated
events chronicled in the complaint, which goes all the way
back to 2015, may be untimely. Moreover, § 1983
“[l]iability is defendant-specific” so “a
claim against any particular person accrues immediately when
that person loses the ability ‘to do something about
[the plaintiff's] condition.'” Heard v.
Elyea, 525 Fed.Appx. 510, 511-12 (7th Cir. 2013)
(quoting Heard v. Sheahan, 253 F.3d 316, 318 (7th
Cir. 2001)). Thus, the statute of limitations begins to run
when a Defendant “no longer has the power to do
anything about the condition.” Ollison v. Wexford
Health Sources, Inc., No. 16 C 00662, 2016 WL 6962841,
at *5 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 29, 2016) (citing Heard, 253
F.3d at 318). If any of the Defendants left Dixon more than
two years (plus any applicable tolling periods) before James
filed this suit, the claims against those Defendants may be
time-barred. As James decides how to proceed, he should keep
this in mind and provide beginning and end dates for his
interactions with the various Defendants, to the best of his
the “Illinois State Prison” (presumably, the
Illinois Department of Corrections) is not a proper party
because it is not a suable entity (in other words, the type
of entity that can be held liable in a § 1983 action).
See Taylor v. Stateville Dep't of Corr., No. 10
C 3700, 2010 WL 5014185, at *2 (N.D. Ill.Dec. 1, 2010)
(“There is no such entity as the ‘Stateville
Department of Correction;' whether Plaintiff is intending
to sue the Stateville Correctional Center or the Illinois
Department of Corrections, ...