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Penhallegon v. Krueger

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

May 16, 2016

JAMES A. PENHALLEGON, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
ANN KRUEGER, GREY DAVIS, SGT. NET, SGT. CREW CUT, and SIR FINNIE, Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING THE PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING THE FULL FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2) AND SCREENING THE COMPLAINT

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The plaintiff, who is representing himself, is a prisoner at Columbia Correctional Institution. He filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that his civil rights were violated while he was incarcerated at the Kenosha Correctional Center. This case is before the court for a decision on the plaintiff’s request to proceed without prepaying the full filing fee (Dkt. No. 2) and for screening of his complaint.

         Request to Proceed without Prepaying the Full Filing Fee

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case because the plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed his complaint. 28 U.S.C. §1915. The PLRA allows a court to give an incarcerated plaintiff the ability to proceed with his lawsuit without prepaying the case filing fee, as long as he meets certain conditions. One of those conditions is a requirement that the plaintiff pay an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. §1915(b). Once the plaintiff pays the initial partial filing fee, the court may allow the plaintiff to pay the balance of the $350 filing fee over time through deductions from his prisoner account. Id.

         On April 20, 2016, the court entered an order requiring the plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $19.70. Dkt. No. 5. The plaintiff paid that fee on April 29, 2016. Accordingly, the court grants his request to proceed without prepaying the full filing fee and allows him to pay the balance of the $350.00 filing fee over time from his prisoner account, as described at the end of this order.

         Screening of the Plaintiff’s Complaint

         The law requires the court to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. §1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the plaintiff raises claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §1915A(b).

         To state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading system, the plaintiff must provide a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff does not need to plead specific facts, and his statement need only “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). However, a complaint that offers “labels and conclusions” or “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). To state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, “that is plausible on its face.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted).

         In considering whether a complaint states a claim, courts follow the principles set forth in Twombly. First, they must “identify[] pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. A plaintiff must support legal conclusions with factual allegations. Id. Second, if there are well-pleaded factual allegations, courts must “assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id.

         To state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. §1983, a plaintiff must allege that the defendants: 1) deprived him of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and 2) acted under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore v. Cnty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Vill. of N. Fond du Lac, 384 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The court is obliged to give the plaintiff’s pro se allegations, “however inartfully pleaded, ” a liberal construction. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         The Plaintiff’s Allegations

         The plaintiff is suing five defendants who are associated with Kenosha Correctional CDated: Superintendent Ann Krueger, Captain Grey Davis, Sergeant Net, Sergeant “Crew Cut, ” and “Food Service Supervisor Sir “Finnie.” Dkt. No. 1 at 6.

         The plaintiff alleges that on April 12, 2015, he was assaulted by his cellmate, which resulted in permanent physical and psychological injuries. Dkt. No. 1 at 2, 5. The plaintiff states that unnamed staff, officers, and medical staff failed to give him proper treatment immediately after the assault. Id. at 7.

         The plaintiff also states that, prior to the assault, he spoke to defendants Net, “Crew Cut, ” and “Finnie” about the issues he was having with his cellmate and asked if they could move him to a different cell. Id. at 3. He also submitted two inmate request forms ...


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