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Love v. Goodlette

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

May 20, 2016




         Plaintiff Deron Darnell Love, who is incarcerated at Dodge Correctional Institution, is representing himself. He filed a complaint alleging that the defendants violated his constitutional rights while he was confined at the Milwaukee County Jail. This matter comes before the Court on the plaintiff’s petition to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee (in forma pauperis). The plaintiff has been assessed an initial partial filing fee of $66.06. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). He has paid $16.16, and he lacks funds to make additional payments at this time. See ECF No. 12; 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4).

         The Court shall 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 prisoner has raised 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).

         A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Hutchinson ex rel. Baker v. Spink, 126 F.3d 895, 900 (7th Cir. 1997). The Court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. “Malicious, ” although sometimes treated as a synonym for “frivolous, ” “is more usefully construed as intended to harass.” Lindell v. McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1109-10 (7th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted).

         To state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It is not necessary for the plaintiff 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 Atlantic 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 should follow the principles set forth in Twombly by first, “identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Legal conclusions must be supported by factual allegations. Id. If there are well-pleaded factual allegations, the court must, second, “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: 1) he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and 2) the deprivation was visited upon him by a person or persons acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore v. County of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Village of North 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. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         Complaint Allegations

         The plaintiff was confined at the Milwaukee County Jail at all times relevant. He is suing Captain Goodlette; Lt. Mikovich; Milwaukee County Jail Staff; CO Wilbourn; CO Wiken; and Dr. White.

         The plaintiff alleges that in October and November 2011, Captain Goodlette made Jail staff handcuff him and leave him in his room for weeks. Because his hands were cuffed to his waist, the plaintiff had to urinate and defecate on himself which caused bumps, bruises, and rashes. The plaintiff caught an infection and suffered from pain. Captain Goodlette also had staff take the plaintiff’s bed, sheets, and blankets which caused him to have neck and back pains, as well as a very bad cold and headaches. In addition, staff used excessive force on the plaintiff during this time period.

         Next, the plaintiff alleges that in 2013, Lt. Mikovich forced him in a shower and then took him outside when he was still wet, just to punish him. As a result, the plaintiff got a bad cold. Lt. Mikovich also forced the plaintiff to eat nutraloaf even though he is allergic to onions, tomatoes, milk, and beans. Milwaukee County Jail staff told the plaintiff that he could either eat the nutraloaf and get sick and die, or starve. The plaintiff got sick from eating the nutraloaf.

         In 2013 and 2014, CO Wilbourne kicked the plaintiff in his arms and hands three times causing injury and pain.

         In October 2015, Jail staff turned the plaintiff’s water off so he could not drink water or flush the toilet. The plaintiff could not drink water for days and he got dehydrated. He also got an infection because he could not flush his toilet which caused his room to be unsanitary.

         The plaintiff alleges that on November 6, 2015, CO Wiken choked him and hit him on his face for no reason. CO Wiken also allegedly made the plaintiff bust ...

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