Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Walker v. Pitzen

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

July 25, 2016

LAMONT WALKER, Plaintiff,
v.
CO PITZEN, CAPT. HEGLIN, CAPT. KELLER, MR. FRANSON, CAPT. MORGAN, and WARDEN GREGORY GRAMMS, Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS (DKT. NO. 2), SCREENING PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT (DKT. NO. 1) AND DISMISSING DEFENDANTS HEGLIN AND GRAMMS

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The pro se plaintiff, Lamont Walker, is confined at the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility. He filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that the defendants violated his constitutional rights. Dkt. No. 1. In this order, the court grants the plaintiff’s motion to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee (in forma pauperis) and screens the plaintiff’s complaint.

         I. MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act applies to this case because the plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed his complaint. 28 U.S.C. §1915. That law allows a court to give an incarcerated plaintiff the ability to proceed with his lawsuit without pre-paying the civil 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 $350.00 filing fee over time through deductions from his prisoner account. Id.

         On June 16, 2016, the court issued an order requiring the plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $1.88. Dkt. No. 7. The plaintiff paid that fee on July 11, 2016. Accordingly, the court will grant the plaintiff’s motion for leave to proceed without pre-paying the filing fee and allow the plaintiff to pay the balance of the $350.00 filing fee over time from his inmate account, as described at the end of this order.

         II. SCREENING OF THE PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT

         The law allows a 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 a part of it, 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 shall provide a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The plaintiff need not 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)). A complaint that offers mere “labels and conclusions” or a “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. First, the court should “identify[] 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 then 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: 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. 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 must 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)).

         A. Allegations in the Complaint

         The plaintiff was incarcerated at Columbia Correctional Institution (“CCI”) at all times relevant to the allegations in the complaint. Dkt. No. 1 at 1. The defendants are: Officer Pitzen (a correctional officer at CCI); Captain Heglin; Captain Keller; Mr. Franson (a hearing officer for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections at CCI); Captain Morgan (supervisor of the relevant hearing); and CCI Warden Gregory Gramms. Id. at 1-2.

         The plaintiff alleges that on October 8, 2010, defendant Keller told him that he would be receiving a conduct report for threats, sexual conduct, and disrespect. Id. at 2. The plaintiff responded that he had done nothing wrong, but Keller showed him a letter addressed to a female staff member, and stated that the plaintiff wrote it (a fact the plaintiff denied). Id. On October 12, 2010, defendant ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.