United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge
Treon Vaughn, who is incarcerated at Kenosha County Detention
Center, filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that his civil rights were violated. This matter
comes before the court on the plaintiff's petition to
proceed in forma pauperis.
plaintiff is required to pay the statutory filing fee of
$350.00 for this action. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(1). If a prisoner does not have the money to pay the
filing fee, he or she can request leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. The plaintiff has filed a certified copy
of his prison trust account statement for the two-month
period immediately preceding the filing of his complaint. The
plaintiff has been assessed an initial partial filing fee of
$17.65 in this action, but he indicates he is unable to pay
that fee and requests that fee be waived. It appears the
prisoner will be unable to pay the initial partial filing
fee, and so it is waived. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4).
court is required 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
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. §
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)
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
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 his 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)).
alleges that Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC)
employees T. Dickman, Gary Boughton, and Ellen Ray failed to
provide a copy of his six month certified inmate trust
account statement to the United States District Court for the
Eastern District for three of his cases: 16-C-1486,
16-C-1499, and 16-C-1557. He claims the defendants stated
they would provide Vaughn his trust account statement, but
did not because they wanted to “protect their
interest.” He asserts that defendants' actions
amounted to “retaliation through deception.”
Vaughn seeks both monetary and injunctive relief.
prevail on a retaliation claim, a plaintiff must show that
(1) he engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment;
(2) he suffered a deprivation that would likely deter First
Amendment activity in the future; and (3) the First Amendment
activity was “at least a motivating factor” in
the Defendants' decision to take the retaliatory action.
Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir.
2009). Even construing his allegations liberally, Vaughn has
failed to state a claim for retaliation. His complaint is
nothing more than a series of conclusory allegations, with no
information as to why defendants would be retaliating against
him or that defendants had control over his trust account
statements. It is also unclear whether Vaughn has even
suffered harm-a review of Case Nos. 16-C-1486, 16-C-1499, and
16-C-1557 reveals that the dismissals were without prejudice.
Vaughn also does not allege that any injury is ongoing and
has provided a copy of his trust account in this case.
According, Vaughn's retaliation claim will be dismissed
for failure to state a claim although the dismissal will be
IT IS ORDERED that plaintiff's request to proceed in
forma pauperis is GRANTED.
FURTHER ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED without
FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court enter judgment
FURTHER ORDERED that the Kenosha County Sheriff or his
designee shall collect from the plaintiff's prison trust
account the $350.00 balance of the filing fee by collecting
monthly payments from the plaintiff's prison trust
account in an amount equal to 20% of the preceding
month's income credited to the prisoner's trust
account and forwarding payments to the clerk of the court
each time the amount in the account exceeds $10 in accordance