United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge
RLT, Jr., filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging that his civil rights were violated
while incarcerated at the Racine County Jail. Plaintiff is
awaiting trial for state charges, therefore he is considered
a pretrial detainee for purposes of assessing his claims. The
court notes that Plaintiff is a minor, but as the following
discussion shows, Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. Therefore, the court will not appoint
a guardian ad litem in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 17(c). This matter comes before the court on
Plaintiff's petition to proceed in forma
pauperis, which the court denies.
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 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's
allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (citations omitted).
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.
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 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 Defendants Noonan and Koon lost Plaintiff's
legal work and social security number. He seeks relief from
the Racine County Jail for the loss of his property and for
being made eligible for fraud. “[B]efore a federal
court can consider the merits of a legal claim, the person
seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of the court must
establish the requisite standing to sue.” Whitmore
v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 154 (1990). The plaintiff
carries the burden to demonstrate three elements: (1)
“an ‘injury in fact, ' which is an invasion
of a legally protected right that is (a) concrete and
particularized, and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural
or hypothetical”; (2) “a causal relationship
between the injury and the challenged conduct, such that the
injury can be fairly traced to the challenged action of the
defendant and not from the independent action of some third
party not before the court”; and (3) “a
likelihood that the injury will be redressed by a favorable
decision.” Perry v. Vill. of Arlington
Heights, 186 F.3d 826, 829 (7th Cir. 1999) (internal
citations omitted). Here, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate
the requisite standing to invoke this Court's
jurisdiction regarding his allegations of potential fraud.
Plaintiff has not suffered an injury-he has not yet been the
subject of fraud. Because he does not have standing to sue,
he has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be
loss of property claim also fails to state a claim. As long
as state remedies are available for the loss of property,
neither intentional nor negligent deprivation of property
gives rise to a constitutional violation. Daniels v.
Williams, 474 U.S. 327 (1986); Wynn v.
Southward, 251 F.3d 588, 593 (7th Cir. 2001). The state
of Wisconsin provides several procedures to challenge the
alleged wrongful taking of property. See Wis. Stat.
Chs. 810, 893. Therefore, although Plaintiff may have a state
claim, he does not have a federal constitutional claim based
on the taking of his property.
the complaint lists as a defendant the Racine County Jail.
However, a jail is not a legal entity that can be sued under
§ 1983. See Smith v. Knox Cnty. Jail, 666 F.3d
1037, 1040 (7th Cir. 2012). Therefore, the Racine County Jail
will be dismissed as a defendant. In sum, Plaintiff has
provided no arguable basis for relief.
THEREFORE ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED pursuant to
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b)(1) for
failure to state a claim.
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2) is GRANTED.
ALSO ORDERED that the Clerk of Court enter ...