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Grisle v. C. Jess

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

August 1, 2017

RONALD L. GRISLE, JR., Plaintiff,


          HON. PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge.

         The plaintiff, an inmate at Kenosha Correctional Center who is representing himself, filed a complaint alleging that the defendant had denied him his right to a hearing before the Program Review Committee. Dkt. No. 1. He also filed a motion, asking the court to allow him to proceed without prepaying the filing fee. Dkt. No. 2.

         This case originally was assigned to Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph. The defendants have not been served, and so have not had the opportunity to consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction. Accordingly, the clerk's office randomly reassigned the case to a United States district court judge-Judge Pepper-to screen the complaint.

         This decision resolves the plaintiff's motion to proceed without prepaying the filing fee, screens the complaint and dismisses the case.

         I. Motion for Leave to Proceed without Prepayment of the 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 that the plaintiff pay an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. §1915(b). On July 5, 2017, Judge Joseph ordered the plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $9.35. Dkt. No. 6. The plaintiff paid the initial partial filing fee on July 24, 2017. Accordingly, the court will grant the plaintiff's motion to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee. The court will order the plaintiff to pay the remainder of the filing fee over time in the manner explained at the end of this decision.

         II. Screening 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 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 claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, “that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows a court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         To proceed 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 defendant was 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 gives a pro se plaintiff's 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. The Plaintiff's Allegations

         The plaintiff alleges that, under the Department of Corrections' policies and procedures, inmates are entitled to participate in “recall” hearings, which are held before the Program Review Committee (PRC). Dkt. No. 1 at 4. (The court assumes that the plaintiff is referring to program review hearings; among other things, program review hearings allow prison staff to assess an inmate's custody classification and his motivation to become involved in treatment and programs. See Wis.Stat. DOC 302.14-17.)

         The plaintiff asserts that in October 2016, the PRC approved him for minimum security status. Dkt. No. 1 at 4. As a result, he was transferred to the Kenosha Correctional Center (KCC) a month later. Id. He alleges that the PRC set a recall hearing for February 1, 2017. Id.

         The plaintiff asserts that defendant Quala Champagne (the warden of the Wisconsin Correctional Center System) informed him that defendant Ann Krueger (the KCC Superintendent) held a recall hearing on February 10, 2017. Id. According to the plaintiff, despite DOC policy, he was not invited to participate in the recall hearing. Id. The plaintiff explains that he ...

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