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Jones v. Schnabl

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

August 2, 2017

DERRICK P. JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
MEG SCHNABL, and CONNIE ACHERSON, Defendants.

         ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2), GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 8), SCREENING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT, AND DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The plaintiff, a Wisconsin state prisoner who is representing himself, filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983, dkt. no. 1, along with an incomplete motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee, dkt. no. 2. The plaintiff later submitted a prisoner trust account statement, dkt. no. 5, and a completed motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee, dkt. no. 8. This order resolves his motions and screens his complaint.

         I. Motions for Leave to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee

         As noted above, the first motion that the plaintiff filed asking the court to allow him to proceed without pre-paying the filing fee was incomplete. Dkt. No. 2. It contained only the first page of the form, and the plaintiff did not provide his prison trust account statement. The court will deny that motion.

         As to the plaintiff's second motion: 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 November 16, 2016, the court ordered the plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $17.27. Dkt. No. 6. The plaintiff paid that fee on December 7, 2016. Accordingly, the court will grant the plaintiff's completed, second, motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee. The court will require the plaintiff to pay the remainder of the filing fee over time as set forth 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

         On June 4, 2016, the plaintiff was an inmate at the Waukesha County Jail. Dkt. No. 1 at 2. That day, he was placed in administrative segregation for being disruptive. Id. He did not, however, receive a due process hearing. Id. at 3. The jail administrators told the plaintiff that he was not placed in segregation for a disciplinary reason, but the plaintiff maintains that he had a right to a due process hearing even if his segregation placement was labeled administrative. Id. at 3.

         The plaintiff also asserts that he was placed in segregation because he was African American, while a Caucasian inmate remained in the general population. Id. The plaintiff contends that both he and the Caucasian inmate should have been placed in segregation until the investigation was completed. Id. Further, the plaintiff ...


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