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Wright v. Brito

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

August 7, 2017

KARL CHRISTOPHER WRIGHT, III, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER BRITO AND J. RAMSEY GUY, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2) AND SCREENING COMPLAINT UNDER 28 U.S.C. §1915A

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, who is representing himself, was confined at the Milwaukee County Jail when he filed the complaint. Dkt. No. 1. He alleges that the defendants violated his constitutional rights. Id. This order resolves the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee and screens the plaintiff's complaint.

         I. Motion for Leave to Proceed Without Prepaying the Filing Fee

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act applies to this case because the plaintiff was in custody when he filed the complaint. 28 U.S.C. §1915. The law allows a court to let a prisoner proceed with his lawsuit without pre-paying the civil case filing fee, as long as he meets certain conditions. Id. 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, if he still is a prisoner, the court may allow the plaintiff to pay the balance of the $350 filing fee over time, through deductions from his prisoner account. Id.

         On January 27, 2017, the court assessed an initial partial filing fee of $9.53. Dkt. No. 7. The plaintiff paid that amount on February 13, 2017. The plaintiff, however, is no longer a prisoner, so the court cannot allow him to pay the remainder of the filing fee out of his prisoner account. The court will grant the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee, and will direct the plaintiff to pay the remaining balance of the filing fee as described at the end of this order.

         II. Screening the Complaint

         A. Standard for Screening Complaints

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act requires federal courts 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 may dismiss a case, or part of it, if the claims alleged are “frivolous or malicious, ” fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B).

         To state a claim under the federal notice pleading system, the plaintiff must provide a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint need not plead specific facts, and need only provide “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)). “Labels and conclusions, ” however, 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).

         The factual content of the complaint must allow the court to “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. Indeed, allegations must “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Factual allegations, when accepted as true, must state a claim that is “plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         Federal courts follow the two-step analysis set forth in Twombly to determine whether a complaint states a claim. Id. at 679. First, the court determines whether the plaintiff's legal conclusions are supported by factual allegations. Id. Legal conclusions not supported by facts “are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. Second, the court determines whether the well-pleaded factual allegations “plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id. The court gives 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)).

         B. Facts Alleged in the Complaint

         The plaintiff alleges that he was confined at the Milwaukee County Jail from May 2016 through August 2016. Dkt. No. 1 at 2. He sues Officer Brito and Officer J. Ramsey Guy, who worked at the jail at that time. Id. at 1.

         The plaintiff alleges that between the dates of May 4 and May 17, 2016, during first shift, the defendants beat and sodomized him in his cell. Id. He indicates that because of his emotional state, he cannot recall the exact date, but indicates that on the same day the incident happened, he reported it to two lieutenants and filed a written grievance. Id. at 2. He also indicates ...


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