Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Long v. Pock

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

January 12, 2018

CODY A. LONG, Plaintiff,
v.
CO POCK, JEREMY WESTRA, SGT. BOSZAK, TONY MELI, and LT. BURNS, Defendants.

          ORDER

          J. P. Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge

         The plaintiff, Cody A. Long, a Wisconsin state prisoner representing himself, filed a complaint alleging that the defendants violated his rights under federal law. This matter is before the Court to screen the plaintiff's amended complaint. (Docket #17).

         This case was previously assigned to Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph. However, because not all parties have had the opportunity to consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction, the case was reassigned to a District Judge for entry of this order dismissing the case.

         The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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. Id. § 1915A(b).

         A claim 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) (citations omitted).

         To 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). The plaintiff need not 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 mere “labels and conclusions” 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). To state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter that, accepted as true, “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 (citation omitted).

         In 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.

         To 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. County 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)).

         In this case, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants failed to file paperwork about a fight he had with another inmate on March 8, 2017. (Docket #17 at 2). After the fight, the defendants allegedly talked to the plaintiff and the other inmate. Id. The plaintiff alleges that after he told the defendants that he planned to file a lawsuit for failure to protect him, they “brought him to RGU (aka Seg) as they stripped us in an[d] placed me on TLU for 303.11 Assault.” Id. at 2-3. The plaintiff seeks monetary relief from the defendants.

         Construed liberally, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants retaliated against him after he threatened to file a lawsuit. To state a First Amendment claim for retaliation, a plaintiff must allege 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.” Perez v. Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 768, 783 (7th Cir. 2015) (quoting Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009)). A prisoner has a First Amendment right to file a lawsuit or make grievances about the conditions of his confinement. See Bridges, 557 F.3d at 551-52; Watkins v. Casper, 599 F.3d 791, 798 (7th Cir. 2010). However, merely threatening to file a lawsuit or a grievance is not protected activity. Bridges, 557 F.3d at 555 (“But it seems implausible that a threat to file a grievance would itself constitute a First Amendment-protected grievance.”) (emphasis in original). In this case, the plaintiff alleges that he told the defendants he was going to file a lawsuit, not that he filed one. Thus, he has not satisfied the first prong of a retaliation claim and, therefore, he fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that this action be and the same is hereby DISMISSED with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a claim;

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court document that this inmate has incurred a “strike” under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g);

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this order be sent to the officer in charge of the agency where the inmate is confined; and

         THE COURT FURTHER CERTIFIES that any appeal from this matter would not be taken in good faith pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915(a)(3) unless the plaintiff ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.