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Waldera v. McInnis

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

March 9, 2018

MR. MCINNIS, et al., Defendants.



         This case is currently assigned to Magistrate Judge William E. Duffin. All the parties have not had the opportunity to consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction. Therefore, the case is before me for the limited purpose of screening the complaint. This case will return to Judge Duffin after entry of this order.

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) applies to this action because plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed the complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The PLRA allows an incarcerated plaintiff to proceed with a lawsuit in federal court without pre-paying the full civil case filing fee so long as he pays an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). On February 2, 2018, Judge Duffin assessed an initial partial filing fee of $26.25. Docket. No. 6. Plaintiff paid that amount on February 16, 2018. Therefore, I will grant plaintiff's motion to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee.

         The PLRA 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). I must dismiss part or all of a complaint if it raises claims that are legally “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. §1915A(b).

         To state a claim under the federal notice pleading system, 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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). “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).

         The factual content of the complaint must allow me to “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. 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.

         I follow the two-step analysis set forth in Twombly to determine whether a complaint states a claim. Id. at 679. First, I determine whether the plaintiff's legal conclusions are supported by factual allegations. Id. Legal conclusions not support by facts “are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Id. Second, I determine whether the well-pleaded factual allegations “plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Id. Pro se allegations, “however inartfully pleaded, ” are given a liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).


         Plaintiff is an inmate at the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution (“KMCI”). Docket No. 1. Defendants are KMCI staff members: Mr. McInnis is the Education Director at KMCI; Casetta is a Correctional Officer at KMCI; and K. Salinas is a member of the Inmate Complaint Review System (“ICRS”) at KMCI. Id.

         On September 27, 2017, plaintiff fell in the KMCI school bathroom. Id. at 2. He reported the fall to Officer Merkes (not a defendant), and Merkes took plaintiff to the Health Services Unit (“HSU”) for a medical evaluation. Id. Plaintiff returned to the KMCI school to pick up his books and the books were in Casetta's office. Id. Plaintiff noticed that some newspapers that were inside his books were missing. Id. at 2-3.

         The next day, plaintiff arrived at the KMCI school and Casetta gave him a conduct report for having newspapers from the library. Id. at 3. Plaintiff told Casetta that he had permission from the librarian to have the newspapers, but Casetta gave him a conduct report anyway. Id. Casetta also provided McInnis with “false information” to get plaintiff fired from his job. Id. Plaintiff believes that Casetta (who is responsible for keeping the bathrooms clean) was retaliating against him because he had fallen in the bathroom the day before and reported the incident to Officer Merkes. Id. at 4.

         A week or two later, on or around October 5, 2017, plaintiff filed two inmate complaints on the incident: one for the fall and another for Casetta's profane language and aggressive behavior. Id. at 3-4. Both complaints were dismissed. Id. at 4. According to plaintiff, his inmate complaints were decided based on “false information” and “misleading facts” from Casetta, Salinas, and McInnis. Id. Plaintiff believes Casetta, Salinas, and McInnis gave inaccurate information to “cover up” his fall. Id. He seeks monetary damages.


         To state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff must allege that defendants: 1) deprived him of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and 2) acted under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore v. Cnty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Vill. of North Fond ...

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