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Sampson v. Tokar

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

April 19, 2018

DONALD SAMPSON, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. TOKAR, DR. MICHAEL HAGAN, and LIEUTENANT LONDRE, Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER SCREENING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

          NANCY JOSEPH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Donald Sampson, who is representing himself, filed a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the defendants violated his constitutional rights by allowing his psychological services unit request slip to be read by another inmate and by failing to prevent harm to him. Before me is Sampson's motion seeking leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee and I will also screen his complaint.

         Not all parties have had the opportunity to fully consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Nonetheless, the court has jurisdiction to screen the complaint pursuant to the Wisconsin Department of Justice's limited consent to the exercise of magistrate judge jurisdiction as set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding between the Wisconsin Department of Justice and this court.

         This decision, therefore, resolves Sampson's motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee and screens his complaint.

         1. Motion for Leave to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act applies to this case because Sampson was incarcerated when he filed his complaint. 28 U.S.C. §1915. That law allows a court to give an incarcerated plaintiff the ability to proceed with his lawsuit without prepaying the civil 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). Once he pays the initial partial filing fee, 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 10, 2018, I ordered Sampson to pay an initial partial filing fee of $2.94. (Docket # 6.) Sampson paid the fee on January 29, 2018. Accordingly, I will grant Sampson's motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee. He must pay the remainder of the filing fee over time in the manner explained at the end of this order.

         2. Screening of the Complaint

         Federal law requires that I 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 a complaint 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. 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 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, I 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 caused by the defendant 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). I am obliged to give the 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)).

         2.1 The Plaintiff's Allegations

         Sampson alleges that on September 17, 2017, he overheard an argument between Officer Negran (not a defendant) and Juan Rodriguez (not a defendant), an inmate who was housed in the cell next to Sampson. He heard Negran stopped at inmate Rodriguez' cell door. He then heard Negran make sexual comments to Rodriguez and saw Negran grabbed Rodriguez' penis. Sampson alleges that he then took it upon himself to submit a ...


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