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Strong v. Corrigan

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

May 8, 2018

DENNIS STRONG, Plaintiff,
v.
CHAD CORRIGAN and STATE OF WISCONSIN DOC, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2), SCREENING COMPLAINT, AND DISMISSING CASE WITHOUT PREJUDICE

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Dennis Strong, who is confined at the Dodge Correctional Institution, is representing himself. The plaintiff's complaint alleges that defendant Probation Agent Chad Corrigan created a revocation summary based in part on false information. Dkt. No. 1. This order resolves the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee, dkt. no. 2, and screens the plaintiff's complaint.

         A. Application to Proceed without Prepaying the Filing Fee (Dkt. No. 2)

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act applies to this case because the plaintiff is incarcerated. 28 U.S.C. §1915. The law allows a court to give an incarcerated plaintiff the ability to 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, 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 August 7, 2017, the court issued an order finding that the plaintiff lacked the funds to pay an initial partial filing fee, and waiving that fee under 28 U.S.C. §1915(b)(4). Dkt. No. 5. The court's August 7, 2017 order also gave the plaintiff an opportunity to voluntarily dismiss this case, to avoid incurring a “strike. The plaintiff has not filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the case. The court will grant the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filling fee, and will allow the plaintiff to pay the $350.00 filing fee over time from his prisoner account, as described at the end of this order.

         B. SCREENING OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

         1. 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). A 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, a 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” 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 a complaint must allow a court 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.

         Federal courts follow the two-step analysis set forth in Twombly to determine whether a complaint states a claim. Id. at 679. First, a court determines whether the plaintiff's legal conclusions are supported by factual allegations. Id. Legal conclusions that are not supported by facts “are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. Second, a court determines whether the well-pleaded factual allegations “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). A court gives pro se allegations, “however inartfully pleaded, ” a liberal construction. See Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         B. Facts Alleged in the Complaint

         The plaintiff alleges that in June 2017, defendant Agent Corrigan created and distributed a revocation summary for Outagamie County Case Number 11-CF-05, based in part on disingenuous, misleading, and false information. Dkt. No. 1 at 3, 5. The plaintiff attached the Revocation Summary to his complaint. Dkt. No. 1-1. The document indicates that defendant Corrigan recommended revocation of the plaintiff's probation based on allegations that the plaintiff violated the rules of his probation. Id. at 1, 6. The revocation summary also states that the plaintiff was placed in custody on the revocation on March 21, 2017, and that defendant Corrigan recommended a sentence of twelve ...


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