United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge United States District
Darnell Ingram, who was confined at Fond du Lac County Jail
at the time of filing, filed a pro se complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his civil rights
were violated. Along with his complaint, Ingram filed a
motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing
fee and a copy of his prisoner trust account statement. In an
order dated January 16, 2019, the court waived the initial
partial filing fee and directed Ingram to notify the court
within 21 days whether he wished to voluntarily dismiss this
action to avoid the possibility of incurring a strike under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). On February 8, 2019, instead of
notifying the court of his intent to dismiss this action,
Ingram filed a motion to stay the case pending his receipt of
free legal advice.
motion to stay will be denied. Ingram chose to file this
action on January 4, 2019, while he was confined in Fond du
Lac County Jail, where he likely lacked access to the free
legal advice he now seeks. Ingram could have waited to file
his complaint until his release on January 31, 2019, or he
could have notified the court of his intent to withdraw this
action. Either of these options would have allowed Ingram to
obtain legal advice and modify his complaint. The fact that
Ingram is not now confined and is in the process of seeking
legal advice does not hold in abeyance the court's
obligation to screen his complaint “as soon as
practicable after docketing.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(a). Granting a stay of this action would frustrate this
obligation and would only delay this matter, especially in
light of the fact that the court concludes he has stated
claims against at least some of the defendants. If and when
Ingram finds an attorney to assist him, he remains free to
amend his complaint as long as he does not unduly delay.
Ingram's motion to stay will therefore be denied and his
complaint will be screened.
to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee
Ingram is no longer confined, he remains subject to the
requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA)
because he was incarcerated at the time he filed his
complaint. The PLRA gives courts discretion to allow
plaintiffs to proceed with their lawsuits without prepaying
the $350 filing fee, as long as they comply with certain
requirements. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. One of those
requirements is that the plaintiff pay an initial partial
filing fee. The court previously waived the initial partial
filing fee. ECF No. 8. Ingram's motion to proceed without
prepayment of the filing fee will therefore be granted.
Ingram is still required to pay the remainder of the fee over
time as he is able.
of the Complaint
court is required 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 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. 28 U.S.C. §
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).
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
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter “that
is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The court accepts
the factual allegations as true and liberally construes them
in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729
F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 2013). Nevertheless, 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).
of the Complaint
alleges that, on November 3, 2018, he was placed in Fond du
Lac County Jail “on p.o. hold due to consumption of
alcohol . . . for 10 days.” ECF No. 1 at 2. He alleges
that supervisor Eric Gross ignored his incarceration in
retaliation for a civil action Ingram filed in 2009. Ingram
alleges that, on or about November 13, 2019, Gross and
probation agent Aleesha Gillingham attempted to search and
seize his cell phone to punish him without a court order and
without proper cause. The next day, on November 14, 2019,
Ingram alleges that Gillingham and Gross served him with a
recommendation of revocation “due to 2 false alligation
[sic] of refusal search [sic] and possession of
cocaine.” Id. at 3.
alleges that, on November 16, 2018, he, an older, black male,
and David Bradford, a young, white male probationer, were
riding in a car and were arrested. Ingram alleges that Gross
released Bradford, who had a warrant for absconding his
probation. Ingram, on the other hand, was held in Fond du Lac
County Jail. This detention, Ingram alleges, was the result
of age and race discrimination. Ingram further alleges that,
on November 23, 2019, Gillingham, Gross, and Department of
Corrections (DOC) Assistant Regional Chief Donna Harris
“rescinded revocation and employed a 90 day sanction
without huber.” Id. Ingram alleges that his
90-day confinement was based on “fabricated alligations
[sic] of possession of cocaine and refusal of search.”
ECF No. 10 at 1.
alleges that the District Attorney's Office filed and
later dropped criminal charges relating to his alleged
possession of cocaine. He alleges that a police report
confirmed that he did not possess cocaine and that Gillingham
did not read the police report or otherwise investigate the
allegations. He further alleges that he wrote letters
regarding the deprivation of his rights to DOC staff,
including Harris and Regional 7 Chief Sally Tess. He alleges
that Harris responded on behalf of herself and all other
defendants, stating that Ingram had “lost rights”
and that the defendants “can do whatever thay [sic]
wish.” ECF No. 1 at 4.
alleges that he fully exhausted his administrative remedies
on December 18, 2018. As a result of his alleged
constitutional deprivations, Ingram seeks monetary damages
and an order preventing the defendants from overseeing his
probation in the future.