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Crenshaw v. SGT Reyes

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

February 22, 2019




         Shuntaye Charles Crenshaw, a pro se inmate at Green Bay Correctional Institution (GBCI), filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the defendants violated his constitutional rights by failing to timely allow him to place a Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) call against his cellmate for walking around their shared cell in his briefs and sleeping in nude, which caused Crenshaw to later suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This matter is before the court on Crenshaw's motion to proceed without prepayment of the civil case filing fee (ECF No. 2) and for screening of his complaint (ECF No. 1).

         The court has jurisdiction to resolve Crenshaw's motion to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee and to screen the complaint in light of Crenshaw's consent to the full jurisdiction of a magistrate judge and 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.

         1. Motion to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) gives courts discretion to allow prisoners 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 prisoner pay an initial partial filing fee. On January 17, 2019, the court ordered Crenshaw to pay an initial partial filing fee of $2.41. (ECF No. 6.) Crenshaw paid the fee on February 7, 2019. As such, the court will grant his motion. Crenshaw will be required to pay the remainder of the $350 filing fee over time in the manner described at the end of this Order.

         2. Screening of the Complaint

         The 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).

         To state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading system, a 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). 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).

         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. 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). The court is obliged to give a 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)).

         2.1 Allegations in the Complaint

         Crenshaw alleges that on November 15, 2017, while being housed at GBCI, he was placed in a two-man cell with Tony Chaney. He says on that same day, he observed Chaney walking around in his briefs and then sleeping in the nude. Crenshaw states that he was disturbed by these actions. So, on November 16, 2017, he asked a prison official at the north secure work station if he could make a PREA call. He was told to talk with Sergeant Reyes.

         Crenshaw did and asked Sergeant Reyes if he could place a PREA call. Sergeant Reyes told Crenshaw to “lock in, and he would get [Crenshaw] the PREA call.” (ECF No. 1 at 4.) However, Sergeant Reyes never returned and thus Crenshaw did not make the call.

         On November 17, 2017, Crenshaw states he spoke with Sergeant Reyes again about the PREA call. Sergeant Reyes said he would bring Crenshaw the phone, but he never did.

         After continuing to be subjected to Chaney's walking around in his briefs and sleeping naked, Crenshaw informed officer John Doe 1 on November 18, 2017, of his request for a PREA call. The officer responded that ...

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