United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
CURTIS L. MILLS, Plaintiff,
MILWAUKEE COUNTY JAIL, Defendant.
WILLIAM E. DUFFIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
3, 2019, the court screened pro se plaintiff Curtis
L. Mills’s complaint and directed him to file an
amended complaint clarifying his claims. (ECF No. 10). The
court gave Mills until August 2, 2019, to file an amended
complaint and warned him that, if he failed to timely file an
amended complaint, the court would dismiss his case without
prejudice. Mills not having filed an amended complaint by
August 20, 2019, the court dismissed his case without
prejudice. (ECF No. 12).
August 29, 2019, Mills filed a proposed amended complaint and
included a request to reopen the case due to filing errors.
(ECF No. 14.) At the time, Civil Local Rule 41(c) allowed
plaintiffs to petition for reinstatement within 21 days of
dismissal. As such, the court will construe Mills’s
proposed amended complaint as a motion to reopen the case.
Because Mills’ proposed amended complaint does not
state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court
will deny the motion to reopen the case.
proposed amended complaint, Mills alleges he was placed in
segregation at the Milwaukee County Jail due to a “keep
separate” order. Mills was in segregation from January
1, 2019 until February 10, 2019. During his time in
segregation, Mills states he was not allowed contact with his
lawyer, was confined to his cell 23 hours a day, and was not
allowed access to the canteen. He claims that his placement
in segregation violates his Fourteenth Amendment Due Process
proposed amended complaint, Mills does not state whether he
is a pretrial detainee or a convicted prisoner. That
information is relevant because a pretrial detainee is
subject to a different standard when considering his
placement in segregation. A review of Mills’s records
on Wisconsin Circuit Court Access,
https://wcca.wicourts.gov, indicates that he was not
a pretrial detainee when placed in segregation, having been
convicted of First Degree Child Sexual Assault and related
lesser charges on December 12, 2018.
such, because Mills had been convicted when he was placed in
segregation, to state a claim that his placement violated his
Due Process rights he must show that he had a protected
liberty interest in avoiding segregation. Haraway v.
Meyerhoff, 734 F.3d 740, 743 (7th Cir. 2013). A
plaintiff generally does not have a protected liberty
interest in remaining in the general prison population unless
his placement in segregation “imposed an
‘atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in
relation to the ordinary incidents of prison
life.’” Id. (quoting Sandin v.
Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995)); see also Grey v.
Taylor, 714 F.Supp.2d 903, 910 (N.D. Ill. 2010). The
court should consider both the length of time in segregation
and the conditions of segregation. Haraway, 734 F.3d
at 743 (citing Marion v. Columbia Corr. Inst., 559
F.3d 693, 697 (7th Cir. 2009)). A plaintiff does not have a
liberty interest where his stay in segregation was relatively
short and he has not alleged “that he suffered any
significant psychological or other injury from” his
stay. Kervin v. Barnes, 787 F.3d 833, 837 (7th Cir.
states that he was placed in segregation due to a “keep
separate” order. His stay was approximately five weeks.
To state a due process claim, he must allege that the
conditions he endured in segregation imposed a significant
hardship. He has not done so. While he notes that he was in
his cell for 23 hours a day, he does not allege that this
caused a psychological or other injury.
Mills’ allegations of being denied access to his
attorney during his time in segregation does not constitute a
significant hardship or a standalone claim that he was denied
access to the courts. To state a claim for denial of access
to the courts, a plaintiff must allege that the denial
created “an inability to pursue a legitimate challenge
to a conviction, sentence, or prison conditions.”
Ortiz v. Downey, 561 F, 3d 664, 671 (7th Cir. 2009).
Mills simply states he wasn’t allowed to see his
attorney but does not explain how this impacted his ability
to pursue his legal interests.
Mills to reopen his case and file the proposed amended
complaint would be futile because the amended complaint would
not survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.
McCoy v. Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., 760 F.3d 674,
685 (7th Cir. 2014). The court, therefore, will deny the
motion to reopen the case.
IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Mills’s motion to
reopen the case and file the proposed amended ...