United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON JUDGE.
Rushing, a pro se prisoner, filed a complaint in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of
Indiana. ECF 1. This case was then transferred here. ECF 5,
6, 7. Rushing now seeks to have this case transferred back to
the Southern District. ECF 9. However, as Judge Tonya Walton
Pratt explained in her order transferring this case, proper
venue is in the Northern District of Indiana, not the
Southern District. ECF 5. And, though Rushing expresses
concern about not getting a fair trial in the state courts
around Elkhart or St. Joseph County, that concern is
unfounded, as this case is pending in federal court. I simply
do not find any reason to consider transferring this case to
another district or division. See 28 U.S.C. § 1404.
Therefore, this case will stay here.
the merits of his complaint, Rushing alleges Officers B. Bush
and B. Fitzgerald of the Elkhart County Sheriff's
Department, have denied him access to the courts in
connection with his many pending state and federal
cases. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the
court must review a prisoner complaint and dismiss it if the
action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against
a defendant who is immune from such relief. Courts apply the
same standard under § 1915A as when addressing a motion
to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th Cir.
2006). Under federal pleading standards,
a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted
as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face. 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
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 672 (2009)
(quotation marks and internal citations omitted).
Furthermore, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of
the cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements,
do not suffice.” Id. at 678. To survive
dismissal, the plaintiff “must do better than putting a
few words on paper that, in the hands of an imaginative
reader, might suggest that something has happened to
her that might be redressed by the law.”
Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 403 (7th
Cir. 2010) (emphasis in original).
complaint, Rushing generally alleges that these two officers
are withholding various legal materials and supplies from
him, hindering his litigation efforts in thirteen separate
cases. To establish a violation of the right to access the
courts, an inmate must show that unjustified acts or
conditions (by defendants acting under color of law) hindered
the inmate's efforts to pursue a non-frivolous legal
claim, Nance v. Vieregge, 147 F.3d 591, 590 (7th
Cir. 1998), and that actual injury (or harm) resulted.
Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351 (1996) (holding
that Bounds did not eliminate the actual injury
requirement as a constitutional prerequisite to a prisoner
asserting lack of access to the courts). In other words,
“the mere denial of access to a prison law library or
to other legal materials is not itself a violation of a
prisoner's rights; his right is to access the
courts, ” and only if the defendants' conduct
prejudices a potentially meritorious legal claim has the
right been infringed. Marshall v. Knight, 445 F.3d
965, 968 (7th Cir. 2006) (emphasis in original).
the complaint does not identify any non-frivolous lawsuit
that has been prejudiced. Instead, Rushing merely lists his
13 pending cases and states, “They are causing me to
miss deadlines resulting in dismissals.” ECF 1 at 2.
However, that statement is too vague to determine if either
defendant's conduct prejudiced any potentially
meritorious legal claim. Rushing has not explained which case
has been prejudiced, specified how that case has been
prejudiced, or how that prejudiced case was otherwise
meritorious. Therefore Rushing's complaint lacks
sufficient facts to adequately plead that the defendants'
conduct have denied him meaningful access to the courts.
his filing is vague, Rushing will be granted leave to file an
amended complaint. See Luevano v. Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d
1014 (7th Cir. 2013). In his amended complaint, he needs to
sets forth his claim in sufficient detail and address the
deficiencies raised in this order. In the amended complaint,
he should explain in his own words what happened, when it
happened, where it happened, and who was involved. He may
attach any documentation he has in his possession or can
obtain related to his claims.
(1) the motion (ECF 5) to transfer is DENIED;
(2) the clerk is DIRECTED to place this cause number on a
blank Prisoner Complaint form and send it to Rushing;
(3) Rushing is GRANTED to and including May 21, 2018, to file
an amended complaint; and
(4) Rushing is CAUTIONED that if he does not respond by the
deadline, this case is subject to dismissal without further