United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY SCREENING AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND
DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS
William T. Lawrence, United States District Court Judge
plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Westville
Correctional Facility. Because the plaintiff is a
“prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C. §
1915(h), this Court has an obligation under 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b) to screen his complaint before service on the
defendants. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court
must dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous or malicious,
fails to state a claim for relief, or seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief. In
determining whether the complaint states a claim, the Court
applies the same standard as when addressing a motion to
dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
See Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621,
624 (7th Cir. 2006). To survive dismissal,
[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim for 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 misconduct alleged.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Pro se
complaints such as that filed by the plaintiff are construed
liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers. Obriecht v. Raemisch,
517 F.3d 489, 491 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008).
the complaint alleges that the plaintiff arrived at the
Reception and Diagnostic Center, in Plainfield, Indiana, on
April 11, 2018, with a copy of his petition for
post-conviction relief and supporting brief. Through the
intake process, he was only permitted to keep the brief but
not the petition. For the next several weeks, the plaintiff
attempted to obtain the petition. He contacted defendants law
librarian Officer Aidoo, Executive Assistant Rosebery, Warden
Grage, Deputy Warden B. Bennett, and Classification
Supervisor Crawford. The plaintiff also filed a grievance. On
April 25, 2018, he got a copy of his petition. He then began
requesting that his petition and brief be notarized. He
contacted Officer Aidoo and Executive Assistant Rosebery. It
was notarized and mailed on May 1, 2018.
days later, Executive Assistant Rosebery spoke to the
plaintiff about the grievance he filed regarding obtaining a
copy of his petition. Rosebery brought a document for the
plaintiff to sign indicating his grievance was resolved. The
plaintiff still wanted the grievance logged but did not
notice until later in his cell that the grievance was not
logged. The plaintiff alleges this conduct by Rosebery is a
violation of his access to the courts and an effort to hamper
his ability to file his petition for post-conviction relief
pursuant to the First Amendment. He also alleges a violation
of the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments based
on these facts.
the complaint alleges he was denied access to the law library
to work on a case from Dekalb County, Indiana, that was
negatively impacting his classification level, an amended
petition for post-conviction relief, and to research two
federal lawsuits. He wrote to the defendants and filed a
grievance on May 3, 2018. He alleges he was never permitted
access to the law library the entire time he was at the
Reception and Diagnostic Center.
the complaint alleges that the plaintiff requested but was
never given a kosher diet. He wrote to the Warden, Deputy
Warden, and the Chaplain. The plaintiff also filed a
grievance on April 20, 2018. The plaintiff alleges a
violation under the First Amendment.
the complaint alleges that the plaintiff's incoming and
outgoing mail was tampered with while he was incarcerated at
the Reception and Diagnostic Center. The plaintiff alleges
that he received his mail with no problems until he filed his
first grievance and then he started experiencing problems
with his mail. He alleges a violation under the First,
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight, and Fourteenth Amendments.
plaintiff also names as defendants an unnamed food service
supervisor, an unnamed mail room supervisor, and the Indiana
Department of Correction. He is suing each defendant in their
individual and official capacities. He seeks monetary
plaintiff's access to the courts First Amendment claim is
dismissed for failure to state a claim.
“Prisoners have a fundamental right of access to the
courts that prisons must facilitate by providing legal
assistance.” In re Maxy, 674 F.3d 658, 660
(7th Cir. 2012) (citing Bounds .v Smith, 430 U.S.
817 (1977)). At the same time, however, prisoners do not have
an “abstract, freestanding right to a law library or
legal assistance.” Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S.
343, 351 (1996). Thus, to prevail on an access-to-courts
claim, a prisoner must “submit evidence that he
suffered actual injury-i.e., that prison officials interfered
with his legal materials-and that the interference actually
prejudiced him in his pending litigation.” Devbrow
v. Gallegos, 735 F.3d 584, 587 (7th Cir. 2013)
(citations omitted). The plaintiff admits in his complaint
that his petition for post-conviction relief was notarized
and mailed on May 1, 2018. As such, the defendants ...