Cape v. LaGrange County Sheriffs Department/County Jail
OPINION AND ORDER: This case is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because the Amended Complaint does not state a claim. Signed by Chief Judge Theresa L Springmann on 3/7/2018. (Copy mailed to pro se party, Kurt R Bachman) (tc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
FORT WAYNE DIVISION
LAGRANGE COUNTY SHERIFFS
CAUSE NO.: 1:17-CV-375-TLS
OPINION AND ORDER
Daniel Cape, a pro se prisoner, filed an Amended Complaint [ECF No. 7] after the Court
found that his original Complaint [ECF No. 2] did not state a claim [ECF No. 5]. In his Amended
Complaint, he again alleges the LaGrange County Jail had an inadequate law library. However,
there is no “abstract, freestanding right to a law library [and] an inmate cannot establish relevant
actual injury simply by establishing that his prison’s law library or legal assistance program is
subpar in some theoretical sense.” Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351 (1996). To state a claim for
a denial of access to the courts, a prisoner must demonstrate that “state action hindered his or her
efforts to pursue a nonfrivolous legal claim and that the plaintiff suffered some actual concrete
injury.” May v. Sheahan, 226 F.3d 876, 883 (7th Cir. 2000). Moreover, state actors have no duty
to assure that prisoners can litigate claims effectively once they have been raised in court. The
right to access goes no further than access. Lewis only requires that an inmate be given access to
file a complaint or appeal. As the Seventh Circuit has explained, “[t]he right of access to the
courts protects prisoners from being shut out of court, it does not exist to enable the prisoner to
litigate effectively once in court.” Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 657 (7th Cir. 2007) (en banc)
(quotation marks, citations, and ellipsis omitted).
Here, the original Complaint did not state a claim because Cape had not identified any
nonfrivolous case or appeal which he was unable to file. He had not identified any concrete
injury proximately caused by his inability to pursue a nonfrivolous case or appeal. He was
permitted to file an amended complaint so that he could specifically identify such a case or
appeal. See Luevano v. Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d 1014 (7th Cir. 2013). He filed an Amended
Complaint, but he still has not identified a nonfrivolous case or appeal he was unable to file nor
any concrete injury that he suffered as a result. Therefore, the Amended Complaint does not state
a claim either.
For these reasons, this case is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because the
Amended Complaint does not state a claim.
SO ORDERED on March 7, 2018.
s/Theresa L. Springmann
CHIEF JUDGE THERESA L. SPRINGMANN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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