ILNews

Judge dismisses prisoner suit

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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A federal judge in Fort Wayne has dismissed a pro se complaint against a local sheriff and jail officials because it doesn't adequately state a claim to recover for alleged sexual harassment during a weapons strip search.

U.S. District Judge Philip Simon ruled in Nathan W. Romine v. Nick Yoder, et al., No. 1:08-CV-036 PS, which involved a suit from an Adams County Law Enforcement Center inmate. Romine said he was sexually harassed at the jail during a strip search for a razor blade but didn't make accusations that he was improperly touched or that the search wasn't proper.

The complaint claimed a guard snickered during the search and made "unnecessary, sexual comments" about his genitals.

In his decision, Judge Simon relied on caselaw changes in the past year from the Supreme Court of the United States to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. He relied on Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007), and Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S.Ct. 2197 (2007), that dealt with pleading standards - Twombly held that factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above speculation, while Erickson held in the context of pro se suits that complaints must be liberally construed and held to less stringent standards than those where attorneys are involved.

Interpreting those two SCOTUS rulings, the 7th Circuit in August read those two cases together in Airborne Beepers & Video Inc v. AT&T Mobility, 499 F.3d 6663 (7th Cir. 2007), to mean that "at some point, the factual detail in a complaint may be so sketchy that the complaint does not provide the type of notice of the claim to which defendant is entitled."

Judge Simon determined that Romine didn't state a claim and that fear of an injury that didn't occur doesn't state a claim.
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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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