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EVANS v. ALLEN

October 24, 1997

CHAD EVANS, Plaintiff,
v.
MELVIN ALLEN, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALESIA

 Before the court is defendants Melvin Allen and Bradley Hunt's motion to dismiss plaintiff Chad Evans' complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, the court grants Allen and Hunt's motion to dismiss.

 I. BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff Chad Evans ("Evans") alleges the following facts which, for the purposes of this motion, are taken as true. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 81 L. Ed. 2d 59, 104 S. Ct. 2229 (1984). On May 4, 1996, Evans was an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville"). On that day, four lieutenants and Officer Bradley Hunt ("Officer Hunt" or "Hunt") conducted a shakedown of Evans' cell. No contraband was found in Evans' cell. Evans was then placed back in his cell. The officers then conducted a shakedown of the hallway ceiling. The officers found a number of dangerous contraband items.

 On May 7, 1996, Evans was given a disciplinary ticket for the contraband items. He was given this ticket because Officer Hunt lied and said that the contraband items were found in Evans' cell. On May 8, 1996, Melvin Allen ("Allen") of the Adjustment Committee came to see Evans. Evans told Allen his side of the story and requested that several witnesses be called. Evans' witnesses could have testified that the contraband items were not found in Evans' cell. Allen refused to call the witnesses; rather, he recorded that Evans had not asked for witnesses. Allen then found that the violation occurred and gave Evans one year of segregation, a demotion to "C" grade for one year, and revocation of one year good time credit. *fn1"

 In response, Evans sought relief under the grievance procedure provided at Stateville. Evans filed three grievances. He received no response from the first two. In response to the third grievance, Evans was given a new hearing. At this new hearing, Evans' witnesses were called and his ticket was dismissed. Despite the fact that his ticket was dismissed, Evans still suffered the following results from the incident: (1) he spent 218 days in segregation; (2) he missed a transfer to Illinois River Correctional Center; (3) he was forced to go to visits in cuffs and chains; (4) he was put with the general population even though he was listed on protective custody; (5) he was placed on a gallery with no one of the same race as him; (6) he was subjected to racial abuse and physical abuse; and (7) he suffered mental stress that forced him to attempt suicide.

 Based on the above events, Evans filed a pro se complaint against defendants Allen and Hunt, alleging that defendants' actions violated his constitutional rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his complaint, Evans requests the following relief. First, he requests $ 200 for each of the 218 days he spent in segregation. Second, he asks for $ 50,000 for his mental and emotional injuries and $ 50,000 for the abuse he was put through. Third, he asks to be transferred to Illinois River Correctional Center as soon as possible. Finally, he asks the court to prohibit any officers or other workers at Stateville from retaliating against him.

 Defendants Allen and Hunt have filed this motion to dismiss Evans' complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Initially, Evans was given until August 28, 1997, to respond to defendants' motion. The court extended that date sua sponte until October 3, 1997, and instructed Evans that failure to respond might result in dismissal. Instead of a response, Evans sent a letter dated October 1, 1997, to the clerk's office stating, among other things, that he did not know to what motion he was to respond. Because the court, for the reasons stated below, is dismissing Evans' complaint without prejudice and giving him leave to amend, the court ruled on defendants' motion without the benefit of Evans' views. In doing so, the court was careful to give Evans' complaint fair and meaningful consideration. Donald v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 95 F.3d 548, 555-59 (7th Cir. 1996).

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. Standard for deciding a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss

 When deciding a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Cromley v. Board of Educ. of Lockport, 699 F. Supp. 1283, 1285 (N.D. Ill. 1988). If, when viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court must dismiss the case. See FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6); Gomez v. Illinois State Bd. of Educ., 811 F.2d 1030, 1039 (7th Cir. 1987). However, the court may dismiss the complaint only if it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957).

 Even under the liberal notice pleading standard of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, however, a complaint must include either direct or inferential allegations respecting all material elements of the claims asserted. Perkins v. Silverstein, 939 F.2d 463, 466 (7th Cir. 1991); Strauss v. City of Chicago, 760 F.2d 765, 768 (7th Cir. 1985); Sutliff, Inc. v. Donovan Co., 727 F.2d 648, 654 (7th Cir. 1984). Bare legal conclusions attached to narrated facts will not suffice. Strauss, 760 F.2d at 768; Sutliff, 727 F.2d at 654. Finally, when reviewing pro se complaints, the court must employ standards less stringent than if the complaint had been drafted by counsel. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652, 92 S. Ct. 594 (1972); Donald, 95 F.3d at 555.

 B. Exhaustion of administrative remedies

 Defendants first argue that Evans' complaint is barred because Evans failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Section 1997e(a) provides:

 
No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.

 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). An action "with respect to prison conditions" is defined to include "any civil proceeding under Federal law with respect to ... the effects of actions by government officials on the lives of persons confined in prison." 18 U.S.C. § 3626(g)(2); Martin v. Eneix, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1227, 97 C 578, 1997 WL 55961, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 3, 1997).

 In his complaint, Evans alleges that he had used the prisoner grievance procedure to seek relief and that he had filed three grievances. Evans also alleges that in response to the third grievance, he received a new hearing pursuant to which his ticket was dismissed. It is true, as defendants note, that the complaint does not specifically state that Evans failed to exhaust the full grievance procedures available to him. However, construing the complaint's allegations in the light most favorable to Evans, the court finds that Evans has alleged sufficient facts to show that he used Stateville's grievance system and that he may be able to prove that he exhausted Stateville's grievance procedures. See Graves v. DeTella, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7780, 96 C 6540, 1997 WL 305308, at *3 (N.D. Ill. May 30, 1997).

 For the above reasons, it is inappropriate to grant defendants' motion to dismiss on the grounds that Evans failed to allege exhaustion sufficiently. However, for the reasons below, the court is dismissing Evans' complaint for failure to state a claim and giving Evans leave to amend. Therefore, the court orders that if Evans elects to file an amended complaint, Evans must specifically allege that he has fully and completely exhausted the administrative remedies available to him pursuant to section 1997e(a). If Evans fails to make this ...


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