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May 13, 2003


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blanche M. Manning, United States District Court Judge


The plaintiff, a state prisoner, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff claims that the defendants, employees of the Illinois Department of Corrections, have violated the plaintiffs constitutional rights by using excessive force against him, subjecting him to an invasive body cavity search, denying him due process, acting with deliberate indifference to his medical needs, and exposing him to cruel and unusual conditions of confinement.

This matter is before the court for preliminary review, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The court is required to dismiss a suit brought in forma pauperis at any time if the court determines that it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief See 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(2). Here, accepting the plaintiffs factual allegations as true, the court finds that the complaint sets forth certain colorable claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.


The plaintiff, Christopher Knox, is currently an inmate at the Sheridan Correctional Center. The plaintiff names thirty-one defendants, comprising officials and health care providers at the Stateville and Pontiac Correctional Centers as well as I.D.O.C. administrators.

The plaintiff alleges the following facts, which must be accepted as true for purposes of the court's threshold review:

Count 1

On February 20, 2001, officials at the Stateville Correctional Center conducted a prison-wide "shakedown" to search for a set of missing keys and handcuffs. The plaintiff repeatedly demanded that the defendant Wainscott provide a shakedown slip so that the plaintiff could demonstrate that his cell had already been searched in the event of another shakedown. Wainscott refused the plaintiffs requests even though prison regulations require the issuance of a shakedown slip.

Later, Wainscott told the plaintiff that an informant had implicated him in the disappearance of (he missing handcuffs and keys. When the plaintiff denied any knowledge, Wainseott became extremely hostile, taunting the plaintiff with racial epithets and threatening him with physical harm if he continued to refuse to cooperate.

Count 2

The next day, February 21, 2001, Wainscott announced another shakedown. As the defendants Wainscott and Price escorted the plaintiff to another area, the plaintiff complained that the officers were hurting his arms. The plaintiff pivoted a little to relieve his arms and wrists, whereupon Wainscott roughly pulled him back. Price punched the handcuffed plaintiff in his jaw; Wainscott then slapped the plaintiff on the same side of his face that Price had just struck.

The officers took the plaintiff to a bullpen, where they were joined by the defendants Foster and Griffin. The officers informed the plaintiff that they were going to strip-search him. When the plaintiff complained that he had already been searched, the officers tore his clothes off and forced him to bend over. The defendant Foster, who was wearing thick black "street gloves," forced two of his fingers into the plaintiffs rectum, causing physical injury.

The plaintiff asked to see a medical technician; in response, the defendant Griffin choked him until he lost bowel control and then consciousness. The plaintiff awoke to find himself alone in the bullpen, completely numb in his arms and covered in feces because the defendants had dragged him around the floor before leaving him there.

A Sergeant "Jane Doe" approached the plaintiff as he still lay on the floor. The plaintiff explained what had happened and told the officer he needed medical attention. The officer said, "Fuck you," and walked away.

The defendants Wainscott, Price, Griffin and Foster subsequently escorted the plaintiff to control segregation." The defendants ignored the plaintiffs renewed pleas for medical care. The plaintiff was left naked in a cell that lacked a mattress or bedding, had no running water, and had a broken window that allowed in cold winter air. The walls, bed, sink and toilet were covered in feces. The stench was so intense that the plaintiff vomited several times.

After an unspecified period of time, the same defendants escorted the plaintiff to the health care unit, where the defendants Briley and a "John Doe" officer were waiting. The defendant Cathings arrived shortly thereafter and interrogated the plaintiff about the missing keys. The plaintiff told the health care unit administrator, Miller, that he had been assaulted and needed medical treatment, but she disregarded him.

Because the plaintiff denied any knowledge about the keys' whereabouts, the defendants Foster, Wainscott and Doe "slammed" him onto an examination table so that x-rays could be taken. The defendants' forceful actions caused the plaintiff to experience sharp back pain. The defendants Briley and Foster maliciously stretched the plaintiffs arms and legs, which were restrained with shackles and a connecting black box, so as to maximize pain. The radiologist, another John Doe defendant, then took x-rays to see if the missing keys were inside the plaintiffs body.

The radiologist repeatedly voiced grave concerns about the danger of over-exposing the plaintiff to x-rays. The defendants nevertheless ordered him to take three sets of full-body x-rays of the naked plaintiff. As the plaintiff was finally given a jumpsuit and preparing to leave the health care unit, he once again asked for medical care. The defendant Miller told him to sign up for sick call. The defendant Lang, an emergency room nurse, likewise affirmed "yes" when the plaintiff asked whether she was denying him medical treatment.

The defendant correctional officers, now joined by the defendant Mote, led the plaintiff back to his cellhouse through the snow without a coat, shoes or socks. The plaintiffs feet, hands and ears went numb. The officers told the plaintiff, "You'll be all right," when he told them he was numb from the cold and still needed medical care.

The defendants allowed the plaintiff to shower, then placed him in the same, unsanitary cell where he had been placed earlier. The defendants ignored the plaintiffs complaints that the inhumane conditions were illegal and that he needed medical attention.

The plaintiff was subsequently summoned to the office of the defendant Thomas, a cellhouse superintendent. Thomas questioned the plaintiff about the missing security items and the plaintiff persisted in denying any knowledge as to the whereabouts of the items. Thomas threatened, "Listen, punk, tell me who has those items or I'm personally going to kick your ass!"

Thomas then slapped the plaintiff with sufficient force that the plaintiffs mouth bled. The defendant Price repeatedly slammed the plaintiffs forehead on the desk. Wainscott held the back of the plaintiffs handcuffs so that he could not resist. Thomas finally told the officers to remove the plaintiff from his office. The defendants disregarded the plaintiffs requests for medical care. Wainscott and Price left ...

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