The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES FOREMAN, District Judge
Plaintiff, a former inmate in the Big Muddy River Correctional
Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff previously was
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and he has tendered
his initial partial filing fee as ordered.
This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of
the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
(a) Screening. The court shall review, before
docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as
practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil
action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a
(b) Grounds for Dismissal. On review, the court
shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks
an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319
, 325 (1989). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds that no
portion of the complaint may be dismissed at this point in the
Plaintiff states that on July 18, 2004, Defendant Goldberry
came to his cell to distribute ice to Plaintiff and his cellmate.
After he had filled Plaintiff's ice bowl, Goldberry asked him,
"do you want a shower?" to which Plaintiff replied, "yes."
Goldberry then threw the remaining ice and water in the scoop
into Plaintiff's face, laughed, and slammed shut the cell door.
Plaintiff filed a number of grievances about the incident, and on
July 23, 2004, he was interviewed by internal affairs. He was
placed in segregation during the investigation. Plaintiff was
also interviewed by a mental health professional, and after that
interview, Plaintiff states that all of his personal property was
confiscated and he was put on suicide watch in a "strip cell" for
four days. Plaintiff states that he was not suicidal and
speculates that he was put in segregation and on suicide watch to
keep him from informing his family and writing grievances about
the incident with Defendant Goldberry. After four days,
Plaintiff's property was returned to him, but he remained in
segregation. Plaintiff states that on August 3, 2004, Goldberry
admitted that he had assaulted Plaintiff without justification.
On August 4, 2004, Plaintiff was transferred to Dixon
The Court finds that Plaintiff's allegations state legal claims
of unconstitutional excessive force and unconstitutional denial
of due process.
The intentional use of excessive force by prison guards against
an inmate without penological justification constitutes cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment and is actionable
under Section 1983. Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 6-7
(1992); DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 619 (7th Cir.
2000). "[W]henever prison officials stand accused of using
excessive physical force in violation of the Cruel and Unusual
Punishments Clause, the core judicial inquiry is . . . whether
force was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore
discipline, or maliciously and sadistically to cause harm."
Hudson, 503 U.S. at 6-7. An inmate seeking damages for the use
of excessive force need not establish serious bodily injury to
make a claim, but not "every malevolent touch by a prison guard
gives rise to a federal cause of action. . . . [the] prohibition
of `cruel and unusual' punishment necessarily excludes from
constitutional recognition de minimis uses of physical force,
provided that the use of force is not of a sort `repugnant to the
conscience of mankind.'" Id. at 9-10; see also Outlaw v.
Newkirk, 259 F.3d 833, 837-38 (7th Cir. 2001). Based on these
standards, Plaintiff's claim cannot be dismissed at this point in
the litigation. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
In Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974), the Supreme Court
set out the minimal procedural protections that must be provided
to a prisoner in disciplinary proceedings in which the prisoner
loses good time, is confined to a disciplinary segregation, or
otherwise subjected to some comparable deprivation of a
constitutionally protected liberty interest. Id. at 556-572.
Wolff required that inmates facing disciplinary charges for
misconduct be accorded  24 hours' advance written notice of the
charges against them;  a right to call witnesses
and present documentary evidence in defense, unless
doing so would jeopardize institutional safety or
correctional goals;  the aid of a staff member or
inmate in presenting a defense, provided the inmate
is illiterate or the issues complex;  an impartial
tribunal; and  a written statement of reasons
relied on by the tribunal. 418 U.S. at 563-572.
Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 466 n. 3 (1983). The Supreme
Court has also held that due process requires that the findings
of the disciplinary tribunal must be supported by some evidence
in the record. Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455
(1985); McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir.
Ascertaining whether this standard is satisfied does
not require examination of the entire record,
independent assessment of the credibility of
witnesses, or weighing of the evidence. Instead, the
relevant question is whether there is any evidence in
the record that could support the conclusion reached
by the disciplinary board.
Hill, 459 U.S. at 455-56.
Plaintiff states that he received no process of any kind before
being placed in segregation and in a suicide watch "strip cell."
Based on the above-noted standards, Plaintiff's due process claim
cannot be dismissed at this point in the litigation. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. However, there is a problem with Plaintiff's
complaint in that he did not name specific defendants responsible