United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
December 21, 2005.
PRINCE MONEY BROWN, Plaintiff,
GUY PIERCE AND JOSEPH DECHENE, et.al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: HAROLD BAKER, District Judge
This cause is before the court for merit review of the
plaintiff's complaint. The court is required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
to "screen" the plaintiff's complaint, and through such process
to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the
entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it
"(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
The plaintiff, Prince Money Brown, has filed his lawsuit
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against two defendants at the
Pontiac Correctional Center: Warden Guy Pierce and Correctional
Officer Joseph Dechene. The pro se plaintiff does not state
whether he intends to sue the defendants in their individual or
official capacities. However, the court notes that the
plaintiff's complaint states claims against the two defendants in
their individual capacities only. See Will v. Michigan Dept.
of State Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989) (suits against state
officers in their "official capacity" are suits against the state
and thus cannot be brought under Section 1983.)
The plaintiff says that on August 18, 2004, Officer Dechene
wrote a false disciplinary ticket against him. The plaintiff was
found guilty of the offense and the Adjustment Committee
recommended a month in segregation. The plaintiff appealed the
decision, and the Administrative Review Board (herein A.R.B.)
expunged the disciplinary report based on "insufficient
information to substantiate charges." (Comp, Ex. B)
Unfortunately, the plaintiff had already served his time in
The plaintiff says during the time he was in the segregation
unit, he slept on a filthy mattress what caused him to break out
in a rash. The plaintiff also says when the A.R.B. expunged the
report, it stated that he was to be released from segregation.
However, he remained in the segregation unit for another month.
The plaintiff is asking for damages for the time he spent in
segregation. The plaintiff does not specify a specific
constitutional claim under § 1983. The court finds that the plaintiff has no due process claim
based on the allegation that Defendant Dechene wrote a false
disciplinary ticket against the plaintiff because there is no
claim the defendants did not follow the required procedural steps
and the ticket was ultimately expunged. "There is no denial of
due process if the error the inmate complaints of is corrected in
the administrative appeal process. The administrative appeal
process is part of the due process afforded prisoners."
Morissette v. Peters, 45 F.3d 1119, 1122 (7th Cir. 1994).
The fact that the plaintiff had already served time in
segregation and spent additional time in segregation does not in
itself state a violation of the plaintiff's constitutional
rights. See Rose v. Garbs, 1999 WL 299892 at 2 (N.D.Ill.
1999); Williams v. Ramos, 71 F.3d 1246, 1248 (7th Cir.
1995); Leslie v. Doyle, 868 F. Supp. 1039, 1042 (N.D. Ill.
However, in this case, the plaintiff has alleged that the
segregation cell itself had a filthy mattress which caused him to
break out in a rash. The court finds the plaintiff has stated a
violation of his Eighth Amendment rights based on the cell
conditions. For this claim to survive, the plaintiff will have to
demonstrate that the alleged deprivation was "sufficiently
serious." Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 297 (1991). Only
conditions involving the denial of the "minimal civilized measure
of life's necessities" rise to the level of a constitutional
violation. Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). In
addition, the plaintiff must show that the defendants acted with
deliberate indifference. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 828
(1994). "[A] finding of deliberate indifference requires evidence
that the official was aware of the risk and consciously
disregarded it nonetheless." Mathis v. Fairman, 120 F.3d 88, 91
(7th Cir. 1997) (citing Farmer at 840-42).
The plaintiff is also reminded that he must name defendants
that knew about the conditions of his segregation cell, but took
no action "(A) defendant's direct personal responsibility for the
claimed deprivation of a constitutional right must be established
in order for liability to arise under 42 U.S.C. § 1983." Duncan
v. Duckworth, 644 F.2d 653, 655 (7th Cir. 1981). In addition,
the doctrine of respondeat superior (supervisor liability) does
not apply. Pacelli v. DeVito, 972 F.2d 871, 877 (7th Cir.
1992). "(A) supervising prison official cannot incur § 1983
liability unless that officer is shown to be personally
responsible for a deprivation of a constitutional right." Vance
v. Peters, 97 F.3d 987, 992 (7th Cir. 1996).
If the plaintiff seeks to add any defendants, he must file a
motion asking to add the defendants. He must specify each
defendant and that defendants involvement in the surviving claim.
Lastly, he must provide a copy of the complaint and U.S. Marshals
service forms for each new defendant. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
1) The plaintiff has stated, for notice pleading
purposes, a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights
based on the conditions of his cell while he was in
the segregation unit. This claim is against the
defendants in their individual capacities only.
2) The plaintiff has not stated a violation of his
constitutional rights based on the alleged false
disciplinary ticket and disciplinary hearing. Those
claims are dismissed.
3) A copy of this order shall be served upon the
defendants with a copy of the complaint. The
defendants shall file a response to the surviving
allegation identified in this order.
4) This case is referred to the Magistrate Judge for
consideration of the pending motion to proceed in
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