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Rivera v. Walker

March 30, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras, Chief District Judge


This matter comes before the court on Defendants', Roger E. Walker, Jr. ("Walker"), Diedre Battaglia ("Battaglia"), Cheri Tarr ("Tarr"), L. Garcia ("Garcia"), Charles Gobble ("Gobble"), James Dominguez ("Dominguez"), Latanya Hunter ("Hunter"), Rennatta Glenn ("Glenn"), and Sandra Hawkins ("Hawkins") (collectively referred to as "Defendants"), Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is granted in part and denied in part.


Plaintiff, Miguel Rivera ("Rivera"), is currently a prisoner at Pontiac Correctional Center ("Pontiac") and filed a pro se lawsuit against several employees of the Illinois Department of Corrections pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. We assume the truth of the following facts for the purposes of this Motion only.

Prior to his present incarceration, Rivera was an inmate at Statesville Correctional Center ("Statesville"). On June 28, 2005, Jeff Musgrove ("Musgrove"), another inmate at Statesville, informed Rivera that he was being transferred to Pontiac, where he had previously been incarcerated, and that inmates there were going to hurt him on Musgrove's behalf. Rivera became upset because he feared for his safety and had repeatedly told prison officials gang members at Pontiac wanted to hurt him.

Shortly thereafter, Sergeant Garcia came to Rivera's cell. Rivera notified Garcia of his concerns and that he did not want to be transferred back to Pontiac. Rivera requested to speak to Assistant Warden Dominguez and Internal Affairs Officer Tarr, both of whom Rivera alleges previously informed him, on or about April 11, 2005, that he would not be sent back to Pontiac because gang members there had threatened his safety. Garcia did not call Dominguez and Tarr.

Rivera then cut his wrists "deep and hard." Garcia did not get medical assistance for Rivera despite Rivera's bleeding. Rather, Garcia stated, "Now you know better [next] time who to [file] you[r] grievance on." Consequently, sometime prior to 10:45 a.m., while still bleeding, Rivera called his attorney, Harold Winston ("Winston"), in the Cook County Public Defender's Office. During that conversation, Winston asked to speak with Garcia, but Garcia refused.

At approximately 10:45 a.m., Winston called and spoke to Dominguez's Executive Secretary, Dawn Wilt ("Wilt"), and told her that Rivera was bleeding and had been refused medical care. In addition, Winston informed Wilt that Andrea Monsees, another of Rivera's attorneys, had previously written Warden Battaglia about Rivera's enemies at other prisons. After Rivera spoke with Winston, Garcia took Rivera to the medical care unit to receive treatment for the cuts on his wrists.

While at the medical care unit, Rivera contends that Hunter witnessed Garcia come to the unit to harass Rivera, yet did nothing about it. On July 5, 2005, Rivera filed grievances against Garcia and Hunter and to contest his transfer to Pontiac with Hawkins, the grievance officer at Statesville. Rivera asserts those grievances were wrongfully dismissed.

On October 31, 2005, Rivera filed the instant action alleging violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants subsequently filed the present Motion to Dismiss on January 30, 2006, and the court set a briefing schedule requiring Rivera to respond to the Motion by March 2, 2006. On March 9, 2006, Rivera requested leave of court to file an Amended Complaint and requested an extension of time in addition to submitting an In Forma Pauperis Application and Motion for Appointment of Counsel.


"The purpose of a motion to dismiss is to test the sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the merits." Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990) (quoting Triad Assocs., Inc. v. Chicago Hous. Auth., 892 F.2d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 1989)). A complaint need only specify "the bare minimum facts necessary to put the defendant on notice of the claim so that he can file an answer." Higgs v. Carver, 286 F.3d 437, 439 (7th Cir. 2002) (citing Beanstalk Group, Inc. v. AM Gen. Corp., 283 F.3d 856, 863 (7th Cir. 2002)). "A pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers and can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Id. (quotations omitted) (citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972) (per curiam)). With these principles in mind, we now address the Motion before us.


As an initial matter, it is important to note at the outset that Rivera failed to meet the deadline for replying to said Motion, and in lieu thereof, has filed a Motion to File an Amended Complaint and Motion for Extension of Time. After reviewing Rivera's documents, it is evident that they make no substantial changes to his claims and that they only add Hunter and Hawkins as defendants. Because Rivera has only asserted limited involvement on the part of Hunter and Hawkins, ...

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