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King v. Illinois Dep't of Corrections

April 17, 2006

DERRICK E. KING, INMATE #N12641, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, MENARD CORRECTIONAL CENTER, E. MCADORIE, URINE TEST EXAM ) #AR203, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Foreman, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, an inmate in the Menard 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.

To facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(f) and 10(b), the Court finds it appropriate to break the claims in plaintiff's pro se complaint and other pleadings into numbered counts, as shown below. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

COUNT 1: Against unspecified defendants for excessive force during drug testing at Menard on May 11, 2004.

COUNT 2: Against unspecified defendants for violations of due process.

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 governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(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 it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is legally frivolous and thus subject to summary dismissal.

COUNT 1

Plaintiff states that on May 12, 2004, inmates in the Menard North Cellhouse Gallery 4 were escorted in handcuffs from their cells to a holdover cell in Gallery 1. The inmates were told they had to provide a urine sample for drug testing. Inmates were instructed to kneel on the floor with their noses touching the wall and to keep their backs straight. When an inmate was allowed to rise and leave the line to be tested, the other inmates were ordered to "close the empty space and gap in the line." Plaintiff states that each time this happened the other inmates had to crawl on their knees to close the space. Plaintiff states that he was required to kneel for approximately 35 minutes and that he was in great pain. Plaintiff states that being forced to kneel in this manner amounted to cruel and unusual punishment and constituted the improper use of excessive force.

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 ...


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