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Towns v. Ramos

March 22, 2007

SHERRELL C. TOWNS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANTHONY RAMOS, LT. HOLTON, DANNY BEDINGER, STEPHEN BAKER, M. EUBANKS, C/O DAGNER, JERRY WITTHOFT, CHRISTOPHER CASTEN, DEBI MIDDENDORF, AND UNKNOWN PARTY MEDICAL TECHNICIANS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Murphy, Chief 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. In his complaint, Plaintiff presents a litany of factual allegations. He then sets forth four "legal claims" against all defendants, invoking the federal constitution, the Illinois state constitution, Illinois state law, and rules of the Illinois Department of Corrections. The Court finds that Plaintiff's organization of his claims is not the most efficient way to address them, particularly because the factual allegations can be separated into seven separate claims, each against just a few of the named defendants.

Accordingly, 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 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 Defendants Eubanks, Baker, and Holton for use of excessive force, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 2: Against Defendants Ramos, Bedinger, Jane Doe, and John Doe for denial of medical treatment, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 3: Against Defendants Baker, Bedinger, Dagner, Witthoft, and Casten for use of excessive force, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 4: Against Defendants Dagner, Witthoft, and Casten for denial of medical treatment, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 5: Against Defendant Middendorf for failing to respond to his grievance regarding access to his medical records.

COUNT 6: Against Defendants Baker, Eubanks, and Holton for retaliation.

COUNT 7: Against Defendant Middendorf for failing to respond to his grievance over the disciplinary report.

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; portions of this action are legally frivolous and thus subject to summary dismissal.

COUNT 1

Plaintiff alleges that on June 1, 2003, he was assaulted without provocation by Defendants Baker and Eubanks. He also alleges that Defendant Holton supervised this incident, but he did not intervene. Finally, Plaintiff states that when Baker escorted him to the medical unit, Baker shoved him into a wall several times.

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). Furthermore, "one who is given the badge of authority . may not ignore the duty imposed by his office and fail to stop other officers who summarily punish a third person in his presence or otherwise within his knowledge." Byrd v. Brishke, 466 F.2d 6, 11 (7th Cir. 1972); see also Lanigan v. Village of East Hazel Crest, 110 F.3d 467, 477 (7th Cir. 1997); Yang v. Hardin, 37 F.3d 282, 285 (7th Cir. 1994) (collected cases); Archie v. City of Racine, 826 F.2d 480, 491 (7th Cir. 1987).

Applying these standards to the allegations in the complaint, the Court is unable to dismiss any portion of Count 1 ...


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