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Fasullo v. Burns

April 20, 2007

LOUIS FASULLO, INMATE #R30073, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SAMUEL BURNS AND RUDY MEMMEM, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, an inmate in the Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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 subject to summary dismissal for failure to state a claim.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff states that Defendant Samuel Burns, a Corrections Officer at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, intentionally placed Defendant Rudy Memmem, a Pinckneyville inmate, in Plaintiff's cell to cause Plaintiff and Defendant Memmem to fight. On September 20, 2005, after they had been celled together for an unspecified amount of time, a fight occurred. Plaintiff was written a disciplinary ticket for his participation in the fight. The Adjustment Committee held a hearing on the ticket and found Plaintiff guilty of the charge. Plaintiff was disciplined with one month in segregation and a one-month demotion to c-grade.

LEGAL STANDARDS

Federal Tort Claims Act

Plaintiff states that he is bringing this action under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"). Plaintiff cannot bring his claim pursuant to the FTCA. Individual citizens may bring actions under the FTCA for torts committed against them by employees of the federal government. Defendants here -- an Illinois Department of Corrections employee and an Illinois Department of Corrections inmate -- are not employees of the federal government. As such, Plaintiff cannot bring a claim against them under the FTCA.

Failure to Protect

A plaintiff may bring claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against prison officials for failing to protect him from violent acts of other prisoners. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 833 (1994); Luttrell v. Nickel, 129 F.3d 933, 935 (7th Cir. 1997). Not every harm caused by another inmate translates into constitutional liability for the corrections officers responsible for the prisoner's safety, however. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. In order for a plaintiff to succeed on a claim for failure to protect, he must show that he is incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm and that the defendants acted with "deliberate indifference" to that danger. Id.; Reed v. McBride, 178 F.3d 849, 852 (7th Cir. 1999). A plaintiff also must prove that prison officials were aware of a specific, impending, and substantial threat to his safety, often by showing that he complained to prison officials about a specific threat to his safety. Pope v. Shafer, ...


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