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Parker v. Walker

November 6, 2008

LEE HOLDEN PARKER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROGER E. WALKER, JR., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, a wheelchair bound inmate at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, § 1985(3), and § 1986; for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.; and for violations of various state laws. 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). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007).

THE COMPLAINT

Plaintiff alleges that on January 13, 2006, he was transferred from Menard Correctional Center (MCC) to Pinckneyville Correctional Center (PCC). Upon arrival at PCC, Plaintiff states that he asked Defendant Sellers for placement in the protective custody unit rather than placement in general population because of "enemy issues." In the complaint, Plaintiff explains that past actions he has taken while confined has caused certain inmates to desire to harm him. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that these past actions include: (1) saving a guard's life during a 1965 riot at MCC; and (2) his role as a witness providing information about an attempted murder, planned by inmates at PCC, of a Chicago homicide detective. Based on these past actions (and several others), Plaintiff contends that his enemies include inmates Paul DeLapaz, Daniel Wilkerson, Richard Nitz, and Paul Zozak. Plaintiff asserts, however, that his enemies go beyond these specific inmates to include all of the members of the gangs to which these inmates allegedly belong - including all members of "The Latin Kings" and the "Disciples."*fn1 Therefore, Plaintiff essentially contends that he cannot safely be housed in general population at PCC and that he needs to be housed in a protective custody unit.

Defendant Sellers allegedly informed Plaintiff that PCC did not have a protective custody unit. Plaintiff alleges that Sellers also informed him that "the only safe alternative was to check into segregation voluntarily." In light of these statements and believing that his life was in danger if he accepted placement in the general population, Plaintiff asserts that he refused assignment to general population at PCC. Instead, Plaintiff states that he chose the relative safety of confinement on disciplinary segregation. Accordingly, Plaintiff was issued a disciplinary ticket for disobeying an order (i.e., a cell assignment in general population). An Adjustment Committee comprised of Defendants Grace and McBride found Plaintiff guilty of the infraction and placed him in segregation for one month and demoted him to "C grade" for one month. The disciplinary action was reviewed and approved by Defendant Flagg.

Plaintiff filed a grievance concerning this disciplinary action, but the grievance was denied by Defendant Cleland. In his response to the grievance, Defendant Cleland wrote: "Lt. Bradley, Internal Affairs, verified that inmate Parker's enemy claims could not be substantiated." See Plaintiff's Exh. A, page 8.

Plaintiff filed an appeal from the denial of his grievance with the Administrative Review Board (ARB). On appeal, Defendant Benton, writing for the ARB, stated that it was "reasonably satisfied that [Plaintiff] committed the offense and recommends the grievance be denied." See Plaintiff's Exh. A, page 9 However, Defendant Benton also acknowledged that Plaintiff had "declared Offender DeLapaz as an enemy" and, therefore, the ARB directed that "Warden Bartley . . . ensure Offender Parker is kept separate from Offender DeLaPaz." Id. Defendant Walker concurred with the recommendations of the ARB. Id.

At the same time that Plaintiff was pursuing review of his disciplinary action, it appears that Plaintiff was also pursuing grievances concerning the lack of a protective custody unit at PCC. Plaintiff also wrote letters and filed grievances challenging the "credibility" of Defendant Bradley's finding that Plaintiff's enemies claims could not be verified. It appears that Plaintiff did not get replies to these inquiries and grievances. The lack of a response triggered further inquiries and grievances from Plaintiff concerning the lack of response. Plaintiff claims that the failure to respond to his grievances and correspondence was "a conspiratorial causal and proximate retaliation incidental to [his] using grievance and lawsuit filing . . . to thwart [his] jailhouse lawyer activity."

From these alleged facts, Plaintiff constructs Count 1 of his complaint which he titles "2-7-06 grievance denial." Counts 2 through 7 of the complaint bear similar titles. These counts also recite a fact pattern similar to that recounted above. Specifically, Plaintiff is ordered to general population; Plaintiff refuses to go to general population; Plaintiff is issued a disciplinary ticket for disobeying an order; Plaintiff is found guilty of the disciplinary ticket; Plaintiff is confined in disciplinary segregation;*fn2 and Plaintiff pursues grievances and appeals concerning these disciplinary actions and the lack of a protective custody unit at PCC; these grievances are denied and/or he does not ...


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