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Henderson v. Walker

November 12, 2008

JOHNNIE HENDERSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROGER WALKER, ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Judge

CASE MANAGEMENT AND MERIT REVIEW ORDER

This cause is before the court for consideration of the plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended complaint [d/e 15] and motion for leave to file documents under seal. [d/e 17].

I. BACKGROUND

On September 18, 2008, the court dismissed the plaintiff's original complaint. See September 18, 2008 Text Order. The court found that the plaintiff had failed to provide the defendants with proper notice of his intended claims. The plaintiff made only general allegations and named only one defendant in the body of his complaint. The court gave the plaintiff specific instructions to follow. The plaintiff was advised that he must state why he believed each defendant had violated his constitutional rights. In addition, the plaintiff had to state which correctional facility the incidents occurred at and roughly what time period was involved.September 18, 2008 Text Order. The plaintiff was also admonished that he "must follow the court's instructions or his case may be dismissed." September 18, 2008 Text Order.

The plaintiff has now filed an amended complaint and his motion for leave to file this document is granted. [d/e 15]

II. MERIT REVIEW

The court will conduct a merit review of the amended complaint. The court is required by 28 U.S.C. §1915A to "screen" the plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it "(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. §1915A.

The plaintiff, Johnnie Henderson, filed his amended complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 against five defendants including Illinois Department of Corrections (herein IDOC) Director Roger Walker, IDOC transfer coordinator Sandra Funk, Pontiac Correctional Center Warden Mathy, Pontiac Correctional Center's Gang Intelligence Unit and Stateville Correctional Center's Gang Intelligence Unit. The plaintiff's complaint concerns a long-standing conflict with another inmate and rival gangs.

The plaintiff says while he was at Menard Correctional Center in 2003, an inmate (herein Inmate S) spread rumors that he had a sexual relationship with the plaintiff. This caused problems between the gang Inmate S was affiliated with and the gang the plaintiff was affiliated with. The plaintiff claims he received pressure to take action against Inmate S. Instead, he chose to go into protective custody and was transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center in 2004.

The plaintiff claims the problems started all over again at Pontiac. The Gang Intelligence Unit began investigating the problem after a threatening letter was confiscated. The plaintiff says as a result, the Gang Intelligence Unit told gang members that the plaintiff had signed a statement against another inmate causing the inmate to be transferred to Tamms Correctional Center. The plaintiff says this rumor endangered his life within the prison. He complained about the situation, but no action was taken.

In 2006, the plaintiff says he wrote to IDOC Director Roger Walker and asked to be transferred to a different prison. The plaintiff says Walker simply sent a letter to the Pontiac Correctional Center Warden asking them to investigate.

In September or October of 2006, the plaintiff says he was kicked out of protective custody and transferred to Stateville Correctional Center. The plaintiff says gang members arranged for him to be placed in the same cell with Inmate S. The plaintiff claims Stateville's Gang Intelligence Unit "began to threaten to kick me out of protective custody at Stateville if I didn't get (Inmate S)." (Amended Comp., p. 4).

The plaintiff says he filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois, but was soon transferred back to Pontiac Correctional Center. The plaintiff says he was told he would be placed in a single cell in protective custody, so he asked to dismiss his lawsuit and the court complied. The plaintiff says when he arrived at Pontiac, he instead was sent to segregation and received a disciplinary ticket for a letter he wrote to his uncle.

The plaintiff has attached a copy of the disciplinary report. In his letter, the plaintiff is debating whether he should try to kill Inmate S. (Amended Comp., Ex B). The plaintiff stated in his letter that "one of us is going to die" and "I have to decide what is best for me. Do I want to go home or do I want to say here the rest of my life." (Amended Comp., Ex. B)

The plaintiff says when he was at Pontiac Correctional Center, he contacted Defendant Sandra Funk and told her about the "problem." (Amended Comp, p. 5) It's not entirely clear from the complaint what "problem" the plaintiff is referring to. The plaintiff says Funk was deliberately ...


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