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Worthem v. Walker

June 1, 2009

JAMES M. WORTHEM, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROGER E. WALKER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff James Worthem, currently an inmate in the Pontiac 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 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). A complaint is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. ___, 2009 WL 1361536, *13 (May 18, 2009). 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 subject to summary dismissal.

FACTS ALLEGED

When Worthem arrived at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center on June 22, 2007, he was confronted by several inmates in the chow hall, including Inmate Padilla. They told Worthem that they were aware that he was cooperating with the FBI on the streets with regard to gang activity, and that he would be seriously injured if he went into general population. Worthem wrote a letter to Defendant Ramaker, who came to his cell with another officer, and Worthem explained the situation in detail. Ramaker made some calls, told Worthem that Internal Affairs would be in the next day, and advised Worthem to return to his cell in the Receiving unit. In Receiving, Inmate Jones told him about two gang members in Cook County Jail awaiting trial in federal court, and that there was a contract out for the guy responsible; Worthem alleges that he, himself, is that guy, but that Jones did not know this.

The next day, Worthem spoke with Defendant MacDonald and another investigator about the situation. MacDonald agreed to investigate the matter, but he did not get back to Worthem for three weeks. In the interim, Worthem was assigned to general population, where he began to encounter gang affiliates of the two detainees in Cook County. Inmates Padilla and Mercado told Worthem that he was in danger, because they knew he was an informant. Worthem reported his incident to Defendant Bradley, who said he would speak with MacDonald.

On July 14, 2007, Worthem was moved to the segregation unit in preparation for a transfer to administrative segregation for his protection. The next day, Defendants Johnson, MacDonald and Bradley told Worthem he was being transferred to a safer place; within an hour, he was on a transport van to Lawrenceville. On July 16, at Lawrenceville, he spoke with Defendant Dallas. Dallas told him he would remain in segregation at that facility until Internal Affairs completed their investigation at Pinckneyville.

On July 25, Worthem was placed on a transport van for a court writ; apparently he changed buses at Logan to go to Pontiac. While waiting for the bus at Logan, other inmates arrived. Worthem was then "viciously attacked" by several inmates, who beat him with their handcuffs. He was then dragged to and onto the bus, where he was placed in a one-man holding cage.*fn1 Worthem felt light-headed and sensed wetness on his face and neck. He asked Defendant Carson for a towel or napkin, and also told Carson he needed medical attention; Carson did not honor his requests. Twenty minutes later an officer took him off the bus. Outside the bus, he discovered that Mercado and Padilla, two of the inmates who had threatened him at Pinckneyville, were among the group who had assaulted him. Apparently they were also being transferred to Pontiac, on the same day, on the same bus. Worthem was first taken to the medical unit. Although he needed stitches, he insisted first on going to Internal Affairs, where he spoke with Defendant Shadoan. Afterwards, he returned to the medical unit for treatment, and then he was taken to Pontiac.

On July 26, at Pontiac, he once again encountered Padilla as each was being escorted by an officer. Worthem advised his escort of the threat against him by Padilla. On August 2, Defendant Yorkavich spoke with Worthem about the situation. Yorkavich warned Worthem that he might receive a disciplinary ticket for the incident at Logan, but then assured him that he would not receive a ticket. However, when he returned from court on August 3, and officer presented him with a ticket written on July 26 by Defendants Wright, Johnson, Lake and Thomas, charging him with creating a dangerous disturbance. No further information is provided regarding this ticket.

Worthem returned to Lawrenceville on August 8, 2007. After a few days, Dallas told him that he was being released to general population. Dallas advised him that Inmate "Prince" from the Satan Disciples was also at that prison, but that he would not cause problems for Worthem. Worthem protested his release to general population ...


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