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Wilkins v. Illinois Dep't of Corrections

July 1, 2009

GERALD WILKINS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Gerald Wilkins is a currently an inmate at Tamms Correctional Center. 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). 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 legally frivolous and thus subject to summary dismissal.

THE COMPLAINT*fn1

On March 2, 2008 Wilkins was assaulted by Defendants Hunziker, Peterson, and Benefield during a cell extraction. Later, Wilkins was taken to the medical ward, where Defendants Meltonn and Han, who work as nurses, falsified his records and down played his injuries in an attempt to cover up the assault.

Wilkins field a grievance based on the assault, and was retaliated against on at least four separate occasions. First, on April 14, 2008, Defendants Peterson and Benefield performed a cell shakedown of Wilkins's cell, after which Wilkins noted that his property was in disarray, and some of his legal documents were missing. Second, on June 1, 2008, Peterson performed another cell shakedown, telling Wilkins that it was because he had filed a grievance against Defendant Hunziker. Third, on August 5, 2008, Peterson performed another cell shakedown, after which Wilkins noticed that one of his magazines had been destroyed, certified copies of his motions were missing, and a book had been torn in half. Fourth, in September of 2008, Peterson entered Wilkins's cell to return legal property, and in Wilkins's absence Peterson urinated on Wilkins's clothing and bedsheets. Wilkins was warned by Defendants Peterson, Hunziker, and Benefield to dismiss a pending suit against Tamms Correctional Center, or the treatment he had received would continue.

On May 2, 2008 Wilkins was assaulted in the prison law library by Defendants Hunziker, Mason, Hunsanker, and Dubois. The assault occurred after Defendant Williams allowed the other Defendants to enter the law library. The Defendants then wrote Wilkins a disciplinary ticket for beginning the assault, and after an administrative hearing by Defendant Mitchell, Wilkins was placed in segregation.

Wilkins made written requests of Defendants Barley, Lambert, Hartline, Walker, and Blagojevich to assist him in removal from segregation and punishment for the guards that had assaulted him, but these requests went unanswered. Wilkins also filed a grievance, but his inquiries to Defendants Moore and Houston about the status of that grievance were ignored. After receiving the grievances, Defendant Clark administered an internal investigation of those offending guards, but found that there was no wrong doing to warrant discipline.

Based on the allegations, the Court divides Plaintiff's pro se action into 17 counts.*fn2 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 Hunziker, Peterson, and Benefield for using excessive force on Plaintiff on March 2, 2008, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 2: Against DefendantWright for failing to protect Plaintiff from the use of excessive force on March 2, 2008, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 3: Against Defendants Hunziker, Peterson, and Benefield for retaliating against Plaintiff on April 14, 2008, June 1, 2008, August 5, 2008, and September 2008, in violation of Plaintiff's First Amendment rights.

COUNT 4: Against Defendants Hunziker, Peterson, and Benefield for damaging Plaintiff's personal property during the acts of retaliation described in Count 3 in violation of Plaintiff's right to Due Process of law.

COUNT 5: Against Defendants Hunziker, Mason, Hunsanker, and Dubois for using excessive force on Plaintiff on May 2, 2008, in violation of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights.

COUNT 6: Against Defendant Williams for failing to protect Plaintiff from the use of excessive force on May 2, 2008, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 7: Against Defendants Hunsiker, Mason, Hunsanker, Dubois, and Williams for denying Plaintiff Equal Protection of the law in connection with the May 2, 2008 assault.

COUNT 8: Against Defendants Mason, Hunziker, Hunsanker, and Dubois for conspiring to violate Plaintiff's Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by using a false disciplinary violation report to cover-up the May 2, 2008, attack.

COUNT 9: Against Defendants Barley and Lambert for failing to protect Plaintiff from the conspiracy alleged in Count 8 by "refusing to intervene" and "continuously assigning" Defendants Hunziker, Peterson, and Benefield around Plaitniff.

COUNT 10: Against Defendants Barley, Lambert, Hartline, Walker, and Blagojevich for conspiring to violate Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights by refusing to give Plaintiff a polygraph exam and by denying Plaintiff's request to examine the surveillance cameras and eyewitness statements in an effort to cover-up the March 2 and May 2, 2008, attacks.

COUNT 11: Against Defendants Barley, Lambert, Hartline, Walker, and Blagojevich for denying Plaintiff Equal Protection and Due Process of law by refusing to give Plaintiff a polygraph exam and denying Plaintiff's request to examine the surveillance cameras and eyewitness statements in an effort to cover-up the March 2, and May 2, 2008, attacks.

COUNT 12: Against Defendants Meltonn, Han, Hunzicker, Peterson, Benefield, and Wright for conspiring to falsify Plaintiff's medical records in an effort to cover-up the March 2, 2008, attack in violation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights.

COUNT 13: Against Defendants Moore and Houston for ignoring Plaintiff's request for status reports concerning Plaintiff's grievance (May 2 attack) in violation of Plaintiff's First Amendment rights.

COUNT 14: Against Defendants Moore and Houston for conspiring to prevent Plaintiff from exhausting his administrative grievances in violation ...


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