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Starks v. Davidson

July 16, 2009

LARRY E. STARKS JR., ET AL., PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES J. DAVIDSON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiffs Larry E. Starks, James Brown, Kevin D. Drysdale, David Coleman, and Craig L. Spencer were, at the time of filing of the present suit, all inmates of the Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center.*fn1 This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides, in pertinent part:

(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).

FACTS ALLEGED

On May 13, 2008, Defendants Vitale, Parker, and Morrison conducted in a housing unit shakedown. This shakedown took place in housing unit one, where Plaintiffs were housed. During the shakedown, Plaintiffs were required to remove all articles of clothing and submit to a strip search, which was issued in the presence of a female officer.

After the search, the inmates of housing unit one were moved to the gymnasium. Once inside, they were forced to sit in a cramped "Indian-style" position for two and a half hours. Plaintiffs were told that they must sit on their crossed legs at all times, and could not let their hands touch the floor. After remaining in this position for two and a half hours, the inmates were told to stand, but no inmate could comply as each had suffered lack of blood circulation as a result of the way in which they were forced to remain sitting. Parker, Vitale, and Morrison informed the inmates that the shakedown was a result of the housing unit's failure to meet the prison's acceptable level of performance.

Plaintiffs and the other inmates were escorted back to the housing unit. Upon returning, they discovered that all their personal belongings, such as mattresses, clothing, and bedding, had been purposefully mixed in a large pile in the center of the floor space. Plaintiffs argue that the prison has acceptable forms of punishment to implement upon prisoners who have failed to perform, such as segregation and loss of privileges, and that the actions taken during the shakedown constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

DISCUSSION

Local Rule 3.1 of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois requires that "[a]ll petitioners and plaintiffs are under a continuing obligation to keep the Clerk of Court and each opposing party informed of any change in his or her location. This shall be done in writing and not later than seven (7) days after a transfer or other change in address occurs."Local Rule 3.1(b). On June 8, 2009, the Clerk attempted to send documents related to this case to Larry Starks, Kevin Drysdale, and David Coleman. These documents were sent on June 9, 2009, to Craig Spencer. In each case, the documents were returned to the Clerk as undeliverable, indicating that the addresses on file for Starks, Drysdale, Coleman, and Spencer are no longer current. As of July 1, 2009, more than seven days after the documents were mailed and returned, Starks, Drysdale, Coleman, and Spencer have not informed the Clerk of a change in address. Thus, pursuant to Local Rule 3.1(b), this case as brought by Starks, Drysdale, Coleman, and Spencer is DISMISSED.

Plaintiff James Brown informed the Clerk of his change of address on November 25, 2008. Because Brown has complied with the requirements of Local Rule ...


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