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Bascomb v. Townley

July 17, 2009

NATHANIEL BASCOMB, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JACK TOWNLEY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David R Herndon District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

HERNDON, District Judge

Plaintiff, formerly an inmate at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, now an inmate at Menard Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 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).

THE COMPLAINT

Plaintiff alleges that it is a custom of the Pinckneyville Correction Center employees to discriminate against African American and Latin American inmates in favor of white inmates. According to Plaintiff this discrimination includes denying African American and Latin American inmates job assignments, denying them access to prison programs, and subjecting them to a harsher disciplinary system. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Bartley, warden at Pinckneyville, allows and approves of the racial discrimination practiced by his subordinates. As part of this practice, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Townley gave him a food tray that was tampered with in an unstated way. When Plaintiff refused the tray, Defendant Townley slammed the chuck hole door on Plaintiff's arm injuring his hand, biceps, and elbow. Afterwards, Defendant Townley moved Plaintiff to a different cell in order to prevent Plaintiff's injuries from being discovered and to deny Plaintiff adequate medical care for them.

Defendant Townley also issued Plaintiff a conduct violation for assaulting a staff member and for intimidation or threats. Plaintiff claims that the violation is "fraudulent." Plaintiff claims that the two staff members who presided over his disciplinary hearing, Defendants Jordan and McBride, were prejudiced and biased against him and denied him various procedural protections (e.g., denying his request to present witnesses). Plaintiff was found guilty of the conduct violation and received as punishment the following sanctions: 6 months demotion to C-grade; 6 months confinement in segregation; loss of 6 months good conduct credit; and 6 months restrictions on contact visits.

Based on the allegations of the complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide Plaintiff's pro se action into five counts. 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 Defendant Townley for using excessive force against Plaintiff in violation of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights.

COUNT 2: Against Defendant Townley for failing to provide Plaintiff with adequate medical care for his arm injuries in ...


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