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Wheeler v. Merchant

September 21, 2009

ANTHONY WHEELER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAY MERCHANT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Anthony Wheeler, an inmate of the Pinckneyville Correctional Center, bring 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 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, 590 U.S. 544, 570 (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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, No. 08-4286, 2009 WL 2535731, at *5 (7th Cir. Aug. 20, 2009).

Additionally, Courts "should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements." Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Service, No. 06-4260, 2009 WL 2498580, at *2 (7th Cir. Aug. 18, 2009).

THE COMPLAINT*fn1

On June 10, 2008, Wheeler was called out of line by Correctional Officer and Defendant Gregory A. James while walking to the law library at approximately 4:30 PM. Subsequently, Wheeler was issued a ticket for a Major Disciplinary Infraction under D.R. 504 Rule # 307, "Unauthorized Movement" and was taken to the Administrative Segregation Unit and put into Cell S-01-23. Wheeler complained about the heat conditions in his cell, though his grievances were never addressed. Wheeler alleges that the only responses he received were from correctional center staff members advising him to desist from filing further grievances.

On June 19, 2008, Wheeler asserts that Defendant Lieutenant Jason C. Bradley conducted a search of the Plaintiff's cell, deliberately scattering much of Wheeler's legal materials onto the floor, confiscating a substantial portion. Following the search, Wheeler was issued a ticket for a Major Disciplinary Infraction once again, this time by Lt. Bradley in violation of D.R. Rule #211 and #308, "Possession of Unauthorized Personal Information and Contraband or Unauthorized Property." On June 18, 2008, Wheeler was found guilty of the those infractions as well as the prior "Unauthorized Movement" violation by the Adjustment Committee and was forced to remain in the heated cell for 14 more days.

Following his stay in segregation, Wheeler was transferred to Unit 5 for punitive segregation. Wheeler contends that the cell he was transferred into, Cell R5-C-69, was "plagued with dirt, debris, and heavy roach, spiders, ants, and flying bug infestations." Additionally, Wheeler alleges the mattress was torn and the walls, sink, and toilet were encrusted with feces, urine, and saliva from a previous inmate. Grievances were filed regarding the poor conditions, yet Wheeler was never provided with the cleaning equipment he requested. He repeatedly asked for ...


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