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Gregory Turley v. Donald Hulick

February 11, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge



Introduction and Procedural Background

Plaintiff Turley, an inmate in the Menard Correctional Center, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in May 2008. On June 10, 2008, the undersigned Judge granted Turley's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (ifp). On August 14, 2008, however, the Court revoked Plaintiff's ifp status after determining that he already had "three strikes" under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). That determination was made using the method of assessing strikes which was employed at that time (counting dismissed claims as well as dismissed actions as strikes).

In the Order revoking Plaintiff's ifp status, the Court directed Plaintiff to pay the $350 filing fee within 15 days or face dismissal of his suit. Plaintiff did not do so. Instead, on September 2, 2008, Turley appealed the August 14, 2008 Order to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He prevailed on appeal.

In December 2010, the Seventh Circuit reversed this Court's ifp ruling and remanded the case, relying on a November 2010 opinion holding that strikes should be assessed only where the entire action is dismissed under § 1915A, instead of when a part of the action is dismissed. See Turley v. Gaetz, 625 F.3d 1005 (7th Cir. 2010). Because Plaintiff did not have three strikes, he was not precluded from bringing this lawsuit. The Seventh Circuit mandate was received and docketed on December 27, 2010.

Two weeks later, this Court granted Turley ifp status (see Order at Doc. 24). So this lawsuit comes now before this Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. That statute provides, in pertinent part:

(a) Screening.B 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.B On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaintB

(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.

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). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds that some of the claims in the complaint may be dismissed at this point in the litigation. Review begins with Turley's allegations.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

From June 2 to July 21, 2006, Menard Correctional Center was subject to a lockdown, and all inmates were confined to their cells for the 49-day period. Defendants Meek, Hulick, Ramos, and Conder instituted the lockdown after a fistfight broke out between inmates. A prison-wide shakedown occurred between June 3 and June 16 to search for contraband, although the lockdown continued even after the contraband search ceased. During this lockdown period, Plaintiff was allowed one shower a week, and visiting and yard privileges were suspended. As a result, Plaintiff's health began to decline. He suffered from pain in a severely arthritic left knee as well as severe constipation, which he attributes to inactivity.

In May 2000, Plaintiff's security classification was elevated to maximum security in retaliation for grievance filing. Plaintiff was listed as an escape risk and had several events of escape documented in his file. In February 2007, Defendant Spiller amended Plaintiff's file to state that he had not escaped from prison but that he had attempted to run from a courtroom. Plaintiff then filed a grievance challenging Defendant Spiller's publication of this false information in Plaintiff's file, requesting that his classification status be lowered back to medium security. The grievance was denied by Defendants Murray and Hulick, and it was denied on appeal by Defendant Fairchild.

On an unspecified date, Plaintiff requested a transfer to a level 2 medium security facility, which was denied by Defendants Kellerhouse, Spiller, Ohlau, Murray, Conder, Ramos, Hulick, Fairchild, and John Does. The change in security status, denial of grievances, and the denial of a transfer were in retaliation for filing grievances and lawsuits against the prison staff.

On March 20, 2007, Defendants Mitchell and G. Rednour conspired with Defendants Hulick, Ramos, Conder, Broshears, Cowan, and Fairchild to subject Plaintiff to a cell shakedown, to intimidate Plaintiff into ceasing the filing of grievances. Plaintiff was issued a disciplinary report after Defendants Mitchell and G. Rednour confiscated another inmate's grievance that Plaintiff intended to use as evidence in a pending lawsuit. At the disciplinary hearing held April 2007, Plaintiff was found guilty by Defendant Mitchell and sentenced to segregation, although Defendant Broshears was the officer originally in charge of the hearing. Defendant D. Rednour knew that Plaintiff's infraction was relatively minor, but still allowed him to be placed in segregation. Plaintiff also sent documentation of the hearing and asked Defendants R. Cowan and Hulick to investigate the actions of the other Defendants, but no investigation was conducted.

Plaintiff finally notes that the Defendants named herein who hold administrative positions were promoted by Defendant O'Donnell. Defendant O'Donnell was made aware that these Defendants were unqualified to hold their positions, and as a result of O'Donnell's ...

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