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Isaiah Gunartt v. Illinois Department of Corrections

May 9, 2011

ISAIAH GUNARTT,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, MICHAEL P. RANDLE, WARDEN GAETZ, AND J. COWAN, DEFENDANTS.



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

#B-70459,

Plaintiff Isaiah Gunartt, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on events that occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Menard Correctional Center. Plaintiff is serving a 45-year sentence for murder. 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, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Conversely, 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, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 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. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

Upon careful review of the complaint, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

The Complaint

Plaintiff suffers from multiple sclerosis and is confined to a wheelchair. He alleges that while he was housed in the segregation unit in Menard Correctional Center, on June 16, 2009, the toilet in his cell stopped working. When the plumber came to repair the toilet, he also tried to fix the leaky sink, which was dripping water onto the cell floor. Unfortunately, the plumber broke the sink, so Plaintiff then had no running water at all in the cell, other than the water in the toilet. The sink remained broken for 38 days, during which Plaintiff had no fresh drinking water, and had to resort to drinking his toilet water. He also had only the toilet water to brush his teeth and wash his face and body. Plaintiff had to continue to use the same toilet to defecate and urinate.

Because of Plaintiff's multiple sclerosis, he must drink water regularly to avoid dehydration and overheating, which can lead to complications of his medical condition. During the time he was without fresh water, Plaintiff experienced discomfort and overheating.

Plaintiff filed a grievance over the broken sink on July 17, 2009. Following the filing of Plaintiff's grievance, the sink was repaired. Plaintiff then sought to appeal the matter further. He asserts that the grievance officer (Defendant Cowan) failed to respond to his appeal of the grievance, ...


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