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Cleother Tidwell v. Pinckneyville Correctional Center

May 31, 2011

CLEOTHER TIDWELL,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
PINCKNEYVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert United States District Judge

#N-41754,

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

GILBERT, District Judge:

Plaintiff, an inmate in the Stateville Correctional Center, was at all times relevant to this action held in the Pinckneyville Correctional Center. Plaintiff brings 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, 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, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). 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.

Facts:

The following version of the facts of this case is gleaned from Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 1). While being held in administrative segregation, Plaintiff received threats from an inmate who was tasked with delivering food trays to other inmates. This inmate threatened to place his genitals on Plaintiff's food tray. As a result, Plaintiff informed Defendant Johnson that he did not want this inmate delivering his food. Defendant Johnson ignored this request and walked away. The inmate then came to Plaintiff's cell to deliver the food, and Plaintiff threw a juice container at him. Correctional Officers then came to Plaintiff's cell and removed his cellmate. Defendants Hicks, Harbison, and Johnson then returned to Plaintiff's cell, and motioned to the threatening inmate to enter. Plaintiff attempted to exit the cell, but Defendants grabbed him and held him while the threatening inmate beat Plaintiff. Plaintiff was then taken to the hospital, where he was treated for his wounds.

Discussion:

Plaintiff alleges that the actions of Defendants Hicks, Harbison, and Johnson amounted to a failure to protect him from the assault by the threatening inmate. In Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994), the Supreme Court held that "prison officials have a duty ... to protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other prisoners." Id. at 833 (internal citations omitted); see also Pinkston v. Madry, 440 F.3d 879, 889 (7th Cir. 2006). Further, the intentional use of excessive force by prison guards against an inmate without penological justification constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment and is actionable under § 1983. See Wilkins v. Gaddy, 130 S.Ct. 1175 (2010); DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 619 (7th Cir. 2000). An inmate must show that an assault occurred, and that ...


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