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G. Harris v. Warden Lee Ryker

July 14, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Reagan U.S. District Judge



Plaintiff, an inmate currently in the Lawrence Correctional Center, was at some times relevant to this action housed 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 are subject to severance.


The following version of the facts of this case is gleaned from Plaintiff's second amended complaint (Doc. 15). While being housed in the Western Illinois Correctional Center in the Central District of Illinois, Plaintiff started a soy-diet revolution, encouraging inmates to file suits in order to get a soy-free diet after he had won such a case himself. Some time after, Plaintiff was transferred to Pinckneyville Correctional Center. Upon arrival, Plaintiff made Defendant Swartz aware that he needed a soy-free diet because of health issues he had that were worsened by eating soy. Swartz informed Plaintiff that "we don't do special diets here." Only after Plaintiff's attorney complained did Plaintiff receive his diet. However, anytime Defendant Allen worked, he denied Plaintiff the special diet tray. Plaintiff then filed a grievance on July 31, 2009, complaining about these denials as well as refusal of other guards to do their rounds at the prison, placing Plaintiff in peril.

After Plaintiff filed this grievance, Williams ordered Allen to write Plaintiff a false disciplinary ticket, claiming that Plaintiff had lied about seeing the prison counselor. Both Williams and Allen knew this claim was false, as they had themselves taken Plaintiff to the counselor not long before. Williams also allowed workers to steal Plaintiff's property, and when Plaintiff complained, Williams told Plaintiff that "this is what happens in segregation" and that Plaintiff should "learn to keep [his] mouth shut."

Plaintiff had a disciplinary hearing on this ticket, which was conducted by Defendants Klindworth and McBride. At the hearing, Klindworth and McBride denied Plaintiff's request to call his own witnesses, called only Allen, and refused to consider Plaintiff's documentation as evidence. Plaintiff was sent to an unspecified time in segregation.

On September 8, 2009, Plaintiff was released from segregation and was placed in housing unit 4. Once there, Defendant Bowerman performed a cell shakedown, confiscating Plaintiff's radio, even though he had permission to have a radio in his cell. The cell was tossed a second time that day, and again five days later, when more items were confiscated. These three shakedowns were performed at the insistence of Bowerman.

On October 20, 2009, Defendant Wadkins wrote Plaintiff a false disciplinary ticket, alleging that Plaintiff had been involved in trafficking and trading, and alleging that Plaintiff threw away his soy-diet tray because it contained a piece of soy-based cheese. Plaintiff had another hearing in front of Klindworth and McBride at which these Defendants once again denied Plaintiff a fair and impartial hearing.*fn1 Plaintiff was found guilty and his commissary privileges were revoked for 30 days.

On November 23, 2009, Plaintiff received a new cellmate. This individual was a schizophrenic, mentally-ill inmate who had a history of assaulting his cellmates. Plaintiff complained to Defendants Runyun and Wadkins, who refused to move the cellmate. Plaintiff then complained to Defendant Bradley, who said he would move the cellmate, but did not follow through with this promise. On December 5, 2009, Plaintiff was assaulted by the cellmate.

Plaintiff was transferred to Lawrence Correctional Center on December 8, 2009, by Defendant Swartz. This prison is considered a "punishment prison," and is run in that manner by Defendants Ryker, Hodges, Campennella, and Gaetz. Since arrival, Plaintiff has been discriminated against by prison officials and assaulted by his cellmate with no recourse. One specific incident occurred on December 30, 2009, when Defendant Hughes wrote Plaintiff yet another false disciplinary ticket. Thereafter, ...

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