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Mark Gaines, #B-37198 v. Randall Bayler

August 9, 2011


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


Plaintiff Mark Gaines, a former inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed his complaint while he was incarcerated in Menard Correctional Center. His claims are based on an incident that occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Lawrence Correctional Center. Plaintiff is now serving a three-year term of mandatory supervised release. He was sentenced to concurrent terms of thirty-six years for murder, and four years for armed robbery. 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 and supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

The Complaint

Plaintiff was transferred to the Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence") in June or July 2009. He had previously been incarcerated at Lawrence during January and February 2002, and had some confrontations with correctional officers during that period. Plaintiff gives no further details as to the nature of these prior incidents. Plaintiff wrote to Defendant Ryker, the warden of Lawrence, upon his transfer, expressing concern that he might be subject to harassment or harm at the hands of Lawrence staff in retaliation for these past incidents. Plaintiff also personally spoke about these concerns with Defendant Ryker three times beginning in late July, with the third contact being on August 18, 2009. However, Defendant Ryker took no remedial action.

On August 19, 2009, Defendant Bayler moved Plaintiff from his segregation cell in C-wing to another cell in the A-wing. Plaintiff's hands were cuffed behind his back. During the walk through the prison, Defendant Bayler repeatedly poked Plaintiff in the back with his fist while verbally abusing Plaintiff. Defendant Bayler then added a D-ring cuff to the first set of handcuffs, and proceeded to poke Plaintiff in the back with a metal rod that was attached to the D-ring cuff, until they arrived at Plaintiff's new cell. Plaintiff believes that Defendant Bayler acted in this manner because of Plaintiff's complaints and incidents involving Bayler and other staff during his previous stay in Lawrence.

After Plaintiff entered the cell, Defendant Bayler kept hold of the D-ring cuff and transferred it so that it extended outward through the cell's chuckhole, while Plaintiff stood inside the cell. Instead of removing the handcuffs, Defendant Bayler yanked on his end of the D-ring cuffs, pulling on Plaintiff's wrists and arms. Plaintiff pleaded for Defendant Bayler to ...

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