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Charles Donelson v. Jimmy Watson

April 18, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, U.S. District Judge:


Wednesday, 18 April, 2012 12:27:39 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD


Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and currently incarcerated in Pontiac Correctional Center, pursues claims arising from an incident which occurred at Western Illinois Correctional Center on July 11, 2011 and events subsequent thereto. The case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.


The Court is required by § 1915A to review a Complaint filed by a prisoner against a governmental entity or officer and, through such process, to identify cognizable claims, dismissing any claim that is "frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." A hearing is held if necessary to assist the Court in this review, but, in this case, the Court concludes that no hearing is necessary. The Complaint and its attachments are clear enough on their own for this Court to perform its merit review of Plaintiff's Complaint.

The review standard under § 1915A is the same as the notice pleading standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Zimmerman v. Tribble, 226 F.3d 568, 571 (7th Cir. 2000). To state a claim, the allegations must set forth a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Factual allegations must give enough detail to give "'fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" EEOC v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007), quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)(add'l citation omitted). The factual "allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level.'" Id., quoting Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged . . . . Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009), citing Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555-56. However, pro se pleadings are liberally construed when applying this standard. Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009).


Defendant Watson, a correctional officer at Western Illinois Correctional Center, allegedly repeatedly retaliated against Plaintiff for the grievances he had filed against Watson and also for a lawsuit Plaintiff was pursuing against Cindy Lynch. This retaliation included the denial of meals, extra searches, squeezing Plaintiff's testicles, and refusing to allow Plaintiff to make phone calls. The retaliation came to a head on July 11, 2011 when Watson denied ice for the inmates on Plaintiff's wing. Plaintiff tried to garner the attention of other officers to intervene and tried to phone his family members. These actions allegedly sparked further retaliation. Specifically, Defendants Watson, Paul, and Roberts cornered Plaintiff in the wing. Plaintiff tried to run and was met with blows from Watson, while Paul and Roberts either looked on or participated in Watson's assault of Plaintiff. Watson twisted Plaintiff's left foot until it "popped" and kicked and punched Plaintiff about his body and face. Defendant Lindsey was also allegedly involved in this excessive force.

After this incident, Plaintiff was taken to see Defendant Nurse Steele, who proclaimed him fit for transfer without offering him any medical care or documenting his injuries. He was limping and had abrasions on his arm and face. Defendants Hamilton, Burberry,*fn1 and Pool allegedly subjected Plaintiff to excessive force when they escorted him to segregation. This excessive force included kneeing Plaintiff in the stomach and groin, "head butting" him, and running him into doors. At some point the tactical response team came in, which included Defendants Adams and Wildrop. Plaintiff was strip searched and the black box restraints were tightly applied. Plaintiff was then slammed to the wall and held in position. Adams and Wildrop then secured Plaintiff in the van for transport to Pontiac Correctional Center. Wildrop and Adams had guns during the transport, and they threatened to shoot and kill Plaintiff if he caused any trouble. Adams pointed his barrel at the side of Plaintiff's head during the trip.

Officers at Western allegedly decided to cover up the excessive force by falsely claiming that Plaintiff had stabbed or attempted to stab Watson with a knife. Plaintiff lost one year of good conduct credits, along with other punishments, as the result of an allegedly false disciplinary ticket charging him with violent assault, among other charges.

When Plaintiff arrived at Pontiac Correctional Center, Defendant Nurse Davis allegedly also refused to give Plaintiff any medical treatment other than ...

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