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James Fontano v. S.A. Godinez

June 27, 2012


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


Wednesday, 27 June, 2012 04:40:26 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD


Plaintiff, a former inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections, pursues claims arising from alleged assaults by his former cellmate and alleged retaliation against Plaintiff for reporting the assaults. All Defendants have been served and have appeared through counsel. Accordingly, the status conference set for July 2, 2012 will be cancelled in lieu of this order, which rules on Defendants' motions to dismiss and sets scheduling deadlines.

Motion to Dismiss Standard

Federal notice pleading requires 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.


The Court recounts only those allegations necessary to resolve the pending motions to dismiss.

In or around April, 2011, Plaintiff began serving a one-year sentence for parole violations. He was housed at the Pittsfield Work Camp at Jacksonville Correctional Center, a minimum security prison where he understood he would be spending his entire sentence. However, the next month he was transferred to Logan Correctional Center, a medium security prison, due to an alleged minor disciplinary charge.

At Logan Correctional Center, Plaintiff was placed in a wing "reserved for gang-affiliated inmates with disciplinary problems, and known to be the most dangerous area in the entire prison." (Complaint, d/e 1, ¶ 25). Plaintiff's young age, Caucasian race, slight size, lack of gang affiliation, relative lack of criminal history, and inexperience with the prison setting allegedly made him a prime target for assault by other inmates. Despite Plaintiff's obvious and known vulnerability, he was assigned to a cell with "an imposing 185-pound violent offender and known Gangster Disciple affiliate, who was serving a twenty-year sentence for armed and aggravated battery and had a history of instituting fights within the prison." (Complaint, d/e 1, ¶ 25).

On or about August 3 and 4, 2011, Plaintiff's cellmate beat and raped Plaintiff multiple times. The cellmate attempted to rape Plaintiff again on August 5, 2011, but Plaintiff was able to run away and report the assaults to officers. (Complaint, d/e 1, ¶ 28).

Plaintiff's report of the assaults allegedly set off a concerted effort by Defendants to retaliate against Plaintiff and to conceal the assaults. The alleged retaliation and cover-up included intimidating Plaintiff into recanting, accusing and punishing Plaintiff for purportedly lying about the assault, refusing to allow Plaintiff to take a polygraph, and relying on false and unreliable polygraph results.

Defendant Dr. Obaisi conducted a medical examination on Plaintiff in response to Plaintiff's report of the assaults. Dr. Obaisi allegedly: performed a faulty medical examination and rape kit on Plaintiff. Despite the fact that Plaintiff had been anally raped several times in the previous three days, attacks that left seminal fluid in Plaintiff's rectum, Obaisi reported to prison authorities that he could find "no trauma" or other physical evidence on Plaintiff's body to suggest rape. Obaisi also placed sterile test kit swabs directly on the unsterile countertop, told inappropriate jokes throughout the examination, and accused Plaintiff of lying about being assaulted. By failing to provide Plaintiff with proper medical treatment and submitting a false report to prison authorities, Obaisi facilitated, approved, and promoted the Defendants' scheme to retaliate against Plaintiff and deprive him of his constitutional rights. (Complaint, d/e 1, ¶ 31).

Plaintiff filed this case in February, 2012, pursuing six claims. The first four claims are federal claims under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983: failure to protect; retaliation for the exercise of First Amendment rights; civil conspiracy; and, failure to intervene. The other two claims are state law claims: ...

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