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Maurice Antonio Woods, Inmate # M14902 v. Shane A. Walters

July 10, 2012


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


Plaintiff Maurice Antonio Woods, an inmate in the Pontiac Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on an incident that occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"). Plaintiff is serving a four-year sentence for aggravated 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), 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).

The Complaint

Liberally construed, the complaint alleges the following. On April 18, 2011, Defendants Walters (Lieutenant), Billington (C/O), and Schnepper (C/O) walked Plaintiff "butt naked" across the gallery at Lawrence. Defendant Walters yanked Plaintiff's arms through the chuck hole and told Defendants Billington and Schnepper to stand blocking the two cells across from Plaintiff's. Defendant Walters proceeded to remove Plaintiff's handcuffs, and told him, "You reap what you sow, Woods" (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff responded, "Fuck you pussy ass bitch" (Doc. 1, p. 5). Defendant Walters then yanked Plaintiff's arm up and pulled it across the top of the "chuck hole" (the open slot in the cell door used to pass food to inmates). When Defendant Walters saw all the blood, Defendants Billington and Schnepper pushed his arms back into the chuck hole. Plaintiff claims that all of this occurred because Defendant Walters was mad that Plaintiff continued to ask for a social worker while he was on suicide watch. The April 18, 2011, assault occurred after Plaintiff spoke to a social worker.

After the incident, Plaintiff rubbed his hand across all the blood on the floor and rubbed it on the wall, in hopes that Internal Affairs would take pictures. He also called for C/O Fear who was sitting at the gallery desk. Major Lynch came and saw the blood so he called Nurse Dowty. Nurse Dowty said that Plaintiff needed to see a medical doctor right away, so Major Lynch and Defendant Schnepper walked him to health care with Lieutenant Stafford (Internal Affairs) and another correctional officer.

The doctor said he wouldn't put in stitches. Internal Affairs took some pictures. When Plaintiff asked Lieutenant Stafford if there was going to be an investigation, he answered in the negative because Defendant Walters said Plaintiff did it. Even though Plaintiff refuted this, Lieutenant Stafford said they believed Defendant Walters and that the investigation was over.

Plaintiff requests several forms of relief, including $15,000 in compensatory ...

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