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Henry Johnson, # B-63019 v. Cpt. Pala

July 24, 2012

HENRY JOHNSON, # B-63019, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CPT. PALA, C/O LEN, C/O GREY, LT. MAY, LT. JEFFERSON, AND LT. MORGAN DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Henry Johnson, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on two incidents that occurred while Plaintiff was housed as a pretrial detaineee at Jefferson County Jail ("Jefferson"). Plaintiff is currently serving a six year sentence for aggravated battery. 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, 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).

Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

The Complaint

In October 2009, while Plaintiff was incarcerated at Jefferson, Defendants placed him in "the gym room" where he was "jumped on" by four rival gang members as Defendants "turned their backs" (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7). Plaintiff claims that guard from Cook County Jail told Jefferson staff members not to put members of Plaintiff's gang ("six-point star") with members of the "five-point star" gang, but Defendants failed to follow Cook County's advice (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff, however, "was not supposed to be in the presence of [any] gang under the five point star" (Doc. 1, p. 6).

As a result of this incident, Plaintiff received facial scarring, a bloody and swollen nose, and had two teeth knocked loose (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff was also forced to treat his own injuries because the nurses were not at Jefferson at the time of the incident (Doc. 1, p. 7).

Plaintiff also alleges in his complaint that for the first six months he was incarcerated at Jefferson, he was denied access to his cell from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. every day (Doc. 1, p. 6). Accordingly, Plaintiff had to "lay on the hard concrete cold floor" (Doc. 1, p. 6). Moreover, Plaintiff was placed "in confinement a couple of times without being issued a write-up" during his time at Jefferson (Doc. 1, p. 7).

Plaintiff seeks $1 million in damages and an injunction allowing Jefferson inmates to stay in ...


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