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Maurice Jackson v. C/O M. Hoffman

August 27, 2012

MAURICE JACKSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
C/O M. HOFFMAN, C/O FLEMMINGS, LISA GALES, ASST. WARDEN BUTLER, SGT. PELKER, SGT. HEINES, LT. CARTWRIGHT, SGT. ELAVIO, C/O MAYBERRY, C/O ENLARGE, C/O BISHOP, A. WALTER, C/O NEHRING, C/O SULSER, C/O MEYER, JAMIE WELBORN, C/O PROWELL, DR. SHEPERD, DR. FAHIM, SARAH DILLMAN, JOAN, SGT. HASEMEYER, TRACEY HARRINGTON, SGT. MCDANIELS, OFFICER JOHN DOE, AND WARDEN MICHAEL ATCHISON, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Pro se Plaintiff Maurice Jackson is currently an inmate at the Illinois Department of Corrections' (IDOC's) Menard Correctional Center (Menard). He has brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and has alleged that Defendants (all officials at Menard) violated a litany of his constitutional rights. Specifically, Jackson claims he was severely beaten by thirteen correctional officer defendants (Hoffman, Flemmings, Pelker, Heins, Cartwright, Mayberry, Enlarge, Bishop, Nehring, Sulser, Meyer, Prowell, and McDaniels) and sexually assaulted by one (Bishop), in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. In the aftermath of that beating, several medical workers at Menard ignored his injuries (also in violation of the Eighth Amendment), and the warden (Atchison) and a counselor (Harrington) refused to respond to his grievances (thus violating the First Amendment). Further, because of those injuries, Jackson fell out of his bunk and was subjected to deliberate indifference to the head injury he sustained, then made to sleep on the floor and on a urine-soaked mattress. In unrelated claims, the plaintiff also alleges Defendants Sheperd and Fahim (both doctors at Menard), along with Defendant "Joan," who apparently works in the prison pharmacy, withheld his blood pressure medication. Finally, Mr. Jackson alleges that two mailroom supervisors, the assistant warden in charge of the mailroom, and several correctional officers interfered with his incoming and outgoing mail (in violation of the First Amendment).

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint. On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss any portions of the complaint that are frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant with immunity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

Colorable Claims

Accepting Plaintiff's liberally-construed allegations as true, the Court finds that Plaintiff has articulated the following colorable federal causes of action:

Count 1 -- Against Defendants Hoffman, Flemmings, Pelker, Heines, Cartwright, Mayberry, Enlarge, Bishop, Nehring, Sulser, Meyer, McDaniels, and Prowell for excessive force, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. See Rice ex rel. Rice v. Corr. Med. Servs. , 675 F.3d 650, 667 (7th Cir. 2012) (use of force is excessive when it entails the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain).

Count 2 -- Against Defendant Bishop (who "swiped [his penis] between plaintiff's butt until he got aroused," (Doc. 1, p. 6) and Defendant Mayberry (who intentionally humiliated Jackson by walking him to health care in a revealing smock) for violating Jackson's Eighth Amendment rights. See Washington v. Hively , -- F.3d ---, No. 12-1657, 2012 WL 3553419, at *1 (7th Cir. Aug. 20, 2012) (". . . unwanted touching of a person's private parts, intended to humiliate the victim or gratify the assailant's sexual desires, can violate a prisoner's constitutional rights whether or not the force exerted by the assailant is significant. . . . Indeed, sexual offenses need not involve any touching") (emphasis in original).

Count 3 -- Against Dr. Sheperd, Dr. Fahim, Sgt. Elavio and Nurse A. Walter for deliberate indifference to the serious injuries Jackson received in the beating, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Count 4 -- Against Defendants Atchison and Harrington for refusing to respond to Jackson's grievances regarding the alleged December 30 beating. See DeWalt v. Carter , 224 F.3d 607, 618 (7th Cir. 2000) (part of a prisoner's constitutional right of access to the courts is "the right to pursue the administrative remedies that must be exhausted before a prisoner can seek relief in court.").

Count 5 -- Against Defendants Elavio and Walter for additional deliberate indifference to head injury Jackson sustained while falling out of his top bunk shortly after he was beaten.

Count 6 -- Against Defendant Elavio for deliberate indifference to Jackson's inhumane conditions of confinement when Elavio made Jackson sleep on the floor for three days. Count 7 -- Against a John Doe correctional officer for deliberate indifference to inhumane conditions of confinement when Jackson was forced to sleep on a urine-soaked mattress with no sheets for three days in segregation.

Count 8 -- Against Dr. Sheperd, Dr. Fahim, and Defendant "Joan" (who apparently works in the prison pharmacy) for refusing to administer his prescribed blood pressure medication.

Count 9 -- Against Defendants Welborn, Dillman, Gales, Hoffman and Hasemeyer for interfering with Jackson's incoming and outgoing mail (in violation of the First Amendment). See Rowe v. Shake , 196 F.3d 778, 782 (7th Cir. 1999)).

Claims and Defendants Dismissed

The claim of excessive force against Defendant Atchison (whom Jackson alleges has not responded to his emergency grievance regarding the beating) is DISMISSED without prejudice because respondeat superior is not applicable to § 1983 actions. See Sanville v. McCaughtry , 266 F.3d 724, 740 (7th Cir. 2001). Likewise, the claim that Assistant Warden Butler interfered with Jackson's mail - a claim predicated exclusively on her supervisory capacity over the mail room - is DISMISSED without prejudice. See id.

Claims Severed under George v. Smith

In George v. Smith , 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007), the Seventh Circuit emphasized that unrelated claims against different defendants belong in separate lawsuits, "not only to prevent the sort of morass" produced by multi-claim, multi-defendant suits "but also to ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees" under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. George, 507 F.3d at 607, (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b), (g)). Plaintiff's complaint contains three unrelated claims against different defendants: Count 1 through Count 7 regard allegations of a abuse and the aftermath of that abuse; Count 8 regards allegations of deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's need for blood pressure medication; and Count 9 regards allegations of interference with Plaintiff's mail.

Consistent with the George decision and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21, the Court SEVERS Count 8 of Plaintiff's complaint and DIRECTS the Clerk to open a new case with a newly-assigned case number for that case. The Court further directs the Clerk to add to the docket of the newly-opened case a copy of ...


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