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Lewis v. Davis

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

October 2, 2013

DENNIS LEWIS, # B-58535, Plaintiff,
v.
RANDY DAVIS, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court for review of Plaintiff Dennis Lewis' amended complaint (Doc. 9). Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at Vienna Correctional Center ("Vienna"), filed the original complaint (Doc. 1) on July 17, 2013. The Court entered an Order (Doc. 7) dismissing Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted on August 9, 2013. However, Plaintiff was granted leave to file an amended complaint, which he has timely filed.

In the amended complaint, Plaintiff asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-2680, against Vienna's warden, Randy Davis. Plaintiff's claims arise from the allegedly unconstitutional conditions of his confinement at Vienna. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's amended complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and shall be dismissed.

The Amended Complaint

In the amended complaint, Plaintiff takes issue with the conditions of his confinement at Vienna (Doc. 1, p. 5). He has been housed in Building #19 since April 26, 2013. There, Plaintiff experienced conditions, virtually identical to numerous other Vienna plaintiffs, which he claims violate his legal rights and place him in danger. These conditions include exposure to asbestos, improper ventilation, leaky roofs, overflowing urinals, moldy showers, moldy food, and a shortage of functioning toilets. Rodent droppings litter the kitchen and living quarters. Third shift correctional officers sleep instead of making rounds to check on inmates at night. Fire alarms go off at random while prisoners are locked in their units, with no response from staff. Rival gang members and mental health patients are not separated from one another, or other inmates. Inmates are denied grievance forms, and face interference with their legal mail.

Plaintiff sues Warden Davis for constitutional violations, gross negligence, and criminal malfeasance, among other things. He seeks $50 million in damages (Doc. 1, p. 6).

Merits Review Under § 1915A

This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the amended 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.

Id.

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). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross "the line between possibility and plausibility." Id. at 557. 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, some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011); Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts "should not accept as adequate abstract ...


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