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Wheeler v. Godinez

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

October 18, 2013

ANTHONY WHEELER, # A-81100, Plaintiff,


J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Danville Correctional Center ("Danville"), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His claims arose while he was temporarily confined at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"). Plaintiff is serving multiple 27-year sentences for robbery and attempted robbery convictions. Plaintiff claims that he was improperly held in disciplinary segregation under conditions that violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. He also brings several state law claims and requests this Court to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over them.

More specifically, Plaintiff claims that he was transferred to Menard on August 29, 2012, for a 30-day stay so he could appear in this Court on another case (Doc. 1-1, p. 3). Defendant Sergeant Birkner placed him in the disciplinary segregation wing, where he was housed with inmates who were being punished for major disciplinary infractions (Doc. 1-1, p. 5). Before the temporary transfer, Plaintiff had been in a low-medium security prison (Danville), while Menard is a high-maximum security facility. Plaintiff was relocated because of a routine court writ, and had not been charged with any disciplinary offense, but he remained in the disciplinary segregation wing for the entire 30 days. Plaintiff contends this placement was contrary to the prison administrative rules. See ILL. ADMIN. CODE tit. 20, § 504.610(a) (Doc. 1-3, p. 9).

Plaintiff's cell was in the upper gallery, where the temperature reached 120 degrees because of the excessive summer heat. Plaintiff's fan had been confiscated, so he had no relief from the sweltering conditions. He suffers from high blood pressure, and the heat aggravated his symptoms. Plaintiff was confined to this small cell for 24 hours each day, and was never allowed out for exercise or to visit the law library (Doc. 1-1, pp. 4-5). He claims that other inmates in the segregation unit, who were being punished for disciplinary offenses, were allowed outside recreation and library access (Doc. 1-1, p. 7). The cell lights remained on 24 hours per day, and Plaintiff was served all his meals in the cell. These conditions caused him to suffer from extreme mental distress, sleep deprivation, heat exhaustion, and severe migraine headaches.

Plaintiff asserts that Defendants Godinez (IDOC Director), Atchington (Menard Warden), [1] Richard Harrington (Assistant Warden of Operations), and Butler (Acting Warden of Programs) introduced and enforced the policy which required the confiscation of Plaintiff's fan (Doc. 1-1, p. 4; Doc. 1-3, pp. 3-4). Plaintiff notified Defendants C/O Harrington, [2] Stephenson, Shields, Spiller, and Reid (all correctional officers) that he was suffering due to his high blood pressure and lack of air circulation, but they told him there was nothing they could do, or merely ignored him (Doc. 1-1, pp. 4-5). Further, Plaintiff sent several inmate request forms to Defendants Godinez, Richard Harrington, Butler, and Atchington, informing them that he was being improperly held in segregation, his fan was taken away, he has high blood pressure, and is suffering in the extreme heat. He received no reply.

In addition to his constitutional claims, Plaintiff brings state law claims of false imprisonment, intentional deprivation of property without just compensation, excessive confinement, negligence, intentional infliction of mental and emotional injury, infringement of property rights, and negligent supervision or training resulting in injury (Doc. 1-2, p. 2).[3]

Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief, an injunction forbidding the placement of inmates in punitive segregation while they await court appearances, and compensatory and punitive damages (Doc. 1-1, pp. 7-8).

Motion to Amend Complaint to add Additional Defendants (Doc. 4)

Two weeks after he filed his complaint, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend that complaint to add additional Defendants. While Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1)(A) allows amendment of a complaint as a matter of course within 21 days after serving it, Plaintiff's proposed amendment (Doc. 4) is not adequate. Plaintiff has not filed an amended complaint, per se. Instead, his motion seeks to add three new Defendants and two additional claims, but it does not include any of the original claims against the original nine Defendants. Rather, Plaintiff indicates that his tendered motion is intended to add claims to those asserted in his original pleading, and incorporate the original complaint by reference. This technique is often referred to as amendment by interlineation.

Consistent with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), amendment by interlineation is not permitted. Instead, all claims against all defendants must be set forth in a single document - the amended complaint. The amended complaint then supersedes and replaces the original complaint. See Flannery v. Recording Indus. Ass'n of Am., 354 F.3d 632, 638 n.1 (7th Cir. 2004) (citing Fuhrer v. Fuhrer, 292 F.2d 140, 144 (7th Cir. 1961)). Therefore, Plaintiffs motion (Doc.

4) shall be denied, albeit without prejudice. The Court will proceed to review the original complaint, as required under § 1915A.

Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

Under § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint, and to dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from an immune defendant.

Accepting Plaintiff's allegations as true, the Court finds that Plaintiff has articulated the following colorable constitutional ...

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