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Fields v. Davis

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 2, 2014

WALTER FIELDS, No. N62102, Plaintiff,
v.
JACQUELINE A. LASHBROOK, J. KEMPFER, M. PHOENIX, and C/O DAVIS, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Walter Fields, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on several incidents related to the conditions of his confinement.

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.

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). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that "no reasonable person could suppose to have any merit." Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). 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. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

The Complaint

According to the complaint, on January 21, 2013, Plaintiff was subjected to an unjustified, invasive body cavity search. Who authorized or conducted the search is not revealed. An unidentified guard and Assistant Warden of Programs Lashbrook then housed Plaintiff in segregation cell 253, where the walls and floor were contaminated with feces, blood and mold. Lashbrook refused Plaintiff's request for cleaning supplies, hygiene products, a mattress and clothing.[1] Lashbrook also refused Plaintiff's request for an inhaler for his asthma, despite Plaintiff stating that he could die without it.

Between January 21st and 30th, Plaintiff asked C/O Kempfer and C/O Davis for cleaning supplies, hygiene products, a mattress, clothing and an inhaler, to no avail. Kempfer and Davis only hurled racial slurs at Plaintiff.

It is also alleged that Kempfer and Davis spread the word that inmate Jason Hall (the inmate in the cell next to Plaintiff) was a snitch, in an effort to get Hall killed. In fact, Hall was murdered on January 30, 2013.[2] When Assistant Warden Lashbrook questioned Plaintiff about Hall's murder, Plaintiff refused to provide any information. Lashbrook retaliated by writing Plaintiff a disciplinary report for impeding an investigation. Plaintiff further asserts that Lashbrook was motivated by racial bias (Plaintiff is African American), and the fact that Plaintiff was serving a life sentence. Although the Adjustment Committee convicted Plaintiff of that offense, the conviction was later expunged (Doc. 1, pp. 14-16).

After Hall's murder, Plaintiff was moved to cell 810 and then to cell 847, both of which were filthy, contaminated with blood and feces. Plaintiff does not identify when he was moved, or by whom. On April 11, 2013, Plaintiff complained to C/O Phoenix about the conditions of cell 847. Phoenix denied Plaintiff's request for cleaning supplies, hygiene products and asthma medication.

As a result of the defendants' failure to move Plaintiff to a sanitary cell, and their refusal to give him cleaning supplies, clothing and medication, Plaintiff became ill, developing sores on his feet and scalp, and ...


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