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Mann v. Kupferer

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 14, 2014

JASON W. MANN, #B89052, Plaintiff,


MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"), brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1). In the complaint, Plaintiff claims that he was attacked by three members of an inmate theft ring at Jackson County Jail ("Jail") on January 23, 2013 (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff now sues the three inmates, including Defendants White, Doe 1 ("The Boxer"), and Doe 2 ("Goldie"), for constitutional violations and for assault and battery. Plaintiff also sues seven Jail officials for numerous constitutional and Illinois state law violations in connection with the assault, including Defendants Gibbs, Fred, Bloodworth, Randel, Glidewell, Gladson, and Kupferer (Doc. 1, p. 2). Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment, monetary damages, and injunctive relief.

When Plaintiff filed this action on April 9, 2014, he failed to pay a filing fee or file a Motion and Affidavit to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs ("IFP Motion"). Plaintiff was advised of this fact in a letter from the Clerk of Court (Doc. 2). He was given thirty days to pay his full filing fee or file for IFP status. Plaintiff timely filed an IFP Motion on May 5, 2014 (Doc. 3).

Merits Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

Accordingly, this case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss any portion of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

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, 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, the Court finds that some of Plaintiff's claims are subject to dismissal under § 1915A.

The Complaint

According to the complaint, Plaintiff was the victim of a racially motivated attack at Jackson County Jail ("Jail") on January 23, 2013 (Doc. 1, pp. 4, 10). On that date, an inmate gang assaulted Plaintiff in C-dormitory while attempting to steal his personal property. Gang members "posted up" around the alert button and turned off the lights. Working together, Defendants White, Doe 1, and Doe 2, punched Plaintiff in the nose, stabbed him in the abdomen, pushed him onto the floor, and repeatedly kicked him.[1]

When Plaintiff reported the incident to Jail officials later that day, Defendants Gibbs and Fred moved Plaintiff to B-dormitory. However, they blamed him for causing the attack by attempting to alert authorities to the theft ring, saying, "[N]ext time, just keep your mouth shut!" (Doc. 1, p. 6). They refused to interview witnesses identified by Plaintiff or assist Plaintiff in pressing charges against Defendants White, Doe 1, and Doe 2 (Doc. 1, pp. 4, 9). Defendants Gibbs and Fred also failed to secure medical treatment for Plaintiff's injuries.

Plaintiff later learned that the inmate theft ring's conduct was "ongoing and embedded, " and Jail officials were aware of it, particularly Defendant Bloodworth. Defendant White was known as a "notorious and problematic offender" (Doc. 1, p. 5). He was regarded by authorities as "potentially assaultive or disruptive" (Doc. 1, p. 5). Even so, Defendant White was placed in C-dormitory with low security, and he was allowed to remain there after the assault.

On January 24, 2013, Plaintiff began filing grievances complaining about the manner in which Defendants Gibbs and Fred handled the situation. Defendants Bloodworth and Glidewell ignored the grievances and discouraged Plaintiff from filing more (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 7, 10). By the time Plaintiff was convicted and transferred out of the Jail in December 2013, he had received only one grievance back, but with no response (Doc. 1, p. 10).

Plaintiff also filed daily requests for medical treatment between January 24th and February 25th. He sought treatment for injuries he sustained during the attack, including two lacerations to his lower right abdomen, a broken nose, bruised ribs, a swollen torso, and difficulty breathing (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 7). Plaintiff added a request for antibiotic ointment and bandages for his stab wounds. Plaintiff received no response from the medical department, including Defendants Kupferer or Gladson. Instead of an appointment with a medical provider, Plaintiff received a delivery of four Band-Aids and Benadryl. Plaintiff now suffers from unspecified permanent injuries (Doc. 1, p. 8).

On February 25th, Plaintiff "suffered great pain from a bowel induction" and vomited over the course of twenty-four hours (Doc. 1, p. 8). When Plaintiff asked to see a nurse, Defendant Gibbs made fun of Plaintiff, asking him if he had been drinking toilet water. He told Plaintiff to submit a sick call request. Plaintiff did so but was not scheduled for an appointment with a nurse until February 26th. By then, Plaintiff was feeling better.

Plaintiff now sues his three inmate attackers, including Defendants White, Doe 1, and Doe 2, for inflicting cruel and unusual punishment in violation of his constitutional rights and for assault and battery in violation of Illinois law (Doc. 1, p. 11). He sues the remaining defendants, including Defendants Gibbs, Fred, Bloodworth, Randel, Glidewell, Gladson, and Kupferer for failing to protect him, failing to provide medical treatment for his injuries, and ignoring his grievances in violation of his constitutional rights and for assault and battery and negligence in violation of Illinois state law.


The applicable analytical framework for Plaintiff's constitutional claims depends on his status as an arrestee, detainee, or convict. The complaint indicates that Plaintiff was convicted following the events giving rise to this action. Based on this, the Court assumes that Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at all relevant times. Plaintiff's complaint therefore arises under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. See Budd v. Motley, 711 F.3d 840, 842 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Rice ex rel. Rice v. Corr. Med. Servs., 675 F.3d 650, 664 (7th Cir. 2012)). See also Klebanowski v. Sheahan, 540 F.3d 633, 637 (7th Cir. 2008). Even so, Eighth Amendment case law can generally be used as a "guide in evaluating his claims." Budd, 711 F.3d at 842 (citation omitted); Kingsley v. Hendrickson, ___ F.3d ___, 2014 WL 806956, *4-*5 (7th Cir. March 3, 2014).

Against this backdrop, the Court finds it convenient to divide this action into five counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The ...

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