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Reynolds v. Lyerla

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 23, 2014

ANTHONY REYNOLDS, #R-10672, Plaintiff,
v.
MAJOR DOUGLAS H. LYERLA, OFFICER L. MAUE, OFFICER MACDONOUGH, and MENARD CORRECTIONAL CENTER, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is serving a 60-year sentence for murder and a 20-year sentence for being an armed habitual criminal. He claims that Defendants beat him and then denied him medical attention for his injuries.

More specifically, Plaintiff states that on June 3, 2012, he was in the dining room when another inmate assaulted an officer (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7). Plaintiff was not involved in that incident. All the prisoners present were placed in handcuffs.

While Plaintiff was handcuffed, Defendant Maue tried to push his head into the dining hall table. Plaintiff called for Defendant Major Lyerla and requested him to ask Defendant Maue to take his hands off Plaintiff's head (Doc. 1, p. 6). Defendant Lyerla responded by telling Defendant Maue and other officers to take Plaintiff outside. On the way out, Defendant Lyerla got in Plaintiff's face, cursed him and used a racial slur. At the door, Defendant Maue tripped Plaintiff, then he and several other officers including Defendant MacDonough began punching and kicking Plaintiff. Plaintiff believes that the Defendants "made an example" of him following the assault on the other guard. He had not offered any resistance, and remained in handcuffs the entire time. During the attack, Defendants Maue, MacDonough, and the unidentified officers continued to taunt Plaintiff (who is African-American) with racial slurs. They then took him to North 2 Segregation.

Plaintiff asked his attackers several times for medical attention, but was told to "shut the f**k up" before he got another beating (Doc. 1, p. 6). He was held in the segregation cell from June 3 until June 12, 2012, without any medical attention. He told the North 2-7 Gallery Officer that he was having bad headaches and neck pains, but this officer told Plaintiff to stop crying, and did nothing to help him. During that time, Plaintiff was also denied his hygiene products and writing utensils, so he could not communicate with anyone regarding what had happened to him. After Plaintiff received a call from his attorney on another matter, he filed a grievance over the beating. He was interviewed by an Internal Affairs officer, who photographed his injuries and showed him pictures so that he might identify the other guards who attacked him. However, to date he has not been able to find out the names of the other officers involved.

Plaintiff was also given a disciplinary ticket for insolence and disobeying a direct order, based on the incident in the dining room (Doc. 1, pp. 7, 18). He pled guilty in order to avoid any further injuries or harassment, and was punished with one month in segregation as well as other sanctions.

Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the use of excessive force against him, as well as a transfer to another prison where he would be safe from retaliation from the Defendants (Doc. 1, p. 9).

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 federal causes of action, which shall receive further review:

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants Lyerla, Maue, MacDonough, and other Unknown (John Doe) Correctional Officers[1] for using excessive force against Plaintiff when they kicked and punched him on June 3, 2012;

Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants Maue, MacDonough, and other Unknown (John Doe) Correctional Officers for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's need for medical care for the injuries he sustained in the attack of June 3, 2012.

However, to the extent that Plaintiff may be seeking relief for the denial of hygiene supplies while he was in segregation (Count 3) or for any other matters mentioned in the complaint, the pleading fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Further, he ...


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