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O'Quinn v. Rensing

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 10, 2014

CHESTER O'QUINN, # K-92939, Plaintiff,
v.
PAT RENSING and THOMAS SPILLER, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court for case management. It represents one of six cases[1] that was severed from O'Quinn v. Gaetz, et al., Case No. 13-cv-01342-JPG ("original case") pursuant to a Memorandum and Order entered in the original case on April 1, 2014 (Doc. 1 in the instant case). The case involves an Eighth Amendment claim for unconstitutional conditions of confinement against Defendants Pat Rensing and Thomas Spiller, the clothing room supervisor and warden at Pinckneyville Correctional Center ("Pinckneyville"). Plaintiff was directed to notify the Court by May 6, 2014, if he did not wish to proceed with this severed action. The deadline has now passed.

Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend complaint on April 30, 2014 (Doc. 10), although he was not required to do so.[2] However, this lawsuit is still in its early stages. No parties have been served. No answers have been filed. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended complaint shall be GRANTED. Because Plaintiff previously filed a complaint and a first amended complaint in the original action, the Clerk shall be directed to file the proposed pleading as the "Second Amended Complaint" in this action.

Second Amended Complaint

In the Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserts an Eighth Amendment claim for unconstitutional conditions of confinement against Defendants Rensing and Spiller. In addition, he names two other wardens at Pinckneyville, Donald Gaetz and Jody Gogetting, as defendants. Plaintiff claims that they deprived him of basic necessities and exposed him to deplorable conditions in 2013-14.

According to the allegations, Plaintiff was given a single t-shirt to wear for a year (p. 5). He was denied boots and long johns during the winter months. Plaintiff never received a pillow, which exacerbated his neck and back problems (p. 6). He never received the full allotment of hygiene supplies that he should have received on a monthly basis, including two bars of soap, two tubes of toothpaste (24 grams), two rolls of deodorant (0.05 ounces), and one toothbrush. He was given a single roll of deodorant in a year. Some months, he received only one bar of soap or one tube of toothpaste. According to Plaintiff, even the full allotment of supplies ran out during the first half of a month. Plaintiff alleges that all named parties were directly involved in these deprivations (pp. 5-6).

Plaintiff also alleges that he was denied a nutritionally adequate diet (pp. 6-7). Inmates are fed only two meals each day at Pinckneyville (p. 7). The first meal is served between 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The second is served at 4:00 p.m. Therefore, inmates must wait 16-19½ hours between their evening meal and their morning meal the following day.

Because Plaintiff is diabetic, he is also issued two snack bags (p. 7). Even with these, Plaintiff receives insufficient amounts of food. He claims that other prisons in Illinois provide three meals and two snack bags to diabetic inmates each day. During the first six months of his incarceration at Pinckneyville, Plaintiff's weight dropped from 256 pounds to 220-230 pounds, and he had difficulty controlling his blood sugar levels. To avoid this, Plaintiff resorted to begging other inmates for food. Plaintiff names Defendants Spiller and Warden Gaetz in connection with this deprivation (p. 6).

Plaintiff also complains about the condition of his cell (p. 8). The cell has no heat. When temperatures dropped below zero at night in December 2013, Plaintiff was forced to endure the cold. No one passed out extra blankets, despite Plaintiff's emergency grievances addressing this issue. Mice made their way into Plaintiff's cell and his bed. Plaintiff was given no cleaning supplies to disinfect his cell. Plaintiff's housing unit experienced "an outbreak of something" in January 2014, and it was placed under quarantine. Plaintiff developed a rash, which was treated with antibiotics. Plaintiff addressed these issues with Defendant Spiller. However, beyond "spray[ing] the cell, " nothing was done. Plaintiff names Defendant Spiller in connection with this deprivation (p. 8). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief (Doc. 9).

Discussion

The Second Amended Complaint is now subject to review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). 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).

After carefully reviewing the Second Amended Complaint, the Court finds that these alleged deprivations, in combination, state a colorable Eighth Amendment claim for unconstitutional conditions of confinement (Count 1) for those reasons previously discussed in the Memorandum and Order dated April 1, 2014 (Doc. 1, pp. 10-14). The Court will allow Plaintiff to proceed with Count 1 against Defendants Rensing and Spiller, as well as Wardens Gaetz and Gogetting, in their individual and official capacities. The Clerk shall be directed to add Wardens Gaetz and Gogetting as Defendants in this action.

Request for Preliminary Injunction

In the opening paragraph of his statement of claim, Plaintiff seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction "to prevent further suffering-harm-injury or loss; on whatever the court feels something may need to be done right away on" (p. 5). This request is virtually identical to the one Plaintiff includes in every complaint he has filed to date in his separate lawsuits. Turning to the request for relief, Plaintiff seeks assorted indigent supplies, clothing, food, and cleaning supplies (p. 9). While the Court will save for another day the ...


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