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Griffin v. Griffin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 30, 2014

J.W. GRIFFIN, No. R09541, Plaintiff,
v.
RANDY GROUNDS, DANA M. TYLKA, DEE DEE BROOKHART and C/O GRIFFIN, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff J.W. Griffin, an inmate in Robinson Correctional Center ("Robinson"), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

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. The Complaint

Plaintiff Griffin, who is confined to a wheelchair, alleges that year after year, when it snows the paths around Robinson are not cleared in a timely fashion. As a result, Plaintiff cannot get to the dining hall to eat his meals. Plaintiff specifically takes issue with the un-shoveled walks during this past snowy winter.

According to the complaint, on December 30, 2013, there was a substantial snow fall of at least eight inches. Plaintiff asked C/O Griffin if his meals could be brought to him in the cell house. C/O Griffin responded, "No!." Consequently, Plaintiff ventured out into the snow- three inmates carried Plaintiff in his wheelchair. When the snow remained on the pathways for another three days, during which Plaintiff only made it to the dining hall for four meals (presumably out of a possible 12). Plaintiff contends the situation was stressful and caused him pain.

On February 5, 2014, Plaintiff sent an emergency grievance to Warden Randy Grounds regarding the un-cleared pathways (Doc. 1, pp. 10-11). No response was received. On March 11, 2014, Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding the fact that his grievance regarding the un-cleared pathways had not been answered (Doc. 1, p. 12). No response was received to that second grievance, either. On March 10, 2014, Plaintiff sent an Offender Request to Assistant Warden Dana Tylka, asking why the emergency grievance had not been answered (Doc. 1, p. 16). Tylka responded one day later, directing Plaintiff to his counselor ( Id. ). Finally, on April 1, 2014, Plaintiff sent Offender Requests to Warden Grounds, Assistant Warden Tylka, and Assistant Warden Dee Dee Brookhart, noting that his grievances had supposedly been lost or misplaced (Doc. 1, pp. 17-22). No responses were received to those Offender Requests.

Plaintiff prays only for monetary damages; prospective injunctive relief is not sought.

The Court construes the complaint as asserting the following claims:

Count 1: Defendant C/O Griffin, failed to either have a path cleared of snow or to otherwise ensure Plaintiff could eat his meals during the December 30, 2013, snow storm and the days that followed, in violation of the Eighth Amendment;
Count 2: Warden Randy Grounds, Assistant Warden Dana Tylka, and Assistant Warden Dee Dee Brookhart failed to respond to Plaintiff's grievances and/or Offender ...

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