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Talley v. Godinez

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 24, 2014

DURWYN TALLEY, # B-52081, Plaintiff,
v.
SALVADOR GODINEZ, DR. TROST, C/O FITZGERALD, and UNKNOWN PARTIES (multiple), Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Durwyn Talley, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"), brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-2680, against three known[1] and various unknown[2] Defendants. According to the complaint, these Defendants have violated Plaintiff's First and Eighth Amendment rights at Menard. Plaintiff now seeks the imposition of criminal charges against Defendants. He also requests declaratory judgment, monetary damages, and injunctive relief.

Merits Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

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). As discussed in more detail below, several claims set forth in the complaint are subject to dismissal under this standard.

Discussion

The Court finds it convenient to divide the complaint into the following six counts:

COUNT 1: Defendants violated Plaintiff's rights under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-2680;
COUNT 2: Defendants Trost, Doe #1 (HCU administrator), and Doe #2 (male nurse practitioner) denied Plaintiff adequate medical care for H. pylori and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD);
COUNT 3: Defendants Doe #3 (internal affairs officers), Doe #4 (internal affairs lieutenant), Doe #5 (assistant warden), Doe #6 (mailroom supervisor), Doe #7 (mailroom staff), and Fitzgerald (correctional officer) denied Plaintiff access to the courts;
COUNT 4: Defendants "prison staff" failed to protect Plaintiff from an excessive risk of inmate attack;
COUNT 5: Defendants subjected Plaintiff to inhumane conditions of confinement;
COUNT 6: Defendants Godinez and Wexford's Director conspired to retaliate against Plaintiff.

A summary of the allegations giving rise to each claim is immediately followed by a discussion of each claim below. 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 designation of these Counts should not be construed as an opinion on their merits.

Count 1 - FTCA Claims

The complaint generally invokes the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-2680. However, the FTCA provides jurisdiction for suits against the United States regarding torts committed by federal officials, not state officials. All of the defendants in this action ...


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