United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW AND CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER
HAROLD A. BAKER, District Judge.
The plaintiff, proceeding pro se and incarcerated in the Pontiac Correctional Center, was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil case. The case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915A. In reviewing the Complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour , 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013).
The Court has reviewed the Complaint and has also held a merit review hearing by video conference in order to give the plaintiff a chance to personally explain his claims to the Court.
The plaintiff filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 claiming his constitutional rights were violated while being housed in punitive segregation in the Pontiac North House I Gallery. The plaintiff is alleging a conditions of confinement claim because his cell is illuminated 24 hours a day, and there is inadequate ventilation, excessive heat and noise, causing him to suffer from sleep deprivation. The plaintiff is also alleging an Equal Protection Claim in that he claims this gallery is a temporary gallery for inmates when they are first transferred to Pontiac. He claims other inmates similarly situated have been placed in this gallery for at most 45 to 60 days, and are then moved out of segregation where they are afforded fans, television, and are able to participate in activities. He claims that he has not been moved for almost two years and believes it is in retaliation for having filed lawsuits. The plaintiff alleges the Warden is aware of this retaliation by the staff but has failed to act. Plaintiff also alleges First Amendment access to courts and freedom of association violations claiming that he has been denied all access to the telephone and is unable to call his lawyer or his family members.
The plaintiff names Livingston County in the body of complaint; however, he makes no allegations against it so Livingston County will not be a party to this case.
The Court concludes that the plaintiff has stated federal claims as detailed below, and the case will accordingly be sent for service.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
1. Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. §1915A, the Court finds that the plaintiff states an Eighth Amendment claim for conditions of confinement, First Amendment claims for retaliation and being denied access to a telephone, and an Equal Protection Claim for not being treated the same as other inmates similarly situated against Warden Randy S. Pfister, Warden Guy Pierce, and Major Kevin DeLong. Any additional claims shall not be included in the case, except at the Court's discretion on motion by a party for good cause shown or pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.
2. This case is now in the process of service. The plaintiff is advised to wait until counsel has appeared for the defendants before filing any motions, in order to give the defendants notice and an opportunity to respond to those motions. Motions filed before defendants' counsel has filed an appearance will generally be denied as premature. The plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the Court at this time, unless otherwise directed by the Court.
3. The Court will attempt service on the defendants by mailing each defendant a waiver of service. The defendants have 60 days from the date the waiver is sent to file an answer. If the defendants have not filed answers or appeared through counsel within 90 days of the entry of this order, the plaintiff may file a motion requesting the status of service. After the defendants have been served, the Court will enter an order setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.
4. With respect to a defendant who no longer works at the address provided by the plaintiff, the entity for whom that defendant worked while at that address shall provide to the Clerk said defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be used only for effectuating service. Documentation of forwarding addresses shall be retained only by the Clerk and shall not be maintained in the public docket nor disclosed by the Clerk.
5. The defendants shall file an answer within 60 days of the date the waiver is sent by the Clerk. A motion to dismiss is not an answer. The answer should include all defenses appropriate under the Federal Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings shall be to the issues and claims stated in this opinion. In general, an answer sets forth the defendants' positions. The Court does not rule on the merits of those positions unless and until a motion is filed by the defendants. Therefore, no response to the answer is necessary or will be considered.
6. This district uses electronic filing, which means that, after defense counsel has filed an appearance, defense counsel will automatically receive electronic notice of any motion or other paper filed by the plaintiff with the Clerk. The plaintiff does not need to mail to defense counsel copies of motions and other papers that the plaintiff has filed with the Clerk. However, this does not apply to discovery requests and responses. Discovery requests and responses are not filed with the Clerk. The plaintiff must mail his discovery requests and responses directly to defendants' counsel. Discovery requests or responses sent to the Clerk will be returned unfiled, unless they are attached to and the subject of a motion to compel. Discovery does not begin until defense counsel has filed an appearance and the Court has entered a scheduling order, which will explain the discovery process in more detail.
7. Counsel for the defendants is hereby granted leave to depose the plaintiff at his place of confinement. Counsel for the defendants shall arrange ...