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Poole v. Wilson

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 10, 2014

DEMARCO POOLE, No. S00804, Plaintiff,


STACI M. YANDLE, District Judge.

Plaintiff DeMarco Poole, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on the alleged failure of prison officials to keep Plaintiff separate and apart from his declared enemies in the Gangster Disciples gang.

By Order dated October 10, 2014, Plaintiff was granted leave to file an amended complaint on or before November 3, 2014 (Doc. 4). No amended complaint has been filed; therefore the original complaint (Doc. 1) is now before the Court for a preliminary review 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.

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). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that "no reasonable person could suppose to have any merit." Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). 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. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

The Complaint

According to the complaint, in March 2013, while in the Sangamon County Jail, Plaintiff was assaulted by a member of the Gangster Disciples gang, resulting in a concussion, contusions and lacerations severe enough to require hospitalization. Six months later, when Plaintiff was transferred to the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections, Plaintiff informed Counselor David Wilson at the receiving center, Graham Correctional Center, that he had enemies in the Gangster Disciples gang who were at Pinckneyville Correctional Center and Lawrence Correctional Center. Nevertheless, Plaintiff was transferred to Lawrence, where he remains.

Just after arriving at Lawrence, Plaintiff sent Warden Hodge an emergency grievance concerning the threats to his safety, but he received no response. Plaintiff was, however, interviewed by Internal Affairs Officer John Doe #1. Plaintiff disclosed the names of specific enemies. Plaintiff also filed a "complaint" with "the three wardens" at Lawrence-presumably including the two wardens named as defendants, Warden Hodges and Assistant Warden Duncan. Again, Plaintiff received no response.

In February 2014, a Gangster Disciples member called Plaintiff's fiance and mother, demanding money to keep Plaintiff safe-they alerted the Transfer Coordinator's Office and Internal Affairs at Lawrence. According to the complaint, named defendant Sandra Funk is the Transfer Coordinator for the Department of Corrections. Two weeks later, Plaintiff was moved a housing unit where one of his enemies was housed. Plaintiff sent a request to speak with Internal Affairs and was subsequently interviewed by John Doe #2. Rather than discuss Plaintiff's security issues, John Doe #2 just wanted to discuss Plaintiff's phone usage.

Plaintiff was also interviewed again by John Doe #1, who informed Plaintiff that one of his declared enemies had stated that he did not have a problem with Plaintiff. John Doe #1 then went on to comment about Plaintiff always being on the phone, and asking if Plaintiff's fiance was white.

Later in February 2014, Plaintiff received a note from either an enemy or an associate of his enemy, that there was a "beef" with Plaintiff and that Plaintiff was being mean to his fiance on the phone. Plaintiff sent Warden Hodges an emergency grievance on February ...

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