United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
Willis Baird, Plaintiff, Pro se, Sumner, IL.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN, Chief United States District Judge.
Plaintiff Willis Baird, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center (" Lawrence"), brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1). In the complaint, Plaintiff claims that he has been subjected to on-going retaliation, excessive force, denial of adequate medical care, and due process violations at Lawrence, particularly since his alleged assault by Lawrence officials on July 10, 2014. He now sues several of these officials for violations of his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages against all Defendants (Doc. 1-2, pp. 59-60). He also seeks a temporary restraining order prohibiting contact with Defendant Perdue and granting Plaintiff's request for a prison transfer (Doc. 1-2, p. 59).
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 Section 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, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (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, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (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). After considering the allegations in light of this standard, the Court finds that the complaint survives preliminary review under Section 1915A.
Plaintiff filed the instant complaint on November 19, 2014 (Doc. 1) against seven known and numerous unknown defendants. In the complaint, Plaintiff describes an incident on July 10th, in which Defendants Perdue, Keener, and four unknown members of the " Orange Crush Tactical Team" (" John Doe #1-#4") assaulted him and caused permanent injuries to his head, neck, and back (Doc. 1, pp. 41-42). Plaintiff reveals that he is a frequent litigator, who has multiple actions currently pending against twenty or more Lawrence officials. In one of these actions, Baird v. Godinez, et al., Case No. 14-cv-902-JPG-SCW (S.D. Ill., filed August 20, 2014), Plaintiff discussed the July 10th incident involving Defendant Perdue in his request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction; he asked for " protection from further retaliatory acts from staff" through placement in protective custody or a prison transfer (Doc. 1, p. 44; Doc. 1-2, pp. 17-18). In that action, Defendant Perdue is not specifically named as a party or addressed in the complaint.
However, when Defendant Perdue learned that he was mentioned in the pleadings, he targeted Plaintiff for additional harassment. On September 23rd, Defendant Perdue horse/donkey kicked Plaintiff's cell door into Plaintiff's temple, causing him to suffer from blurry vision and a headache that necessitated a visit with medical staff (Doc. 1, p. 43). On September 24th and 25th, Defendant Perdue issued Plaintiff two false disciplinary tickets; these were the first two disciplinary tickets that Defendant Perdue had ever issued Plaintiff (Doc. 1, p. 46). On September 25th, Defendant Perdue repeatedly struck Plaintiff in the testicles while frisking him in the presence of three other officers, including Defendants Martin Buchner and Eric Hargett; this was the first body search Defendant Perdue had ever conducted of Plaintiff (Doc. 1, pp. 47-48). Afterwards, Defendants Perdue, Buchner, and Hargett refused Plaintiff's requests for medical care (Doc. 1, pp. 50, 53).
Plaintiff went on a hunger strike and was taken to " hunger strike segregation" (Doc. 1, p. 52). Defendant Perdue removed family photos, high school and college diplomas, vocational certificates, and transcripts from Plaintiff's possession and destroyed them.
Plaintiff was found guilty of the false rule violations at his disciplinary hearing on October 7th. He attributes this finding of guilt to the fact that Nathan Wheeler, the chairman of the adjustment committee, is also one of the many prison officials he has sued (Doc. 1, p. 55). Plaintiff now lists him among the defendants in this action and claims that Defendant Wheeler violated Plaintiff's right to an impartial hearing by failing to recuse himself, denying his request for a continuance, refusing to consider exculpatory documents, and refusing to interview Plaintiff's " long witness list" after finding that it was submitted too late.
Plaintiff now seeks monetary damages against Defendants Perdue, Keener, Duncan, Buchner, Hargett, Wheeler, Cooper, and John Doe #1-#4 (Doc. 1-2, pp. 59-60). In his request for relief, Plaintiff also seeks a temporary restraining order prohibiting contact with Defendant Perdue or a prison transfer (Doc. 1-2, p. 59).
Claims to Proceed