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Baynes v. Payne

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 21, 2015



J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiff, an inmate in the United States Penitentiary in Marion ("Marion"), brings this action seeking compensation under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2671 et seq., for injuries he sustained while incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution at Petersburg ("Petersburg"), located in Virginia. His complaint also alleges violations of his constitutional rights by persons acting under the color of federal authority. See Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).

According to the complaint, on April 26, 2013, Plaintiff was working in the laundry at Petersburg (Doc. 1, p. 6). He told his supervisor, Defendant Payne, that other inmates had been stealing items from the laundry. Defendant Payne confronted the other prisoners and told them that Plaintiff had informed him of the theft. Soon thereafter, Plaintiff was attacked by three inmates for snitching on them. He was knocked unconscious by a blow from a metal stool.

When Plaintiff came to, he saw Defendant Payne walking away from him. Plaintiff then noticed that his pants had been pulled down and he had been penetrated anally. He saw semen on the floor. He was bleeding from his head and mouth.

He told Defendant Payne what happened, and Defendant Payne asked Plaintiff what he wanted to do about the incident. Plaintiff responded that he "wanted revenge" (Doc. 1, p. 7). Defendant Payne then concocted a scenario which, he told Plaintiff, would prevent him from being sent to the Special Housing Unit for fighting. He had Plaintiff knock over some boxes to make it look as if they fell on him. He then sent Plaintiff to the hospital escorted by two other inmates, to make sure Plaintiff would not go to the Lieutenant's office to report the attack. Defendant Payne refused to radio for emergency assistance, saying he needed to clear up before investigators came to the scene. At the health clinic, Plaintiff did not report the sexual assault, but maintained he had had an accident in the laundry and was injured by the boxes.

Later that day, Plaintiff confronted the inmates who had attacked him. He got into a physical altercation with one of them, and the inmate stabbed Plaintiff in the arm. This time, he told the medical staff about the attack in the laundry earlier that day, and said he had initially concealed it with Defendant Payne's story about the falling boxes because he wanted to get revenge. It appears that Plaintiff had still not told anybody other than Defendant Payne that he had been raped (Doc. 1, p. 9).

Plaintiff was sent from the health clinic to the Special Housing Unit. After a couple hours passed, he was in a lot of pain and asked to see a special investigator and a doctor. By that time, the staff had left for the evening and Plaintiff was told he must wait until Monday.

On April 29, 2013, Plaintiff met with an investigator and disclosed the sexual assault. He was taken back to the medical clinic, but the doctor did not do a rape kit because he believed the evidence was gone by that time. Plaintiff was referred for mental health care and was placed on psychotropic medications. He was charged with a disciplinary infraction for fighting.

Less than three months later, Plaintiff was moved to USP-Atlanta (Doc. 1, p. 11). He continued his attempts to pursue charges through the administrative process against Defendant Payne and the inmates who had attacked him. Plaintiff asked for psychological services while at USP-Atlanta, but received none.

After Plaintiff was moved to Marion, he again requested psychological services, but has received no assistance or treatment as of the time he filed his complaint. He suffers from depression, he is withdrawn, and believes everybody is plotting against him. He also worries that he has been infected with AIDS or another disease. His requests for further investigation and to press charges have been ignored (Doc. 1, p. 11).

As relief, Plaintiff seeks financial compensation under the FTCA. He attaches the final denial letter, dated July 30, 2014, on his administrative Tort Claim request (Doc. 1, p. 14). In addition, Plaintiff requests mental health screening and treatment for his ongoing symptoms (Doc. 1, p. 13). In addition to Defendant Payne, he includes Warden Wilson of Petersburg and Warden Walton of Marion as Defendants.

Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

Under § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint, and to dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from an immune defendant.

Based on the allegations of the complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following counts. 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 does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

Count 1: Federal Tort Claim for compensation for the injuries Plaintiff sustained on April 26, 2013, as a result of the negligence of prison officials at Petersburg;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Payne for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's physical safety, for disclosing to other inmates that Plaintiff had accused ...

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