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Dixon v. Butler

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 10, 2015

CHARLES DIXON, #A15167, Plaintiff,


J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiff Charles Dixon is currently incarcerated at the Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois. (Doc. 1 at 1.) Proceeding pro se, Dixon has filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Kimberly Butler, the Warden of Menard, Salvador Godinez, the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections, and a number of other corrections officers and staff at Menard. (Id. at 1-4.) Dixon alleges that prison officials and corrections officers were deliberately indifferent to his need for a cell placement on a lower gallery at the prison, that officers were not properly trained to handle gallery placement requests, and that officers retaliated against him by not granting his placement requests due to a previous grievance. (Id. at 15-27.) Dixon seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at 27-28.)

This matter is now before the Court for a preliminary review of Dixon's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court shall review a "complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a government entity." During this preliminary review under § 1915A, the court "shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, " if the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted" or if it "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief."


On April 2, 2014, Dixon was transferred from the Stateville Correctional Facility in Joliet, Illinois, to the Menard Correctional Facility in Menard, Illinois. (Doc. 1 at 8.) When Dixon arrived at Menard, he came with a permit issued by a physician stating that he needed to be assigned to a lower gallery of the prison due to complications from a bilateral hip replacement and the risk of injury to his compromised cervical spine. (Id. at 8, 10.) Despite the permit, Dixon was housed at North Two, Cell 524 - in prison parlance, the five gallery. (Id. at 8.) He told the cellhouse sergeant of his permit and his need for a lower gallery, but the sergeant said there was "nothing he could do" that day, but that he would leave a note for the sergeant on the following shift to move Dixon to one gallery" on the following day. (Id. ) Evidently Dixon was not moved as promised, because he filed a grievance with Butler on April 14, 2014, complaining of his continued placement on a higher floor. (Id. at 8-9.) Dixon says he received no response, but three days after he filed the grievance, Dixon was moved to Cell 155. (Id. at 9.)

Dixon's placement on a lower gallery did not last long - he was transferred from Cell 155 to Cell 355 on May 7, 2014. (Id. ) Right before he was moved, Dixon told Corrections Officer Davis of his medical permit and his need to be on the first two galleries, but Dixon said "he didn't care" what the permit said and that the matter "wasn't his problem." (Id. ) Dixon was then moved to Cell 355. (Id. ) Dixon immediately wrote an emergency grievance to Warden Butler, notifying her of the risk of housing him in Cell 355 and asking to be moved to a lower gallery. (Id. at 9-10.) That grievance was deemed not an emergency and denied. (Doc. 1-1 at 4.)

After his arrival at Cell 355, Dixon had the opportunity to speak with the cellhouse sergeant concerning his medical permit. (Doc. 1 at 10.) The sergeant told Dixon that cell assignment was within the purview of the placement office, that cell transfers "weren't his call, " and that Dixon would need to write the office with his concerns "if he wanted to be moved." (Id. at 10.) Dixon responded that it was the sergeant's duty to notify the placement office of the danger, and the sergeant told Dixon that he should contact the office himself. (Id. at 11.)

On June 3, 2014, Dixon fell while climbing up the stairs to three gallery, sustaining an injury to his forehead when he tried to catch himself on the stair rail. (Id. ) After the fall, Dixon again wrote an emergency grievance to Butler, asking to be moved to a lower gallery. (Id. ) Dixon says that grievance was denied and he still was not moved. (Id. at 12.) Shortly thereafter, it appears that Dixon was moved back to Stateville Correctional Center, where he remained until at least October 2014. (Doc. 1-1 at 7, 13.) Sometime after October 2014, he was returned to Menard Correctional Center, where he presently resides. (Doc. 1 at 1.)

Dixon filed grievances at the prison and sought review with the Administrative Review Board from April 2014 to January 2015. (Id. at 13-14.) In December 2014 and January 2015, the Administrative Review Board denied his grievances. (Id. at 14.) Unsatisfied with the prison's response, Dixon filed suit in this Court on May 14, 2015. (Id. at 1.)


Dixon divides his complaint into eight individual claims linked to his medical needs, but many of these claims are duplicative, making Dixon's effort to subdivide confusing. To facilitate the management of future proceedings, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 10, the Court finds it appropriate to re-divide the claims in Dixon's pro se complaint into the following counts, as shown below. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by the Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

COUNT 1: Butler, Godinez, Davis, John Doe 1, John Doe 2, and John Doe 3 were deliberately indifferent to Dixon's medical needs concerning placement on a lower gallery, in violation of Dixon's Eighth Amendment rights.
COUNT 2: By denying his grievances, Butler and Godinez created a policy, practice, or custom of allowing staff at Menard to disregard Dixon's medical orders, in violation of Dixon's Eighth Amendment rights.
COUNT 3: Butler, Godinez, and John Doe 1 failed to provide adequate training and supervision to staff when they allowed staff to disregard Dixon's medical orders, in ...

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