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Smith v. Eovaldi

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 6, 2015

AARON SMITH, Plaintiff,


STACI M. YANDLE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Aaron Smith is currently incarcerated at the Chester Mental Health Center in Chester, Illinois, but was previously incarcerated at the Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois. (Doc. 6 at 1, 7.) Proceeding pro se, Smith has filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against several officers at Menard, alleging that some officers used excessive force against him after an outburst in November 2013 and others exposed him to inhumane conditions in his cell after the attack. ( Id. at 7-10.) Smith seeks monetary damages. ( Id. at 11.)

This matter is now before the Court for a review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 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 the § 1915A review, 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."


Smith is currently housed at the Chester Mental Health Center in Chester, Illinois, but the events leading up to this case occurred at the Menard Correctional Center. (Doc. 6 at 7.) On November 13, 2013, Smith had a "negative outburst" and was "maced" by Lieutenant Eovaldi and removed from his cell by Corrections Officer Bennett, Corrections Officer Mallory, and Sergeant Bebout. ( Id. ) He was taken to the North 2 Infirmary Unit bullpen, where he was forced to lie on the floor. ( Id. ) While he was on the floor, Bennett, Mallory, Bebout, and Eovaldi allegedly kicked and punched Smith for ten minutes, causing Smith to defecate upon himself. ( Id. ) After this incident, Smith was stripped of his prison clothes and "inadequately seen" by "medical." ( Id. ) Smith also spoke with Sergeant Anthony, an internal affairs officer with the prison, who Smith says did not afford him a "proper investigation." ( Id. )

Shortly after Anthony left Smith's company, Smith was again moved to the infirmary bullpen. ( Id. at 8.) Bebout was there, too, and he again punched and kicked Smith for five minutes. ( Id. ) The incident stopped shortly before Dr. Delong, a mental health specialist with the prison, arrived at the infirmary. ( Id. ) Dr. Delong was told (presumably by Bebout) that Smith rubbed the fecal matter upon his own posterior during his outburst, which Smith says was a lie - the fecal matter was spread during the attack. ( Id. ) Dr. Delong noted in the medical record that Smith had spread fecal matter on himself, and then left the infirmary. ( Id. )

After the visit with Dr. Delong, Smith was moved from the infirmary to a cell by unspecified officers. ( Id. ) The unspecified officers did not allow Smith to clean the fecal matter off of himself or put on clothes for the transfer, and kept Smith shackled and handcuffed. ( Id. ) Smith was forced to walk backwards down a flight of stairs in this condition, and was also forced down Gallery 4 and to his cell with his face to his knees and his arms twisted upward. ( Id. ) The cell that he was placed in had no mattress and no running water, at least initially. ( See id. )

After Smith arrived at his cell, he was denied food for "many days" by several officers, including Brock and Easton. ( Id. at 9.) Smith remained in that condition until approximately November 21, 2013, when Dr. Delong put Smith on watch to assist him in being fed. ( Id. ) Despite this change in status, two other officers - Harris and an unknown Doe officer - did not allow Smith to shower or clean the fecal matter off of himself from November 2013 to February 2014. ( Id. ) During this time, Smith was also denied hygiene products, warm clothing, and other property by Corrections Officer Hennrich and Corrections Officer Negal. ( Id. )

Sometime after these events occurred, Smith was transferred from Menard to the Chester Mental Health Center. ( Id. at 1.) After his transfer, he filed a § 1983 complaint. (Doc. 1.) That complaint was missing numerous pages, so the Court directed Smith to re-send the complaint. (Doc. 3.) Smith sent what appeared to be a newer version of his complaint on May 20, 2015, which the Court characterized as an amended complaint. (Doc. 6.)


The Court begins its § 1915A review with a note about the parties at issue in this case. Throughout his amended complaint, Smith refers to the conduct of some individuals not named in his caption or his defendant list: he says that he was "inadequately seen" by "medical" after the first attack, that Dr. Delong did nothing but make a note in Smith's medical record when she visited him after the second attack, that unspecified officers moved Smith to his cell in an improper fashion without giving Smith an opportunity to clean himself before the transfer, that the unspecified officers who moved Smith to his cell removed the mattress in that cell and shut off the water to that cell, and that "other officers" failed to feed Smith after the attack. Given that these individuals were not designated as parties in his defendant list but another John Doe was, it seems unlikely that Smith wished to raise discrete claims against them. Regardless, because these parties are not listed in the caption by name or by Doe designation, they will not be treated as defendants in this case, and any claims against them should be considered dismissed without prejudice. See FED. R. CIV. P. 10(a) (noting that the title of the complaint "must name all the parties"); Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d 551, 551-52 (7th Cir. 2005) (to be properly considered a party a defendant must be "specif[ied] in the caption").

Turning to Smith's complaint, the Court finds it appropriate to divide the claims in the 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.

COUNT 1: Bennett, Mallory, Bebout, and Eovaldi engaged in excessive force against Smith before and after moving him out of his cell on November 13, 2013, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
COUNT 2: Anthony performed an improper investigation into Smith's grievance related to the initial attack, in ...

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