United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STACI M. YANDLE, District Judge.
Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee at the Madison County Jail ("the Jail"). He brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that Defendants have housed him at the Jail under unconstitutional conditions of confinement. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
In the complaint, Plaintiff states that he has been detained at the Jail since about December 5, 2014, and has been celled in Unit B-North (Doc. 1, p. 7). On or about December 27, 2014, his housing unit was flooded with raw sewage, which backed up from the drains and toilets (Doc. 1, p. 9). The entire cell block including Plaintiff's cell was flooded with human waste, putting Plaintiff and other detainees in direct contact with it. Deputy Tim Walker (who is not named as a Defendant) locked Plaintiff and the other prisoners down in the flooded cells, and did not give them any cleaning materials. Defendant Dover (Walker's supervisor) shut off the fresh drinking water and refused to turn it back on, and also refused to provide cleaning materials (Doc. 1, p. 9). The cell block was filled with "toxic smells, " which caused Plaintiff to have an upset stomach all night. The lockdown under these conditions continued for about 24 hours.
On or about March 18, 2015, another sewage backup occurred, and Plaintiff was again put in direct contact with "mass amounts of raw sewage" (Doc. 1, p. 11). He suffered from an upset stomach and loss of appetite during this episode.
On March 19, 2015, there was another sewage backup and flood, causing the same problems for Plaintiff (Doc. 1, p. 12).
On or about April 26, 2015, the sewer drain and toilets began to back up again in Unit B-North, putting Plaintiff in direct contact with raw sewage (Doc. 1, p. 13).
At 7:30am on April 27, 2015, Defendant Hallenbock swept the raw sewage waste back onto the detainees' walkway and cells. Plaintiff told Defendant Hallenbock about the raw sewage flood the previous day. Defendant Hallenbock told Plaintiff he would provide a broom, dustpan, and gloves so Plaintiff and other prisoners could put the raw sewage into their garbage bag in the dayroom (Doc. 1, p. 15). He refused to get Plaintiff a mop to clean or sanitize the germs left from the flood until 3:00pm that day, leaving Plaintiff exposed to the raw sewage and toxic smells for another eight hours.
Defendant Sheriff Lakin and Defendant Captain Bost (superintendent of the Jail) were aware of the recurring sewage backup and flooding problems, and refused to do anything to fix the situation (Doc. 1, p. 10-13). Further, Defendants Lakin and Bost refused to clean the officers' walkway, which is attached to the cell block, after the flooding incidents (Doc. 1, pp. 13-14). As a result, there is a "black mold raw sewage [illegible] line 4-6 inches up the wall" surrounding Plaintiff's housing unit, which has never been cleaned since before the first sewage backup incident (Doc. 1, p. 14).
Defendants Blankenship and Major did not give Plaintiff proper medical attention for his various exposures to the raw sewage (Doc. 1, pp. 10-14).
Plaintiff seeks monetary damages against all 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.
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. 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 (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).
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 ...