United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE United States District Judge
currently incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center
(“Stateville”), has brought this pro se
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His
claims arose while he was briefly confined at Menard
Correctional Center (“Menard”). Plaintiff is
serving a 39-year sentence for a sex offense. Plaintiff
claims that several prison guards, whose identities he does
not know, used excessive force against him soon after his
arrival at Menard. The Complaint is now before the Court for
a preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must 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).
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 Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751
(7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
these standards, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s claim
survives threshold review under § 1915A.
April 22, 2015, Plaintiff was convicted of a felony in Perry
County, Illinois. The following day, he was transferred from
the county jail to Menard. When Plaintiff entered the guard
shack at Menard, Defendant Officer #1 asked him what charge
he was convicted of, and the age of the victim (Doc. 1, p.
5). When Plaintiff answered, Defendant #1 called him a
“sick bastard.” Id. Defendant #1 then
instructed Plaintiff to follow him inside the guard shack,
where he ordered Plaintiff to “drown himself” in
a filthy toilet (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff dunked his head in
the toilet water while Defendant #1 laughed and mocked him.
of inmates entered the area, and Defendant #1 told them about
Plaintiff’s conviction. Defendant #1 then ordered
Plaintiff to follow him outside, where Defendant Officer #2
came on the scene and was informed of the nature of
Plaintiff’s offense by Defendant #1.
#2 picked Plaintiff up off the ground, slammed him against a
chain-link fence, and screamed obscenities at him. Defendant
#2 patted Plaintiff down for contraband and purposely struck
Plaintiff in the genitals (Doc. 1, p. 7). He then
“man-handled” Plaintiff into a cell house in
front of several other officers, including a Lieutenant. None
of these officers did anything to stop Defendant #2’s
rough handling of Plaintiff. Id.
#2 informed the group of officers about Plaintiff’s sex
offense conviction. The Lieutenant (who shall be referred to
herein as Defendant #3) then took Plaintiff into a small
room, where a “large African American inmate” was
waiting. Defendant #3 told the inmate about Plaintiff’s
conviction charge, then left the room and closed the door.
The inmate severely beat Plaintiff, injuring his left eye,
jaw, and ribcage. After he finished beating Plaintiff, the
inmate opened the door and let Defendant #3 back into the
room. Defendant #3 had Plaintiff follow him back outside the
cell house, where a group of officers were laughing as if
they knew Plaintiff had just received a beating.
officer (Kelly Dale or Dare) took Plaintiff to the clothing
warehouse. On the way, she told him that he should hang
himself with a sheet to do everybody a favor (Doc. 1, p. 8).
She later took him to the health care unit, where a nurse
noticed that Plaintiff had marks under his left eye and on
his neck. The nurse called Internal Affairs
(“IA”), and Plaintiff reported the attack to
them. Plaintiff said he was feeling suicidal, which led to
him being placed on a crisis watch.
in the afternoon, Plaintiff was interviewed by two IA
officers. Another official asked Plaintiff if he would feel
safer if he were moved North to Pontiac or Stateville, and
Plaintiff agreed that he would. At around 4:00pm that day
(the same day of the beating), Plaintiff was transferred away
now seeks damages and a transfer to a medium-security prison
or to protective custody in Pontiac Correctional Center (Doc.
1, p. 14).
Review Pursuant to 28 ...