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Love v. Harrington

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 11, 2016

RODNEY LOVE
v.
RICHARD HARRINGTON, SHEL STILLWELL-DAVIS, TIMOTHY R. VEATH, and JASON N. HART, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Rodney Love, an inmate in Stateville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that allegedly occurred at Menard Correctional Center. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         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). An action will be dismissed when 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). 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).

         Upon careful review of the Amended Complaint and supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A. Portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

         THE AMENDED COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff filed his original Complaint on August 24, 2015. (Doc. 1). On October 2, 2015, the Court dismissed the Complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim. (Doc. 6). Specifically, the Court found that Plaintiff’s allegations that he was exposed to mold, deprived of his property, lost weight and that a guard threatened violence when his attorney called, did not create a liberty interest. (Doc. 6, p. 5). The Order further found that the conditions described were the actions of individuals who are not parties to this case, the conditions were not atypical per se and that the one-year period, standing alone, did not create a liberty interest. (Doc. 6, p. 6). As the Court found that no liberty interest was implicated, it did not conduct further analysis on Plaintiff’s due process claim. (Doc. 1, p. 6). The Court also rejected Plaintiff’s claim against Shel Stillwell-Davis, because allegations that a defendant wrote a false disciplinary report fail to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (Doc. 6, p. 6). The Court likewise dismissed claims against Richard Harrington and Salvador Godinez on the grounds that Harrington had no notice of the alleged violations and that Godinez was not personally involved. (Doc. 6, p. 6-7).

         Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint on November 3, 2015. (Doc. 7). The Amended Complaint alleges that Defendant Stillwell-Davis generated a false disciplinary report on November 20, 2013 for 103- bribery, extortion and 601- aiding, abetting, attempt, solicitation. (Doc. 7, p. 3). Prior to his hearing, Plaintiff informed the adjustment committee in writing that he wished to call his cellmate, Seith Williams, as a witness.[1] (Doc. 7, p. 3). On November 27, 2013, the Adjustment Committee held a disciplinary hearing during which Plaintiff again verbally requested that the committee call his cellmate. He was told that Williams would not be needed as a witness. (Doc. 7, p. 4). The report also omits Plaintiff’s witness request. (Doc. 7, p. 4). Plaintiff pleaded not guilty. (Doc. 7, p. 4). However, the Adjustment Committee found him guilty, based on Stillwell-Davis’ disciplinary report. Plaintiff received 1 year segregation, 1 year C-grade, 1 year commissary restriction, and a disciplinary transfer. (Doc. 7, p. 5).

         At Pontiac Correctional Center, it is common for inmates to throw urine and feces on each other. (Doc. 7, p. 6). The inmates also engage in verbal abuse of one another, including shouting and beating on desks and cell doors at all hours. (Doc. 7, p. 7). Plaintiff alleges that the shouting kept him from sleeping at night. (Doc. 7, p. 7). Plaintiff was also forced to take his exercise alone, in contrast to at Menard and Stateville, where inmates in segregation can engage in recreational activities with other prisoners, such as basketball, card games, and dominos. (Doc. 7, p. 7).

         DISCUSSION

         Previously, the Court determined that Plaintiff’s ...


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