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Millerr v. Breeden

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 29, 2016



          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Brian Miller, currently an inmate in Pickneyville Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights for events that occurred at Shawnee 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 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). 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).

         The Complaint

         On November 25, 2014, after the Internal Affairs (“IA”) unit opened an investigation into alleged marijuana use at Shawnee Correctional Center, Plaintiff was placed on investigative status. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff underwent a drug screen, which came back clean. (Doc. 1, p. 7).

         On November 27, 2014, Plaintiff was brought to the IA office for questioning. (Doc. 1, p. 8). He denied all knowledge of contraband smuggling. (Doc. 1, p. 8). The IA officers asked Plaintiff if he had smuggled contraband in during the visit he had over the weekend. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff denied it. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff believes the videos of the visit would exonerate him. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff was questioned again a few days later and he continued to deny that he knew anything about drug smuggling. (Doc. 1, p. 8). The officers told Plaintiff that if he cooperated, he would only get six months segregation. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff agreed to take a polygraph test. (Doc. 1, p. 10).

         On December 15, 2014, before Plaintiff could take the polygraph test, he received a disciplinary ticket for 601-aiding, abetting, attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy, 203- drugs & drug paraphernalia, and 110, impeding or interfering with an investigation. (Doc. 1, p. 11). Approximately one week later, Plaintiff was brought back to IA and “given one last chance to cooperate.” (Doc. 1, p. 12). He was told that the Marion Police were going to pick up his girlfriend for helping smuggle contraband into the institution. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiff continued to express his innocence. (Doc. 1, p. 13).

         On December 23, 2014, Plaintiff was brought before the Adjustment Committee. (Doc. 1, p. 13). He told the Committee that he was innocent and that if he had had any “weed”, he would have smoked it himself. (Doc. 1, p. 13). The Adjustment Committee staff told Plaintiff that he would receive a year in segregation and further stated “It's not up to me, I was told to find you guilty and deliver the sentence; it's out of my hands.” (Doc. 1, p. 13-14).

         Plaintiff was transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center on January 28, 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 14). He was housed in the North Cell House Segregation Unit, 1 gallery. (Doc. 1, p. 14). His cell had a solid door and there were feces and dried blood on the walls. (Doc. 1, p. 14). His request to change cells was denied. (Doc. 1, p. 14). His request for cleaning supplies was also denied. (Doc. 1, p. 14). He did not get any hygiene times. (Doc. 1, p. 15). He developed rashes and bumps on his body due to the filthy environment and the dirty, nasty mattress. (Doc. 1, p. 15). The noise from the other inmates ...

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