United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
WILLIAM A. MALONE, # B-52858, Plaintiff,
JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE United States District Judge
currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”), has brought this pro
se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Some of the matters included in Plaintiff's
Complaint overlap with the claims he raised in Malone v.
Heidemann, et al., Case No. 15-cv-1104-MJR-SCW (S.D.
Ill., filed Oct. 6, 2015). However, Plaintiff also raises a
number of claims unrelated to that earlier-filed case and
includes numerous other Defendants. These claims include
retaliation, inadequate medical care, denial of access to the
law library and excessive force, among others. 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).
names 53 individuals as Defendants in this action as well as
the Orange Crush shakedown team, the Pinckneyville Law
Library, Wexler Health Care Services, the Illinois Department
of Corrections (“IDOC”) and Unknown Parties. The
Complaint spans 90 pages, the majority of which consists of
various documents put forth as exhibits.
statement of claim is only two pages long. It appears to be a
listing of a number of grievances Plaintiff has filed (Doc.
1, pp. 13-14). The narrative consists of 42 individually
dated statements of alleged constitutional violations,
presented in more or less chronological order, encompassing
incidents from September 2013 through September 2015. Most of
these accounts are presented in cursory fashion with little
detail. Some claims identify the particular Defendants
allegedly responsible, but others do not. The Court will
dissect the claims as much as possible for review purposes.
first claim states, “2/13/14 & 1/12/14 -
Retaliation by State Employees for Complaints Filed,
Counselor Fritts.” Plaintiff also mentions another
incident of retaliation on 5/13/14, where he claims a prison
official planted contraband in his cell, but he does not
identify the perpetrator (Doc. 1, p. 13).
number of the statements complain about the action or
inaction of prison medical staff. On 3/1/14, Defendants Brown
and Shah refused Plaintiff's chronic medication, claiming
the IDOC has video footage of Plaintiff playing basketball
(Doc. 1, p. 13). He includes several other incidents
(1/14/14, 1/16/14, 4/14/14, 5/28/14, 10/4/14, and 4/11/15)
where he was not given medication, involving Defendants
Brown, Rector, Marsh Hill and Shah (Doc. 1, pp. 13-14). On
12/1/14, unnamed health care staff “refused to repair
broken tooth emergency” (Doc. 1, p. 14). On 2/1/15,
Defendants Shah, Christine Brown and Stacey Brown
“refused emergency, ” and on 7/14/15, Defendants
Shah and Laura “refused Plaintiff emergency
notes several incidents of loss of his personal property or
funds. On 1/14/14 Defendant C/O Hill witnessed the theft of
$250 worth of Plaintiff's personal property, and on
1/21/14, C/O Bowerman confiscated three of Plaintiff's
detergent bottles. On two occasions (3/22/14 and 6/11/14),
some of his “indigent funds” were
“confiscated” or “stolen” by the
prison administration. He also claims in an entry dated
6/12/14 that the commissary overcharged him by 7% over three
and a half years (Doc. 1, p. 14).
Belford was allegedly responsible for the following
violations; these claims overlap with Plaintiff's
earlier-filed suit now pending in this Court under Malone
v. Heidemann, et al., Case No. 15-cv-1104-MJR-SCW (S.D.
Ill., filed Oct. 6, 2015). On 1/16/14, Defendant Belford told
Plaintiff that he stopped Plaintiff's transfer to another
prison, and that regardless of where Plaintiff was moved, he
or his co-workers would be able to “get” him.
From 9/16/13 onward, Defendant Belford repeatedly spread lies
to other inmates and prison employees, creating a hostile and
life-threatening environment (Doc. 1, p. 13). On 4/22/14,
Defendant Belford attacked Plaintiff in the chow hall,
witnessed by Defendant Lawless (Doc. 1, p. 14). On 6/20/14,
Defendant Belford displayed one of Plaintiff's grievances
and stated that it would look good on his walls at home.
Defendant Lively took the grievance from Defendant Belford,
and Defendants Flatt, Gabby, and Hoff witnessed the incident.
11/19/13 through 1/7/14, Plaintiff claims he had no access to
the law library (Doc. 1, p. 13). Later, on 2/14/15, when an
elevator was broken, he could only access the law library by
sliding on his buttocks up two flights of stairs. On 4/14/15,
he was denied access to the law library again, which may have
affected deadlines (Doc. 1, p. 14).
provides the most detail in describing a 3/24/14 encounter
with the Defendant Orange Crush team. Orange Crush officers
cuffed Plaintiff's hands behind him, pushed his head down
between his knees, and shoved his wheelchair so that his head
and knees hit a brick wall. They poked him in the back with a
blackjack stick, and spit and yelled at him. They kicked his
wheelchair so that it almost tipped over, and grabbed
Plaintiff by the back of his neck to keep the chair upright.
He was forced to remain in the same position for an hour and
40 minutes, during which he had to urinate and defecate on
himself. When he returned to his cell, he learned that all of
his personal property was destroyed (Doc. 1, p. 13).
10/9/14, Defendant Selby destroyed or discarded
Plaintiff's bible concordance, with the approval of
Defendant Malcome. On 7/30/15, Defendant Duvall denied
Plaintiff access to religious services.
further claims that Defendant Selby, on 10/10/14, threatened
to take Plaintiff to segregation if he asked to remain in the
shower for more than 15 minutes.
number of Plaintiff's claims relate to the alleged denial
of rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”). Plaintiff needs a wheelchair to
mobilize. He asserts that as of 10/10/14, the administration
“continues to not provide ADA programs for ADA
[prisoners]” (Doc. 1, p. 14). On 12/1/14, he was
refused proper clothing for winter weather. On 12/30/14,
Plaintiff notes that the prison “refused all ADA's
Plaintiff EEOC jobs for Plaintiff.” Id. On
1/2/15, Defendant Bailey falsely told Plaintiff that ADA
inmates are limited to one shower per week, and threatened
him with segregation if he requested more. On 2/17/15,
Defendant Bailey refused Plaintiff an “ADA
shower.” Id. Finally, on 9/29/15, he states
that IDOC, AFSCME members, and Defendant Wexler HCSC
“conspire[d] against Plaintiff to Gravely Impact
Incarcerated ADA's.” Id.
includes another claim against Defendant Bailey, for issuing
false disciplinary reports (IDR's) against him on
8/29/15. He also accuses Defendants Winberry and Vanzandt of
issuing the false IDR's.
includes several other miscellaneous allegations. He claims
that from 12/13/13 to date, unnamed parties “forced
Plaintiff to reside in hostil[e] life threatening” (he
did not finish the sentence) (Doc. 1, p. 13). For 1/15/14, he
notes, “Violation brunch program forced upon
Plaintiff.” Id. On 1/27/15, an elevator
malfunctioned and dropped eight feet, throwing Plaintiff to
the floor. On 5/5/15, the “Admin. [was] in violation of
witness tampering” (Doc. 1, p. 14). On 7/10/15,
Defendants Groves and Ebbers threatened and intimidated
Plaintiff. On September 28, 2015, “Admin.” placed
violent inmates in Plaintiff's cell.
seeks compensatory and punitive damages (Doc. 1-2, p. 15)
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
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as
to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the
complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice.
Count 1: Retaliation claims against
Defendant Fritts, for taking unspecified action on 1/12/14
and 2/13/14 against Plaintiff because Plaintiff filed
complaints; and against unidentified Defendants for planting
contraband in Plaintiff's cell on 5/13/14;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claims against
Defendants Shah, Christine Brown, Stacy Brown, Rector, Marsh
Hill, and Laura, for deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff's medical needs on multiple occasions between
January 2014 and April 2015;
Count 3: Fourteenth Amendment claim for
deprivation of personal property and/or inmate trust fund
monies without due process on various dates in 2014, against
Defendants C/O Hill, Bowerman, and unidentified Defendants;
Count 4: Eighth Amendment claims and
retaliation claims against Defendant Belford, for threatening
Plaintiff with harm, assaulting him, disseminating
information to other inmates that placed Plaintiff at risk of
harm, and interfering with Plaintiff's grievances; and
against Defendants Lawless, Lively, Flatt, Gabby, and Hoff
for observing these incident(s) and failing to intervene on
Plaintiff's behalf, between September 2013 and June 2014;
Count 5: Claims against unidentified
Defendants for denial of access to the courts/denial of
access to the law library, between November 2013-January
2014, and in February and April 2015;
Count 6: Eighth Amendment excessive force
claim against members of the Defendant Orange Crush team, for
assaulting Plaintiff on March 24, 2014, and forcing him to
remain in his wheelchair until he urinated and defecated on
Count 7: First Amendment claim against
Defendants Selby and Malcome for interfering with
Plaintiff's practice of his religion, by destroying or
discarding Plaintiff's bible concordance on October 9,
Count 8: Eighth Amendment claim against
Defendant Selby for threatening Plaintiff with segregation
over his use of the shower on October 10, 2014;
Count 9: First Amendment claim against
Defendant Duvall for denying Plaintiff access to religious