United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ALEXANDER OSBORNE, No. N64390 Plaintiff
RUSSELL J. GOINS, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE United States District Judge
an inmate at the Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of
his constitutional rights with respect to his dreadlocks
being shaved off his head by the defendant prison officials.
Plaintiff seeks declarative relief, injunctive relief and
damages. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary
review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
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.
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
28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
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, 590 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). 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, 129 S.Ct. 1937,
1949 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept
factual allegations as true, 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. Rodriguez v.
Plymouth Ambulance Service, 577 F.3d 816, 821
(7th Cir. 2009).
is a 59 year-old man. He suffers from Hepatitis C, diabetes,
osteoporosis and neuropathy. (Doc. 1, p. 4). He has limited
movement and needs assistance, for which he is assigned an
inmate helper. (Doc. 1, p. 4-5). Plaintiff also uses a
wheelchair to get around. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
has been a Rastafarian for more than 30 years. (Doc. 1, p.
5). It is against Plaintiff's religious beliefs to cut or
comb his hair. (Doc. 1, p. 5). On December 26, 2013,
Defendant Goins issued Plaintiff a direct order to cut his
dreadlocks. (Doc. 1, p. 7) (Doc. 1-1, p. 5). He told
Plaintiff if he removed the dreadlocks on his own, he could
keep his prison job. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff responded that
he was a Rastafarian and could never cut or comb his hair due
to his religious beliefs. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Goins then issued
an inmate disciplinary report (“IDR”) and
instructed Defendant Buchner to escort Plaintiff to
segregation. (Doc. 1, p.7). Plaintiff was disciplined with
one month C grade and 1 month segregation on December 30,
2013. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5).
December 28, 2013, Defendant Lamb came to Plaintiff's
segregation cell and asked Plaintiff to cut his dreadlocks.
(Doc. 1, p. 7) (Doc. 1-1, p. 6). Plaintiff once again refused
on religious grounds. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Defendant Hodge then
called Plaintiff to the internal affairs office and tried to
convince him to cut his hair by promising to allow him to
keep his prison job in the kitchen. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff
informed Hodge that his religious beliefs prohibited him from
cutting his hair and that there were recent court rulings
against forcible cutting. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Hodge said he would
call out the tactical team to make Plaintiff cut his hair.
(Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff was issued an IDR for this incident
and on January 1, 2014, was disciplined with 1 month C grade
and 1 month segregation. (Doc. 1-1, p. 6).
December 31, 2013, Defendant Zollars came to Plaintiff's
cell and asked him again to cut his dreadlocks. (Doc. 1, p.
8) (Doc. 1-1, p. 7). This time, the tactical team was called
out. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff was placed in mechanical
restraints, sprayed with pepper spray and his hair was cut
off. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Defendants Harper, Ginder, Jenkins,
Stout, Vaughn and Carie were on the tactical team. (Doc. 1,
p. 8). The team also jumped on Plaintiff, slammed their
shields down on his back and ran his head into the wall.
(Doc. 1, p. 8). They cut off his eyebrows along with his
hair. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff was in serious pain and could
not breathe because of the pepper spray, but the
above-mentioned defendants denied him medical treatment.
(Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff alleges that this amount of force
used was unnecessary, as he already suffers from medical
aliments that make moving around difficult. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
Plaintiff was issued an IDR for this incident as well and
given 1 month C-grade on January 8, 2014. (Doc. 1-1, p. 7).
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide Plaintiff's pro se action
into 4 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. ...