United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge United States District Court
matter is before the Court for review of Plaintiff's
First Amended Complaint (Doc. 12), filed on May 24, 2016.
Plaintiff is a state prisoner in the custody of the
Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center
(“SWICC”). Under § 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 claims
survive threshold review under § 1915A.
claims arose while he was a pretrial detainee being held in
the Saline County Detention Center (“SCDC”) on
December 21, 2014, shortly after his arrest (Doc. 12, p. 6).
Defendant Riden arrested Plaintiff and took him to the SCDC,
where he was confronted by Defendants Pate and Walker (jail
officers). Defendant Pate ordered Plaintiff to stand against
the wall and take off his belt. Plaintiff complied, and
reached behind his back to give the belt to Defendant Pate
(it appears that Plaintiff was facing the wall at the time).
Plaintiff unintentionally made contact with Defendant
Pate's shoulder. Defendant Walker grabbed Plaintiff and
threw him against the wall so hard that the wind was knocked
out of him. Defendant Pate next ordered Plaintiff to take off
his shoes, and Plaintiff did so. Defendant Pate picked
Plaintiff up and “slammed on [his] head, ”
causing Plaintiff to black out (Doc. 12, pp. 6-7).
awoke in a restraint chair, with blood pouring out of a wound
in the left side of his forehead, and running into his eyes,
mouth, and nose. Plaintiff was taken to a cell (#110) where
no cameras were present. Defendant Officers Boma, Walker,
Pate, and Riden were in the room with him. Defendant Boma
pulled the straps on the restraint chair so tight that
Plaintiff lost circulation and suffered great pain. Plaintiff
yelled out in pain and called for help. The four officers
then proceeded to beat and hit Plaintiff in his face, chest,
and ribs while he remained tied in the restraint chair (Doc.
12, p. 7).
was eventually taken to the Harrisburg Medical Center, where
multiple stitches were used to close his forehead wound. The
next day (December 22, 2014), Plaintiff woke up in a cell
with no mat, no blanket, and dried blood all over his head,
face, and upper chest. His ribs were bruised, he had a cut on
his nose, and his blackened eyes were so swollen that a nurse
had to guide him to the health care department because he
could not see (Doc. 12, p. 8).
tried to get pain pills from the doctor, but was never given
any. He also wrote to the SCDC's Captain Bennett (who is
not a named Defendant) asking for medical attention to get
his stitches removed, but got no response. Months after the
incident, Plaintiff had to remove the stitches himself with a
pair of nail clippers. He was left with a permanent scar.
requests $22 million dollars in damages (Doc. 12, p. 9).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
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.
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: Fourteenth Amendment claim against
Defendants Pate, Boma, Walker, and Riden, for using excessive
force against ...