United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge.
before the Court for consideration is the First Amended
Complaint (Doc. 7) filed by Plaintiff Teaone Bell, an inmate
who is currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center
(“Pontiac”). Plaintiff challenges a disciplinary
ticket he received for sexual misconduct at Menard
Correctional Center (“Menard”) on May 10, 2015
(Doc. 7, pp. 5-6). He takes issue with the fact that a
medical technician issued the ticket, and Menard's
Adjustment Committee relied on her statement to find
Plaintiff guilty of the rule violation. Plaintiff was
punished with one year of segregation, demotion to C-grade
status, and commissary restrictions (id.). Plaintiff
brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against Kimberly Butler (warden), David Evelsizer
(hearing committee chairperson), Terrence Jackson (hearing
committee member), and Nicole Marshall (medical technician)
for depriving him of a protected liberty interest without due
process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment. He seeks
monetary relief (id. at 6).
Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the
First Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Under § 1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen
prisoner complaints, including amended complaints, to filter
out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The
Court is required to dismiss any portion of the amended
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). 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
Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821
(7th Cir. 2009). The First Amended Complaint does not survive
review under this standard and shall be dismissed.
his incarceration at Menard, Plaintiff alleges that a medical
technician, named Nicole Marshall, issued him a disciplinary
ticket for sexual misconduct on May 10, 2015 (Doc. 1, pp. 5,
8). According to the report, Plaintiff “had his penis
outside of the chuck hole fondling
himself” as Marshall made her rounds to pass out
medication on his wing (id. at 9).
attended a disciplinary hearing before Chairperson Evelsizer
and Officer Jackson on May 19, 2015 (id. at 5-6, 9).
Relying on Marshall's observations of Plaintiff, as
described in the disciplinary report, the Adjustment
Committee found Plaintiff guilty of the rule violation.
Marshall's account was uncorroborated by any other
witness. Even so, Plaintiff was punished with one year of
segregation, demotion to C-grade status, and restrictions on
his commissary privileges (id. at 5, 9). On May 21,
2015, Kimberly Butler (warden) approved of the Adjustment
Committee's decision (id. at 6).
now challenges the disciplinary action on due process
grounds. He claims that Marshall lacked authority to issue
the disciplinary ticket because she is not an employee of the
Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”);
Evelsizer and Jackson failed to provide Plaintiff with an
impartial disciplinary hearing because they ultimately relied
on Marshall's statement to find him guilty; and Butler
approved of the recommended disciplinary action (id.
at 5-6). Plaintiff now sues all four defendants for denying
him due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth
Amendment (id.). He seeks monetary damages
(id. at 6)
initial screening order (Doc. 5), this Court identified the
following counts for consideration:
Count 1: Defendants deprived Plaintiff of a protected liberty
interest without due process of law in violation of the
Fourteenth Amendment when they punished him with one year of
segregation following the issuance of a disciplinary ticket
and an unfair disciplinary hearing.
Count 2: Defendants subjected Plaintiff to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement in violation of the Eighth
Amendment when they placed him in segregation for one year.
Count 3: Defendants ignored a known risk that Plaintiff would
attempt to commit suicide in violation of ...