Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Black v. Bennett

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 12, 2016

RODNEY EUGENE BLACK, Plaintiff,
v.
BRIAN BENNETT, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. Phil Gilbert United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Rodney Black, a pretrial detainee at the Saline County Jail in Illinois, brings this pro se action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 15). Black's allegations relate to his 10-hour placement in a holding cell without adequate resources and his placement in segregation without due process. In connection with his claims, Black names defendant Brian Bennett, a captain at the Saline County Jail. This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         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).

         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). 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).

         Applying these standards, the Court finds that Black fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and thus, his Complaint is dismissed in its entirety.

         The Complaint

         Black alleges that on September 26, 2015, defendant Bennett placed him in a “drunk tank” holding cell wearing only his boxers (Doc. 15 at 5). Black alleges that he was forced to remain in the cell without a bathroom, hygiene items, personal items, or legal materials (Id.). He also claims that he was emotionally traumatized and he was denied medical care (Id.). He indicates that there was a hole in the floor for a bathroom, but that for some reason he was forced to urinate on himself (Id.).

         Separate from the “drunk tank” incident, Black alleges that Bennett placed him in solitary confinement from April to September 15th without due process such as a charge, a hearing, or an out date (Id.). In connection with is claims, Black seeks monetary compensation (Id. at 6).

         Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         Based 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: Conditions of confinement claim for being placed in a holding tank cell for 10 hours without clothing, hygiene materials, or legal materials;
Count 2: Conditions of confinement claim for being deprived of psychiatric care while in the holding tank for 10 hours; and,
Count 3: Due process deprivation for placement in solitary confinement from April through September with no charges, hearing, or end date.

         As an initial matter, Black is a pretrial detainee, so he is not yet eligible to bring claims under the Eighth Amendment. However, the Seventh Circuit has found that claims by pretrial detainees may be assessed under the Fourteenth Amendment, and that it is “convenient and entirely appropriate to apply the same standard to claims arising under the Fourteenth Amendment (detainees) and the Eighth Amendment (convicted prisoners) without differentiation.” See Board v. Farnham, 394 F.3d 469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005) (internal citation ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.