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Davis v. Butler

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 28, 2016



          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Quinten Davis, an inmate in Western Illinois Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that happened at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Plaintiff requests compensatory and punitive damages. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) 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.
(b) 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 such relief.

         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 any reasonable person would find meritless. 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. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Upon careful review of the Amended Complaint and supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

         The Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff originally filed this action on April 12, 2016. (Doc. 1). That Complaint was stricken because a page was missing; it was later refiled. (see Docs. 5, 6). Before the Court could conduct a § 1915A review, Plaintiff moved to amend his Complaint twice. (Doc. 10) (Doc. 11). The Court granted Plaintiff's motions on May 12, 2016. (Doc. 13). The Amended Complaint was filed on May 12, 2016. (Doc. 14). The Court now reviews the Amended Complaint.

         On March 2, 2015, a fight occurred on the Menard prison yard. (Doc. 14, p. 8). As a result of the fight, Plaintiff was placed on investigative status in segregation by Hof and Lee. (Doc. 14, p. 8). Lashbrook and Butler approved this placement. (Doc. 14, p. 9). Plaintiff alleges that no evidence linked him to the fight. (Doc. 14, p. 8). Plaintiff did not receive an investigative report, and he was in investigative segregation for thirty one days before he received a disciplinary report, which was signed by Hof. (Doc. 14, p. 9). Ziegler and Westfall also signed the ticket. (Doc. 14, p. 9).

         Plaintiff alleges that Rubach, who presumably served the ticket, did not give Plaintiff a chance to sign it or allow him to request witnesses. (Doc. 14, p. 9). Plaintiff also alleges that when he originally saw the ticket, it was not signed by the hearing investigator. (Doc. 14, p. 18) He alleges that the original copy of the ticket was altered at a later time to reflect both the hearing investigator's signature and that Plaintiff refused to sign for the ticket. (Doc. 14, p. 9) (Doc. 14-1, p. 15). Plaintiff told the hearing committee that the ticket was deficient, but they ignored the errors. (Doc. 14, p. 12).

         Plaintiff was charged with creating a dangerous disturbance, impeding an investigation, and fighting. (Doc. 14, p. 10). Part of the evidence that the committee relied on was a report that stated that the first time that Plaintiff was interviewed regarding the assault, he stated that he was lifting weights during the fight. (Doc. 14, p. 10). The second time Plaintiff was interviewed, he said that he was on the phone. (Doc. 14, p. 10). The ticket alleged that there was no record of Plaintiff being on the phone, but Plaintiff states that his own records show that he made a ten minute phone call to his brother on that day. (Doc. 14, p. 10) (Doc. 14, p. 22). Plaintiff alleges that inmate witnesses, Lumar Parish and Demetrius Jones, would have testified to his innocence. (Doc. 14, p. 11). Plaintiff received one year segregation, one year revocation of good time credit (since restored), one year C-Grade, and one year commissary restriction. (Doc. 14, p. 10).

         Plaintiff has suffered from anxiety, sleep deprivation, depression, emotional distress, mental breakdowns, and “instabilities, ” for which he takes psychotropic medications. (Doc. 14, p. 12). While in segregation, Plaintiff was exposed to loud noise, including banging and shouting. (Doc. 14, p. 12). He also suffered from loss of privileges, including fewer contact visits. (Doc. 14, p. 12). Plaintiff also was housed in a small cell that lacked adequate ventilation. (Doc. 14, p. 14). The heat was unbearable in the summer. (Doc. 14, p. 14). Plaintiff experienced breathing difficulties and other symptoms, ...

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