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Bradley v. Williams

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

October 12, 2016

Deandre Lasean Bradley 2015-0120253, Plaintiff,
Tarry Williams, et al., Defendants.


          AMY J. ST. EVE United States District Court Judge.

         The pending motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim filed by Defendants Tarry Williams, C/O Gowdy and C/O Bonds [50] is granted in part and denied in part. Plaintiff's motion for attorney representation [74] is denied without prejudice. This case remains set for status for Monday, October 17, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. Defendant Lt. K. Young, whose answer is overdue [see 73], is instructed to file his responsive pleading by October 17, 2016.


         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Deandre Lasean Bradley, a prisoner in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections, filed this pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action, alleging that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his safety. [15] In an order dated November 2, 2015, the Court found that Plaintiff's amended complaint stated a colorable claim for failure to protect against Defendants Lt. K. Young, Tarry D. Williams, C/O Gowdy, C/O Bonds, and six John Doe Defedants. [14][1]

         On June 7, 2016, Defendants Williams, Gowdy, and Bonds moved to dismiss the amended complaint, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), on the basis that: (1) the complaint fails to allege Defendants' conduct constituted deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Plaintiff; (2) the complaint fails to allege a plausible constitutional claim against Defendants; and (3) the complaint fails to state a claim against Defendants in their official capacity. [50] Plaintiff filed a response. [69] Defendants filed a reply. [72] For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         II. Facts

         The amended complaint alleges that in February 2015, Lt. K. Young moved Plaintiff out of his cell and placed him with a prisoner he knew posed a risk to Plaintiff's safety. Lt. K. Young allegedly did this in response to Plaintiff's writing a Valentine's Day letter to a female correctional officer. [15 at ¶ 4] Young knew the cellmate, who was serving a ninety-five year sentence, was a threat to Plaintiff's safety because, approximately one week prior, Young had witnessed the cellmate and Plaintiff get into a verbal altercation. [Id.] When Plaintiff was placed in the cell with the inmate, the inmate indicated that he would kill Plaintiff before Plaintiff was moved out of the cell. [Id. at p 5] For several days, the inmate continued to threaten Plaintiff. [Id.]

         On February 16, 2015, Plaintiff “wrote a grievance stating what [he] was going through with [his] cellmate[, ] the threats, the previous altercation, being in fear of [his] life constantly.” Plaintiff marked the grievance an emergency so that it would be “responded to swiftly.” Plaintiff alleges that he waited over a month, but received no response. [Id.] Plaintiff claims that Williams receives all grievances that are marked “emergency.” [Id. at p 9]

         Plaintiff wrote letters to counselors and passed notes to correctional officers explaining the situation with the inmate. Nothing happened. The inmate's behavior grew worse and, on March 19, 2015, the inmate took a swing at Plaintiff but missed. The inmate continued to make statements that placed Plaintiff in fear for his safety.

         At some point, Plaintiff asked C/O Gowdy if he could speak with “a sergeant, lieutenant, crisis team member, anyone that could help [him].” [Id.] When asked why, Plaintiff indicated to C/O Gowdy that he was having a mental breakdown and needed help.” Plaintiff alleges that he told C/O Gowdy this because he did not want to “tip [his] cellmate off.” [Id.] Plaintiff also slipped C/O Gowdy a note “stating everything that was going on about the previous altercation, with what [his] cellmate was planning to do as far as pushing a C/O off the third gallery and his threats and attempts to assault me.” [Id.] C/O Gowdy looked at Plaintiff and laughed, told Plaintiff that was not going to happen, and walked away. [Id. at p 6-7] Plaintiff alleges that during the 3-11 shift that same day and the 7-3 shift the following day, he also wrote six John Doe correctional officers “the same type of note.” Plaintiff also passed a note to C/O Bonds. [Id. at p 7] Nothing happened.

         On March 19, 2016, Plaintiff submitted an “emergency” grievance, complaining, among other things, that he was having a mental breakdown. This grievance also indicated that Plaintiff's cellmate “[was] trying to hurt [him]” and “[he] need[ed] to get out of [the] cell.” [Id. at attach.]

         On Sunday, March 22, 2015, Plaintiff “reminded” C/O Bonds about the letter he had given to him. Nothing happened. [Id. at 7] At some point, after having received no response to his pleas for assistance, Plaintiff cut his own arm so that he would be removed from the cell. When a nurse saw what Plaintiff did, she ran and got help and Plaintiff was removed from the cell. [Id.]

         III. Legal Standard

         A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is meant to “test the sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the merits” of the case. Gibson v. City of Chi., 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted). In evaluating a motion to dismiss, we must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Cole v. Milwaukee Area Tech. Coll. Dist., 634 F.3d 901, 903 (7th Cir. 2011); Thompson v. Ill. Dep't. of Prof'l. Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002). Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a complaint must include a short and plain statement of the claim, showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Accordingly, a court may grant a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) ...

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