United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge
Joseph Price, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brings
this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks nominal
damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief. He also
seeks a preliminary injunction. (Doc. 2). This case is now
before the Court for a preliminary review of the 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
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.
careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits,
the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority
under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to
initial matter, the Court notes that Plaintiff has stated
that he “has no previous litigation history.”
(Doc. 1, p. 3). A review of public records reveals, however,
that Plaintiff does have a prior litigation history: he was a
named Plaintiff in Case No. 96-cv-299-WDS (S.D. Ill. February
9, 2000); and he pursued a habeas action in the Northern
District of Illinois, 07-cv-50111, which he later appealed to
the Seventh Circuit, No. 08-1401. It appears that none of
these cases was dismissed as frivolous, and that Plaintiff
was not assessed a strike by any court. The Court declines to
take up the matter of this discrepancy at this time, although
it may see fit to do so later.
to the events at issue here, Plaintiff had been incarcerated
at Pontiac Correctional Center, an institution solely for
inmates in protective custody (“P.C.”). (Doc. 1,
p. 3). Plaintiff was transferred to Menard Correctional
Center on February 19, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Plaintiff was
initially housed on intake P.C. status, but was told that he
would have to begin the process again if he wanted to stay on
P.C. (Doc. 1, p. 3).
February 22, 2016, Plaintiff met with Defendants Cowan and
John Doe #2 and explained to them why he needed P.C.
placement at Menard. (Doc. 1, p. 3-4). Plaintiff told Cowan
and Doe #2 that he had saved the life of Counselor Farris in
1984, thus drawing the ire of the gang that attacked her.
(Doc. 1, p. 4). He also explained that he had worked as an
informant for the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Bureau when
he was out on the street. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff raised
his various medical issues, including limited sight and
hearing, chronic pain from an old gunshot wound, and Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff
believes that his medical issues make it impossible for him
to physical defend himself if attacked. (Doc. 1, p. 4).
Plaintiff also told Cowan and Doe #2 that the Black Souls
gang had a hit on him and that another inmate, Spivey, a/k/a
“Mississippi, ” had told Plaintiff that Plaintiff
had not been forgotten by Spivey or the Black Souls gang.
(Doc. 1, p. 4). Despite this information, Cowan and Doe #2
recommended that Plaintiff's request for protective
custody be denied, and Kimberly Butler, the warden at Menard
at the time, concurred in the denial. (Doc. 1, p. 4).
then appealed the issue to the Administrative Review Board
(“ARB”). (Doc. 1, p. 4). On April 27, 2016,
Plaintiff had a telephone conference with ARB chairperson
Debbie Knaur. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Jason Rednour was also present,
but he did not participate in the proceedings. (Doc. 1, p.
5). Plaintiff raised the same issues with Knaur that he had
previously raised, including the incident with Farris and his
work for the ATF Bureau. (Doc. 1, p. 5). The ARB denied
Plaintiff's appeal the same day. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
was then transferred from P.C. to the North 2 cell house on 1
gallery at Menard. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Rednour worked on that
gallery, and Plaintiff observed him talking to other officers
and inmates about what Plaintiff had said during his
telephone call with the ARB (Doc. 1, p. 5). Rednour
specifically identified Plaintiff to staff and inmates as a
stool pigeon and made fun of him because of his hearing
difficulties. (Doc. 1, p. 6). As a result of these comments,
other inmates have ...