United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. Chief District Judge.
matter is now before the Court for consideration of the First
Amended Complaint (Doc. 12) filed by Plaintiff Airon Winston.
Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Vandalia Correctional
Center (“Vandalia”). He brings this pro
se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for alleged violations of his rights at the Illinois Youth
Center located in Harrisburg, Illinois
(“IYC-Harrisburg”). While awaiting trial on
domestic battery charges at IYC-Harrisburg, Plaintiff claims
that he was sexually harassed by an unnamed officer (Doc. 12,
p. 5). He does not name this individual as a defendant.
Instead, Plaintiff names Warden Price and C/O Craig for
failing to protect him from the unnamed officer. Plaintiff
alleges that the superintendent ordered C/O Craig to investigate
the matter. However, Plaintiff was not satisfied with the
results of the investigation; no disciplinary action was
taken against the unnamed officer, and no action was taken to
separate Plaintiff from him. This caused Plaintiff so much
distress that he pleaded guilty to the domestic battery
charge. He now seeks immediate release from custody and
monetary relief against Warden Price and C/O Craig
Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
First Amended Complaint (Doc. 12) pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. Under § 1915A, the Court is required to
promptly screen prisoner complaints, including amendments
thereto, to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss any portion
of the First 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 § 1915A and shall be dismissed.
did not prepare a statement of claim for his First Amended
Complaint. He included a one-page excerpt from the
Court's Dismissal Order that summarizes the factual
allegations in his original Complaint (see Doc. 10,
p. 2; Doc. 12, p. 5). Apparently pleased with the summary,
Plaintiff now adopts it as his statement of claim in the
First Amended Complaint. The excerpt states:
As a juvenile, Plaintiff was convicted of robbery. He served
his sentence at Illinois Youth Center in Harrisburg, Illinois
(“IYC-Harrisburg”). While on parole, he was
arrested and charged with domestic battery. Plaintiff's
parole was revoked, and he returned to IYC-Harrisburg to
await trial on the new charge.
Plaintiff fully intended to challenge the domestic battery
charge. However, an incident at IYC-Harrisburg caused him to
change his mind. He ultimately entered a guilty plea.
Prior to his criminal trial, a male correctional officer
sexually harassed Plaintiff. The complaint offers no
information about the incident, such as the date it occurred,
the name of the perpetrating officer, or a basic description
of the harassment. However, Plaintiff makes it clear that the
sexual harassment left him feeling fearful and despondent.
From an emotional standpoint, Plaintiff simply could not
prepare a defense in his criminal case.
He reported the harassment to officials at IYC-Harrisburg.
The same day, the superintendent assured Plaintiff that his
complaint would be “handled.” Officer Craig was
assigned to investigate the matter. Rather than taking
disciplinary action against the perpetrating officer, placing
Plaintiff in protective custody, or transferring Plaintiff to
another facility, however, Officer Craig took no action to
protect Plaintiff following the investigation. Not long
thereafter, the perpetrating officer approached Plaintiff in
the chow hall and demanded to know why Plaintiff told on him.
Plaintiff, who was already suicidal prior to this incident,
feared for his life and could not focus on preparing for
trial. He now challenges the judgment of conviction entered
against him and seeks a new trial.
(Doc. 12, p. 5). As compared to his original Complaint,
Plaintiff names no new defendants, sets forth no new factual
allegations, and asserts no new claims against Warden Price
and C/O Craig (id.). The only substantive difference
between the original and amended complaints is his request
for relief. Instead of requesting a new trial (Doc. 1, p. 8),
Plaintiff now seeks immediate release from custody (Doc. 12,
p. 7). He also seeks monetary damages (id. at 7).
the fact that the original and amended complaints are
substantively identical, the outcome of the Court's
§ 1915A screening is predictably the same. Like the original
Complaint, the First Amended Complaint is ...