United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE U.S. District Judge.
Germaine Shaw, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Western Illinois Correctional Center, brings this civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against two
officials at Lawrence Correctional Center who allegedly
failed to protect him from a known risk of assault by his
cellmate in November 2014 (Doc. 1, pp. 1-5). In connection
with this claim, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages against the
two defendants (Doc. 1, p. 6).
Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under §
1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner
Complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The Court is required to 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).
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). Plaintiff's Complaint does not survive
§ 1915A review under this standard and shall be
his incarceration at Lawrence Correctional Center
(“Lawrence”) in November 2014, Plaintiff
requested a housing transfer (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff
explained that he did not get along with his cellmate
(i.e., Inmate Gause) and that he wished to avoid an
altercation. In response to his request, Plaintiff was moved
from Building R-1-B Upper 22 to Building R-1-C Lower 16. Two
days later, Plaintiff learned that he would be transferred
back to Building R-1-B Upper 22, where he would again be
housed with Inmate Gause (id.).
objected to the transfer. He explained that he suffers from a
mental illness and that there would be “trouble”
if Inmate Gause “did or said anything to disrespect or
offend [Plaintiff]” (id.). After Plaintiff was
told that he would be placed in segregation for rejecting the
housing assignment, he reluctantly agreed to move back into
the same cell with Inmate Gause. Soon thereafter, Plaintiff
and Inmate Gause were involved in an altercation. The
Complaint offers no details regarding the events leading up
to the fight or the fight itself. However, Plaintiff alleges
that both inmates were injured and required medical treatment
facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in
this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 8(e) and 10(b), the Court deems it
appropriate to organize the claim in Plaintiff's pro
se Complaint into the following count:
1:Defendants failed to protect Plaintiff from a known risk
of harm in violation of the Eighth Amendment
when they forced Plaintiff to share a cell with Inmate Gause
in November 2014.
parties and the Court will use this designation in all future
pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial
officer of this Court. The designation of this count does not
constitute an opinion as to its merit.
officials have a duty to protect inmates from violence at the
hands of other inmates. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 833 (1994) (internal citations omitted); Pinkston v.
Madry, 440 F.3d 879, 889 (7th Cir. 2006). However, not
every harm caused by another inmate translates into
constitutional liability for the prison official who is
responsible for the inmate's safety. Farmer, 511
U.S. at 834. In order to state a claim based on the failure
to protect an inmate, a plaintiff must show that he was
incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial risk of
serious harm, and the defendants acted with deliberate
indifference to that danger. Id.; Pinkston,
440 F.3d at 889. A plaintiff also must prove that prison
officials were aware of a specific, impending and substantial
threat to his safety, often by showing that he complained to
prison officials about a specific threat to his
safety. Pope v. Shafer, 86 F.3d 90, 92 (7th Cir.
claim fails to pass muster under § 1915A. Neither
defendant is mentioned in the statement of claim (Doc. 1, p.
5). Plaintiff does not even refer to “Defendants”
in general. Instead, he repeatedly uses “they”
when referring to the prison officials who made the decision
to move him back into the same cell with Inmate Gause. The
Court does not ...