United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Teaone Bell, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Pontiac Correctional Center (“Pontiac”), brings
this pro se action for alleged violations of his
constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1).
Plaintiff's claims stem from a disciplinary action at
Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”) for which
he lost a number of privileges. He asserts that the
defendants violated his Due Process rights and his Eighth
Amendment rights via deliberate indifference and
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. In connection
with these claims, Plaintiff sues Kimberly Butler (warden),
Kent Brookman (hearing committee chairperson) and Jason Hart
(hearing committee member). Plaintiff seeks monetary
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. Under Section 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.
First Amended Complaint is nearly identical to his original
Complaint (Doc. 1). In short, Plaintiff claims that he was
charged with sexual misconduct and that he appeared before a
hearing committee review panel, denied the allegations and
was found guilty solely based upon the incident report filed
by two prison guards (Doc. 7 at 5). He alleges that the
hearing committee was not impartial and thus his Due Process
rights were violated (Id.). He further claims that
Defendant Butler exacerbated this violation by signing off on
the hearing committee's recommended discipline-six months
of segregation, C-grade status and restricted commissary
most notable addition to the Plaintiff's First Amended
Complaint is the inclusion of additional facts regarding the
conditions of his confinement in segregation (Id. at
6). Plaintiff alleges that his cell had improper climate
control, that he was denied cleaning supplies, that he was
forced to clean the cell by hand with a washcloth to maintain
a semblance of sanitary conditions and that he developed an
armpit boil due to the environment (Id.). However,
Plaintiff does not allege that any of the named defendants
caused or were aware of these conditions (Id.).
Plaintiff maintains that he suffered physical harm of weight
loss, and psychological harm, including suicidal ideation as
a result of these conditions (Id.).
on the allegations, the Court finds it convenient to divide
the pro se complaint into the following enumerated
claims which track the designations the Plaintiff assigned in
his First Amended Complaint (Doc. 7 at 5-6). The parties and
the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings
and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer
of this Court. The designation of these counts does not
constitute an opinion regarding their merit.
Count 1:Fourteenth Amendment Due process
violation for failing to afford the Plaintiff an adequate and
fair opportunity to present evidence on his behalf to refute
charges at a hearing committee hearing;
Count 2:Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment
deliberate indifference claim against Butler for approving
the hearing committee's decision regarding discipline for
the Plaintiff; and,
Count 3:Eighth Amendment unconstitutional
conditions of confinement claim for subjecting Plaintiff to
120 days of disciplinary segregation in a cell without proper
sanitation and ill-equipped for winter and summer weather
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, 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). After carefully considering the allegations in the
First Amended Complaint, the Court finds that Plaintiff's
claims are subject to dismissal under § 1915A.