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Malone v. Fritts

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 7, 2016

WILLIAM A. MALONE, # B-52858, Plaintiff,
C/O FRITTS, and UNKNOWN PARTY, Defendants.


          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court for a status review. Plaintiff is incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center ("Pinckneyville"). On August 29, 2016 (Doc. 9), Plaintiffs original pro se Complaint in this civil rights action was dismissed and several claims were severed, resulting in eight new separate actions. The only claim remaining in the present action is Count 1, summarized by the Court as follows:

Count 1: Retaliation claims against Defendant Fritts, for taking unspecified action on 1/12/14 and 2/13/14 against Plaintiff because Plaintiff filed complaints; and against unidentified Defendants for planting contraband in Plaintiffs cell on 5/13/14.

         Plaintiff was ordered to submit an amended complaint, limited to the claims in Count 1 only, no later than October 3, 2016, in order to proceed with these retaliation claims. Plaintiff was warned that if the amended complaint still failed to state a claim, or if he failed to submit an amended complaint, the entire case would be dismissed with prejudice and the dismissal would count as a strike pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) (Doc. 9, pp. 11, 17-18; Doc. 11).

         On September 29, 2016, Plaintiff submitted a 26-page "Motion to File First Amended Complaint" (Doc. 12). However, he did not submit a separate amended complaint. In keeping with the Court's obligation to liberally construe documents filed by pro se plaintiffs, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Donald v. Cook Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 95 F.3d 548, 555 (7th Cir. 1996), the Court will consider whether the motion itself may be construed as the First Amended Complaint.

         The Motion to File First Amended Complaint (Doc. 12)

         Plaintiff begins by describing a grievance he wrote on September 29, 2011 to complain about another inmate (Hernandez) who had threatened his life and punched him (Doc. 12, pp. 1-3). C/O Bryant failed to take Plaintiff to health care or to write an incident report. The inmate had been moved to another housing area, but recently was placed back on Plaintiffs wing. C/O Bryant and C/O Ebbers failed to take any steps to protect Plaintiff. Plaintiff then requests the Court to order his transfer to Dixon Correctional Center ("Dixon") (Doc. 12, pp. 4, 6). He notes that the above series of events directly resulted from an October 2010 incident where the Pinckneyville Law Library publicly posted information on Plaintiffs criminal case and his father's criminal case, which incited inmates and staff to target him for violence and extortion.

         Plaintiff next turns to a grievance he wrote on February 13, 2013, (Grievance # 2-174-13) regarding retaliation for a prior lawsuit he brought in 2012 against Pinckneyville officials (Doc. 12, pp. 7-9). Defendant Fritts discussed with Plaintiff the basis for his grievance, which involved Plaintiffs fears for his life, prison staff abusing their authority, and contraband found in cells (Plaintiff includes no specific on these matters). Defendant Fritts called Internal Affairs and the Health Care Unit to confirm Plaintiffs complaints. She called in C/O Bryant, who responded that he "F***ed up" (Doc. 12, p. 7). Defendant Fritts then submitted Plaintiff for a transfer to Dixon, and promised she would get him there. However, the transfer was denied on April 5, 2013. Plaintiff also references another lawsuit, Malone v. Goetting, Case No. 13-cv-38 (S.D. 111.), and notes that the defendant(s) in that case (Goettings) controlled the Clinical Services Department and Records Office, suggesting that those defendants had a role in the denial of his transfer (Doc. 12, pp. 8-9).

         Describing still another grievance of March 27, 2013, Plaintiff states he was given a job in the laundry "to ease the sting of not getting Plaintiff out" of Pinckneyville (Doc. 12, p. 9). The inmate (Hernandez) who had previously threatened Plaintiff walked into the laundry while Plaintiff was working there. Hernandez and several other Latino inmates went into the supervisor's office, where they began speaking in Spanish and pointing at Plaintiff. On his way out, Hernandez told Plaintiff that the other inmates knew Plaintiff was a snitch, and he would not be working there long. Soon after this, Plaintiffs co-worker inmates began threatening him, and a group of officers then targeted Plaintiff for shakedowns (Doc. 12, pp. 10-11). For several days in a row, Plaintiff was told not to report to work and his cell was searched repeatedly. Officers Bryant, Ebbers, Belford, and Moyett taunted Plaintiff and falsely announced he was fired from his job for stealing. Plaintiff complained to Defendant Fritts and Counselor Hubbard about these incidents and his concern that his cellmates were threatening to set him up to be removed from the cell and fired from the laundry job (Doc. 12, p. 11). He believes that he was treated in this manner by the officers in retaliation for his lawsuits (Doc. 12, pp. 12-13).

         On May 13, 2013, Plaintiff was sent to segregation based on "false accusations, do [sic] to this Administrations exercising retaliation" (Doc. 12, p. 13). He had previously spoken to Counselor Hubbard about his fears that his cellmates were trying to set him up and plant contraband in his area of the cell. The move to segregation came after C/O Bowerman claimed to have found unauthorized medication in Plaintiffs cell (Doc. 12, p. 15). Plaintiff lists 18 individuals, [1] including Defendant Fritts, whom he alleges were involved in the violations of his rights that were triggered by the Law Library's posting of his and his father's criminal cases (Doc. 12, pp. 15-16). He then references another May 13, 2013, grievance over his refusal to sign a property sheet after he was moved to segregation (Doc. 12, p. 16). He requests relief, specifically the continuation of his medications and "protection from foul play" (Doc. 12, p. 17).

         On August 1, 2013, Plaintiff had been transferred to Dixon on a court writ, and refused to return to Pinckneyville. He was forced to return there and was placed in segregation when he got back (Doc. 12, p. 18).

         Plaintiff filed another grievance on January 21, 2014, complaining about C/O Bowerman, who verbally harassed him, shook down his cell, and threw away his personal property (Doc. 12, pp. 18-19). He requests reimbursement for the destroyed items.

         Finally, Plaintiff again references the February 2013 transfer request prepared by Defendant Fritts (Doc. 12, p. 19). He includes copies of a memorandum from Defendant Fritts, as well as several related documents explaining the denial of numerous transfer requests (Doc. 12, pp. 22-25).

         Merits Review Pursuant to 28 ...

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