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Smith v. Baldwin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 9, 2016

MACK SMITH, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN BALDWIN, JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, FURLOW, DONALD E.J. WANACK, JOHN DOE 1, JOHN DOE 2, JOHN DOE 3, JOHN DOE 4, JOHN DOE 5, and JOHN DOE 6 Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Mack Smith, an inmate in Pickneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and declarative relief. 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 such relief.

         An 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.3d816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges that on April 25, 2016 at approximately 12:30 pm, he participated in a House 5 recreation period in Cage #2. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Defendant Wanack and John Does #1-6 came out to inform the prisoners that the recreation period was over. (Doc. 1, p. 3). At that time, several of the other inmates became rowdy and started taunting Wanack. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Those inmates refused to come to the gate to cuff up. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Plaintiff stands 6 feet 7 inches tall, and to avoid an altercation, went to the gate to cuff up first. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Plaintiff assumed the cuff-up position by placing his hands behind his back, stooping, and placing his hands in the chuck hole slot to be handcuffed, (doc. 1, p. 3).

         When Plaintiff placed his hands in the chuck hole, Wanack stated, "Not you!" (Doc. 1, p. 4). Wanack then inserted his hand into the chuck hole slot and pushed Plaintiff away. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff felt Wanack's fingers "touch the crease of his buttocks." (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff immediately hopped up and asked Wanack, "What the fuck did he think he was doing?" (Doc. 1, p. 4). Wanack laughed and said "Did I go deep enough?" (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff then began telling Wanack that he was a grown man and not a homosexual and did not participate in homosexual activities. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Wanack told Plaintiff that he was "not going to have this childish conversation. . ." (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff felt violated by the encounter. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff alleges that John Does #1-6 watched the incident, but did not intervene. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance with Defendant Lashbrook on April 27, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Defendant Furlow conducted an internal affairs investigation into the matter. (Doc. 1, p. 6). On July 9, 2016, Plaintiffs grievance was returned to him and his allegations of sexual assault were found unsubstantiated. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into three counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial ...


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