United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. Chief District Judge.
Miguel Rico, an inmate in Pontiac Correctional Center, brings
this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that happened at
Menard Correctional Center. Plaintiff seeks declarative
relief and damages. 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
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.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir.
filed this Complaint on August 4, 2016. (Doc. 1). However,
Plaintiff failed to sign the Complaint, and so on September
29, 2016, the Court directed Plaintiff to file a proper
signed Complaint. (Doc. 9). Plaintiff filed an Amended
Complaint with his signature on October 17, 2016. (Doc. 10).
careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits,
the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority
under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to
to the events at issue here, Plaintiff renounced his gang
membership in the Latin Folks by speaking to prison
authorities and giving them information about the Latin Folks
and the Latin Kings. (Doc. 10, p. 2). As a result of this
debriefing, Plaintiff was approved for protective custody.
(Doc. 10, p. 2). Plaintiff alleges that gang members had
placed a verified contract out on his head. (Doc. 10, p. 3).
While in protective custody, Plaintiff was disciplined for a
separate incident and sent to general population segregation
in the North 2 cell house. (Doc. 10, p. 2-3). Plaintiff
alleges that John Doe #4 failed to notify segregation staff
that Plaintiff could not be housed with gang members while in
segregation. (Doc. 10, p. 2-3).
Plaintiff arrived at North 2, he was housed with a Latin King
member known as Abdelhamed. (Doc. 10, p. 3). On July 19,
2014,  Abdelhamed began receiving kites from
other gang members directing him to “smash”
Plaintiff because Plaintiff had dropped out of the Latin
Folks and debriefed. (Doc. 1, p. 4). The notes told
Abdelhamed that if he refused to smash Plaintiff, he would be
beaten for disobeying an order from the gang chiefs. (Doc. 1,
p. 4). Abdelhamed showed Plaintiff the kites and told
Plaintiff he had until 10 pm to get out of their shared cell,
or he would beat Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 4).
stopped the cell house gallery officer, Keith Sanden, and
told him that he had been placed in a general population
cell, and to please check with John Doe #4 and J. Hecht
because he was supposed to be separated from all Latin Folks
gangs in Menard. Sanden replied, “suck it up,
you're not in P.C. now.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff
then explained that he was a former gang member and had
debriefed, and that his cellmate had received kites
instructing him to beat Plaintiff. (Doc. 10, p. 5).
Abdelhamed himself told Sanden that if Plaintiff was not out
of his cell by 10 pm, he would “beat the brakes”
off Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Sanden told Plaintiff he would
check with the cell house Sergeant, John Doe #1. (Doc. 1, p.
5). Plaintiff begged Sanden not to leave him alone with
Abdelhamed or to take him with him, but Sanden told Plaintiff
to “stop whining and acting like a punk.” (Doc.
10, p. 5).
continued to make his rounds. (Doc. 10, p. 5). Abdelhamed
began punching, slapping, and kicking Plaintiff in the face
and body, and Sanden observed the assault. (Doc. 10, p. 5).
Plaintiff cried out for help, but Sanden told him to man-up
and fight back. (Doc. 10, p. 5). Sanden eventually told
Plaintiff that he had discussed the matter with John Doe #1,
and that Doe #1 said he would “look into it.”
(Doc. 10, p. 5). Sanden further told Plaintiff that if
Plaintiff wanted out of the cell, he should fight back and
then Sanden would write them both an incident report for
fighting. (Doc. 10, p. 5). Sanden told Plaintiff that
fighting was the only way he would let Plaintiff out of the
cell with Abdelhamed. (Doc. 10, p. 5).
stopped by Plaintiff's cell several hours later. (Doc.
10, p. 6). Plaintiff explained the entire situation. (Doc.
10, p. 6). He also told Doe #1 that he wanted to file a
grievance on Doe #4, Hecht, and Sanden for their conduct.
(Doc. 10, p. 6). At that time, Plaintiff's lips and eye
were swollen. (Doc. 10, p. 6). Plaintiff asked Doe #1 to
remove him from the cell. (Doc. 10, p. 6). Doe #1 replied
that “you tell me you want to write my staff up, and
get my officers in trouble, are you crazy, Rico? Deal with it
the best you can, I won't help you write grievances or
reports against my officers, have a nice day Mr. Rico.”
(Doc. 10, p. 6). Doe #1 then told Sanden, “let them
fight a little then write them both up for fighting. That
will cover your ass if he writes grievances.” (Doc. 10,
approximately 9:30 pm on July 19, 2014, Sanden made his last
round, and Plaintiff allowed him to see Plaintiff throwing
punches so that Sanden would write an incident report and
remove Plaintiff from the cell. (Doc. 10, p. 7). Sanden
laughed and told Plaintiff you finally “grew some punk
ass balls.” (Doc. 10, p. 7). Plaintiff was beaten and
bruised. (Doc. 10, p. 7). Plaintiff received an incident
report. (Doc. 10, p. 7). He was ultimately disciplined for
the fight, even though he explained the situation to the
adjustment committee. (Doc. 10, p. 7).
was then moved to another cell in the North 2 cell house.
(Doc. 10, p. 7). He had an interview with internal affairs
officer John Doe #2 about the incident with Abdelhamed and
his interactions with Sanden and Doe #1. (Doc. 10, p. 8).
Plaintiff told John Doe #2 that all of the Latin King and
Latin Folk members should have been on Plaintiff's keep
safe from (“KSF”) list. (Doc. 10, p. 8). Doe #2
became angry and told Plaintiff not to tell him how to do his
job. (Doc. 10, p. 8). He then told Plaintiff that Menard did
not have the bed space to create a protective custody
segregation unit, and therefore he had no choice but to
return Plaintiff to general population segregation. (Doc. 10,
31, 2014, Ryan Valleroy brought another inmate, Garcia, to
Plaintiff's cell. (Doc. 10, p. 9). Garcia was a member of
La Raza, a gang affiliated with the Latin Folks. (Doc. 10, p.
9). Valleroy told Plaintiff that Garcia was going to be his
new cellmate, and suggested that Garcia could teach Plaintiff
some lessons about writing grievances on officers and
“how to be a man.” (Doc. 10, p. 9). Plaintiff
then explained to Valleroy about his protective custody
status and how he had renounced and debriefed, and thus
needed to be separated from La Raza members like Garcia.
(Doc. 10, p. 9). Valleroy promised to tell the sergeant, John
Doe #5. (Doc. 10, p. 9). Doe #5 came to Plaintiff's cell,
and Plaintiff explained his situation. (Doc. 10, p. 9). Doe
#5 told Plaintiff that he cannot control the placement
officer, and then directed Valleroy to put Garcia into
Plaintiff's cell. (Doc. 10, p. 9). He also directed
Valleroy to write Plaintiff a ticket if the inmates started
to fight because that way Plaintiff would not be able to
write grievances against the officers. (Doc. 10, p. 9).
Valleroy then placed Garcia in Plaintiff's cell and told
them to “play nice.” (Doc. 10, p. 10).
immediately received two kites telling him that Plaintiff was
a snitch and to “handle” Plaintiff. (Doc. 10, p.
19). At approximately 2:30 pm on July 31, 2014, Garcia
punched Plaintiff in the face and upper body. (Doc. 10, p.
10). Plaintiff began to black out and decided that he needed
to fight back for his own safety. (Doc. 10, p. 10). Valleroy
witnessed the fight. (Doc. 10, p. 10). Doe #5 told Valleroy
not to take Plaintiff to health care, and Plaintiff was moved
to a different cell and given an ...