United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. District Judge.
Alan McCray, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings
this civil rights action pro se pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1). In his complaint, Plaintiff
claims that Menard officials violated his rights under the
First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments (Doc. 1, pp. 1-35).
He also brings a claim under Illinois state law against one
of these officials for intentional infliction of emotional
distress (id. at 24-25). Plaintiff seeks monetary
damages and a prison transfer (id. at 36).
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). The complaint
survives preliminary review under this standard.
complaint is unnecessarily long, unfocused, and confusing
(Doc. 1, pp. 1-36; Doc. 1-1, pp. 1-48). This style of
pleading is strongly discouraged by the Court and by the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which both require “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 8(a)(2) (emphasis added). Long complaints are
difficult to decipher and even more difficult to answer. As a
result, they are more likely than short complaints to be
dismissed for violating the Court's local rules and the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. When it comes to preparing
a complaint, “short and simple” is the rule of
the circumstances, the Court has done its best to organize
the factual allegations in the complaint into a coherent
summary. Likewise, the Court has included a discussion of all
claims it could identify in Plaintiff's complaint. Any
claims not discussed herein are considered dismissed without
prejudice, as are claims against individuals who are not
named as defendants in the case caption of the complaint.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(a) (noting that the title of
the complaint “must name all the parties”);
Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d 551, 551-52 (7th
Cir. 2005) (holding that to be properly considered a party, a
defendant must be “specif[ied] in the caption”).
to the complaint, Plaintiff was disciplined in 2012 for
assaulting a correctional officer at Menard (Doc. 1, p. 5).
He transferred to another facility before returning to Menard
in 2014 (id.). Following his return, Plaintiff
claims that prison officials violated his constitutional
rights in retaliation for the prior staff assault by
subjecting him to the unauthorized use of force in violation
of the Eighth Amendment, unconstitutional conditions of
confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment, inadequate
medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment, the
deprivation of a protected liberty interest without due
process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and
the denial of court access in violation of the First and
Fourteenth Amendments (id.). A summary of the
allegations offered in support of each claim is set forth
Plaintiff arrived at Menard on September 24, 2014, Lieutenant
Richard asked him if he was returning to the prison (Doc. 1,
pp. 5-7). Plaintiff indicated that he was (id. at
5). Lieutenant Richard then handcuffed Plaintiff so tightly
that he lost circulation in his hands as the lieutenant
escorted Plaintiff directly to segregation. When Plaintiff
asked the lieutenant why he was “doing that to him,
” Lieutenant Richard said that he knew what Plaintiff
“had done” (id. at 6). Plaintiff asked
the lieutenant to loosen the cuffs, and, in response,
Lieutenant Richard choked Plaintiff, twisted his handcuffs,
and “snatched” him up into the air. This caused
Plaintiff to scream out in pain. He suffered from soreness
and scratches to his neck and wrists as a result of the
incident (id. at 6-7). He was denied medical
treatment for these injuries. Plaintiff claims that the use
of force against him was excessive and caused him to suffer
from emotional distress.
Disciplinary Ticket and Hearing
Richard then issued Plaintiff a false disciplinary ticket for
yelling at other inmates while standing in line (Doc. 1, pp.
7-13). Warden Butler appointed no one to investigate the
charges, although C/O John Doe 1 signed a statement
indicating that he did (id. at 9-10; Doc. 1-1, p.
3). At Plaintiff's adjustment committee hearing on
September 29, 2014, C/O Brookman and C/O Hart denied his
request to call two witnesses (Doc. 1, pp. 9-11). The
adjustment committee instead accepted the unchallenged
statement of Lieutenant Richard and found Plaintiff guilty of
the rule violation. Plaintiff was punished with three months
of segregation, demotion to C-grade, and commissary
restriction (Doc. 1-1, p. 3).
final hearing summary, C/O Brookman and C/O Hart falsely
stated that Plaintiff never requested witnesses at his
hearing (Doc. 1, p. 11). Warden Butler, Director Godinez, and
Ex-Director Stolworthy are generally aware of this practice
at Menard (id. at 11-13). However, they took no
action to stop it in Plaintiff's case.
Conditions of Confinement
punishment, Plaintiff was placed in segregation for three
months (Doc. 1, pp. 16-24). He was housed in a filthy,
“condemned cell” (id. at 16). There were
hairballs on the floor and feces and blood smeared across the
walls (id. at 17-18). Ants and flies infested the
cell. When Plaintiff asked Lieutenant Richard and an officer
in the North-2 Cell House for cleaning supplies, both
individuals denied his request (id. at 17).
was also denied a mattress, sheets, and a pillow
(id. at 18-19). He had to sleep on a steel bed,
which caused him to suffer back pain (id. at 19-20).
In addition, he was denied access to his fan as temperatures
outside soared (id. at 19).
cell lacked running water, a working toilet, and toilet paper
(id. at 16-24). Plaintiff's lack of access to
drinking water caused him to experience symptoms of
dehydration, including dark urine, headaches, and muscle
cramping (id. at 20). Because Plaintiff had no
access to his personal property, he also had no personal
hygiene supplies (id. at 17-18). Plaintiff claims
that Warden Butler, Director Godinez, and Ex-Director
Stolworthy were generally aware of the conditions at Menard
because of a report issued by the John Howard Association,
but they took no action to address the conditions in
Plaintiff's cell (id. at 17, 23).
Denial of Access to Courts
alleges that he was unable to exhaust his administrative
remedies and file suit because the prison's mailroom was
understaffed (Doc. 1, pp. 13-16). As a result, his grievances
were not delivered to the intended recipients or returned to
him. His mail was often delayed or lost.
Officer John Doe 2, Mailroom Supervisor John Doe 3, Warden
Butler, Director Godinez, and Ex-Director Stolworthy were
generally aware of these issues but took no steps to address
them (id. at 14-15). Further, Warden Butler,
Director Godinez, and Ex-Director Stolworthy refused to
provide timely responses to the grievances that Plaintiff
filed to address the constitutional deprivations described in
his complaint (id. at 16).
Denial of Medical Care
throughout Plaintiff's complaint are allegations that
various defendants denied his miscellaneous requests for
medical treatment. For example, Plaintiff alleges that
Lieutenant Richard denied his request for medical care for a
sore and scratched neck and wrists after the lieutenant used
excessive force against him on September 24, 2014
(id. at 25-26).
Jane Doe also denied Plaintiff medical care for his neck
pain, scratches, and dehydration. In addition, he asked her
to treat residual pain in his leg and foot that was
associated with an old gunshot wound (id. at 31).
She simply told Plaintiff that there was not much that she
could do and discouraged him from filing more sick call
requests and grievances. Nurse Doe explained that Wexford
would not authorize treatment of old injuries or refer him to
an outside provider for expensive diagnostic testing
(id. at 31-33). At most, Nurse Doe predicted that
Plaintiff would receive nonprescription pain medication to
treat his pain (id. at 32). Plaintiff continued
filing grievances and was finally seen by an unnamed
individual on February 7, 2016. Just as the nurse warned,
Plaintiff's requests for a referral, diagnostic testing,
and pain medication were denied.
spoke with several other unnamed officers who were assigned
to his gallery and asked them for medical treatment. They
also refused his request for treatment. He stopped several
unidentified nurses who were passing out medication and
reported his injuries. The nurses also declined to treat
Plaintiff (id. at 20, 26).
Butler allegedly ignored emergency grievance filed by
Plaintiff (id. at 26, 28). In them, Plaintiff
described the injuries he suffered when Lieutenant Richard
used excessive force against him. He also described his
symptoms of dehydration that resulted from his placement in a
cell without running water in late 2014 (id. at 28).