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White v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 22, 2016



          J. Phil Gilbert United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff William A. White, an inmate in United States Penitentiary Marion (“USP-Marion”), brings this action pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) alleging “torture, negligence, breach of duty of case, [and] intentional infliction of . . . emotional distress.” (Doc. 1, p. 11). 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.3d 816, 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 Defendant United States inflicted post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) on him on three different occasions and exacerbated the disorder on several others. Plaintiff alleges that the initial acts in question occurred between October 17, 2008 and June 8, 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Between October 17, 2008 and December 29, 2009, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Roanoke City Jail in Roanoke, Virginia, and at the Metropolitan Correction Center in Chicago, Illinois (“MCC-Chicago”). (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiff alleges that he was arrested on October 17, 2008. (Doc. 1, p. 16). Upon his arrest, he was subjected to sleep deprivation for a week. (Doc. 1, p. 16). He was placed in a 7 by 7 room with no exterior window under constant bright light. (Doc. 1, p. 16). Plaintiff did not receive hygiene items or clothes. (Doc. 1, p. 16). Plaintiff alleges that a Roanoke City Sheriff deliberately deprived him of sleep on the orders of the U.S. Marshals Service. (Doc. 1, p. 16).

         On November 7, 2008, Plaintiff was transferred to MCC-Chicago. (Doc. 1, p. 16). He was placed in an unheated cell and issued no linens or blankets. (Doc. 1, p. 17). These conditions persisted for five days, and Plaintiff had to survive by wrapping a mattress around himself. (Doc. 1, p. 17). At some point, Plaintiff was transferred to a different cell. That cell flooded with sewage on November 28, 2008. (Doc. 1, p. 17). Plaintiff alleges that he was left in 1 inch of feces for approximately 24 hours. (Doc. 1, p. 17). Plaintiff was placed in a cell overrun by cockroaches at some point between November 7, 2008 and December 29, 2008. (Doc. 1, p. 17). Plaintiff also alleges he witnessed violence against other inmates during this time period. (Doc. 1, p.17).

         Plaintiff was placed in the SHU in May 2009 while being investigated. (Doc. 1, p. 23).

         Between September 1, 2010 and April 20, 2011, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution-Beckley (“FCI-Beckley”) and the MCC Chicago. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Seminole County Jail in Sanford, Florida, from May 20, 2014 until November 26, 2014. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiff arrived at FCI Beckley on April 28, 2010. Plaintiff alleges that he has severe allergies and must take daily medication to avoid developing a chest infection. (Doc. 1, p. 18). At FCI-Beckley, Plaintiff's normal medication, Loratadine, was not available. (Doc. 1, p. 18). Plaintiff developed bronchitis and pneumonia. (Doc. 1, p. 18) After he recovered for those conditions, Plaintiff was prescribed chlorpheniramine. (Doc. 1, p. 18).

         Plaintiff was charged with fighting on September 1, 2010 and taken to the SHU at FCI-Berkley. (Doc. 1, p. 18). Plaintiff alleges he was detained there “long past the time one would typically be detained for fighting.” (Doc. 1, p. 18). While in the SHU, Plaintiff experienced visions of a large black sphere that communicated with him about the origins of humanity. (Doc. 1, p. 19-20). Plaintiff alleges that his letters to his family became incoherent during this period, and when they contacted the facility, the facility did nothing. (Doc. 1, p. 20). Plaintiff eventually returned to MCC-Chicago where he persisted in an unresponsive state, until another inmate suggested that the chlorpheniramine pills were to blame; Plaintiff stopped taking the pills, and his condition improved. (Doc. 1, p. 21).

         Plaintiff was released from custody in 2011. (Doc. 1, p. 21). Plaintiff continued to experience psychiatric difficulties and attributes his behavior during that time to his mental problems. (Doc. 1, p. 21).

         Plaintiff was arrested on June 8, 2012 in Mexico and placed in Federal Detention Center-Miami (“FDC - Miami”). He was placed in the SHU without explanation. (Doc. 1, p. 23). He was then transported to Federal Transfer Center-Oklahoma (“FTC-Oklahoma”) and “black boxed” without explanation. (Doc. 1, p. 23). While at FTC-Oklahoma, Plaintiff was housed in the SHU. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiff was “black boxed” and given SHU housing again while transferred from Federal Correctional Institution Loretto (“FCI-Loretto”) to MCC-Chicago between January 7, 2012 and January 14, 2013. (Doc. 1, p. 23). Plaintiff alleges this happened because he was mistakenly designated a sovereign citizen. (Doc. 1, p. 23-24). Plaintiff was placed in the SHU again from January 23, 2013 until January 26, 2013 at MCC-Chicago without explanation. (Doc. 1, p. 24). Plaintiff was placed in the SHU at Federal Detention Center-Philadelphia without explanation between June 10, 2013 and June 12, 2013. (Doc. 1, p. 24). He was then transferred twice, and placed in secure housing both times at Federal Correctional Institution-Petersburg in Virginia and the Virginia Central Regional Jail between June 12, 2013 and June 19, 2013. (Doc. 1, p. 24).

         Plaintiff was re-incarcerated again on May 13, 2014 in the Seminole County Jail in Sanford, Florida. (Doc. 1, p. 22). Plaintiff was once again placed in a 7 x 7 cell, subjected to light 24 hours a day, and placed under video surveillance that was broadcast through the jail to other inmates and visitors. (Doc. 1, p. 22). Plaintiff's access to hygiene products was minimal, and he was not allowed to shave or cut his hair. (Doc. 1, p. 22). He was not allowed to exercise outside. (Doc. 1, p. 22). Plaintiff entered a 7-day dissociative state that he attributes to these conditions. (Doc. 1, p. 22). He further alleges that Seminole County told him those conditions were “per the U.S. Marshals.” (Doc. 1, p. 22).

         From December 23, 2014 to January 9, 2015, Plaintiff was “black-boxed” in transit and then placed in the SHU at FTC-Oklahoma. (Doc. 1, p. 24). As a result of the method of transit, Plaintiff suffered a wrist injury. (Doc. 1, p. 24). Plaintiff alleges that he was told that he had been “validated” as a gang leader, but Plaintiff ...

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