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West v. Unknown Party

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 12, 2016

KENTES WEST, Plaintiff,
v.
UNKNOWN PARTY, and S. BEBOUT, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Kentes West is currently incarcerated at the Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois. (Doc. 2 at 1.) Proceeding pro se, West previously filed a Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that separate groups of officials violated his constitutional rights in several different ways during his time at Menard. (Id. at 13-14.) West's original Complaint was severed into nine cases, including the above-captioned case. (Doc. 1 at 10.)

         The instant case concerns whether an unknown person violated West's rights when he destroyed his property, whether the same or another unknown person violated West's rights when he charged West money for the repairs of that property and whether Internal Affairs Officer Bebout violated his rights by making false statements about the damage to West's property. This case also concerns whether Bebout violated West's rights when she allowed him to be housed next to a particular inmate at Menard. (Id.) West seeks money damages. (Doc. 2 at 38.)

         This matter is now before the Court for a review of West's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 1915A, the Court shall review a “complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a government entity.” During the § 1915A review, the Court “shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, ” if the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim” or if it “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune.”

         Background

         Although West's Complaint is thirty-nine pages in length, the narrative portion of it which pertains to this severed case is only a few pages long.[1] (Doc. 2 at 33, 34, 35, 37.) In those pages, West alleges that he returned to Menard Correctional Center on August 26, 2015 and was told that some of the electronic property that had been left in his cell had been damaged. (Id. at 33-34.) West claims that an unknown staff member damaged the fan and possibly another piece of his property, but that other staff members falsely claimed that his remaining property was damaged in an effort to make him pay unnecessary repair fees. (Id. at 34.). West insists that Internal Affairs Officer Bebout joined in this subterfuge by making false statements in unspecified reports. (Id.)

         West also alleges that, since his return to Menard in August 2015, he has been placed in a housing gallery where he routinely sees an inmate worker with whom he had previous verbal and physical altercations. (Id. at 33.) West filed a number of grievances about this placement but prison officials did not respond. As a result, he became depressed and was placed on a suicide watch in October 2015. (Id. at 35.) By early December 2015, West filed another grievance concerning his housing assignment. (Id.) On December 24, 2015, he met with Internal Affairs Officer Bebout for an unspecified reason and Officer Bebout told him that he had “made his bed” and that Bebout and her husband, who was a corrections officer at the prison, did not like West because he went on hunger strikes and required suicide watches in the past. (Id.)

         On January 5, 2016, West was moved to another cell next to an inmate at Menard named White. (Id. at 37.) West claims that this move occurred shortly after he spoke with Internal Affairs Officer Bebout about White and told her he was “into it” with him. (Id.) West references an altercation that occurred between him and two other inmates in July 2015. (Id. at 28.) The two inmates were evidently associates of White's and after the assault, White told West that he “got down” on his buddies and that he would “be got for that.” (Id. at 29.) At the end of July 2015, White threw feces in front of West's cell and blamed the throw on West-an action that led a number of corrections officers in West's wing to harass him. (Id. at 29-30.)

         Discussion

         Turning to the substantive allegations in West's severed action, the Court finds it proper to divide the claims in the Complaint into the following counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by the Court. The Court will conduct a preliminary review of each count in turn.

COUNT 1: Unknown guards at Menard violated West's constitutional rights when they destroyed his property and falsely claimed that other property was destroyed, and Internal Affairs Officer Bebout joined in this violation by making false statements about the status of West's property.
COUNT 2: Internal Affairs Officer Bebout violated West's rights when she told him that she did not like him for his recent behavior.
COUNT 3: Internal Affairs Officer Bebout violated West's rights by failing to protect him from the White cell ...

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