United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW AND CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER
A. BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, proceeding pro se, a pretrial detainee at
the Knox County Jail, was granted leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. The case is now before the court for a
merit review of plaintiff's claims. The court is required
by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to “screen” the
plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to
identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the
entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient
if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
reviewing the complaint, the court accepts the factual
allegations as true, liberally construing them in the
plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 649 (7thCir. 2013). However, conclusory
statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be
provided to “state a claim for relief that is plausible
on its face.” Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418,
422 (7th Cir. 2013)(citation omitted). The court
has reviewed the complaint and has also held a merit review
hearing in order to give the plaintiff a chance to personally
explain his claims to the court.
plaintiffs filed this lawsuit against administrators at the
Knox County Jail and a member of the Illinois Department of
Corrections' Jail and Detention Standard Unit. Plaintiff
Augusta alleges that he is subjected to lockdowns for 28
hours at a time, forced to sleep on “insufficient
cement” on a flat mat in his cell, and forced to use a
communal bathroom in front of other inmates when allowed out
of his cell. As a result, he alleges injuries to his back,
legs, and arms for having to endure these conditions for more
than eight (8) months. Plaintiff Augusta also alleges he is
not provided with a sufficient amount of food, causing him to
lose 40 pounds. He alleges commissary is expensive. Plaintiff
August alleges that he has been denied visitation with his
family because there are not enough computer screens to
accommodate all inmates, copies of grievances because the
grievance system is now electronic, magazines and newspapers,
and a telephone call with his lawyer. Finally, Plaintiff
alleges that he is charged $5/day for a housing fee and has
not been reimbursed for the times he was later found not
Charles has not yet paid the filing fee or filed a petition
to proceed in forma pauperis. The plaintiffs state
they are filing a class action lawsuit; however, prisoners
proceeding pro se are not allowed to act as class
representatives. See Huddleston v. Duckworth, 97
F.R.D. 512, 514-55 (N.D. Ind. 1983). When a case has multiple
prisoner plaintiffs, each plaintiff must submit a petition to
proceed in forma pauperis or pay the $400 filing fee.
Boriboune v. Berge, 391 F.3d 852, 855-56
(7th Cir. 2004). Plaintiff Charles alleges medical
staff has refused to allow him to see a doctor for his back
injuries and a dentist for his dental problems. Plaintiff
Charles also alleges that he has been placed on lockdown with
Augusta states a claim for unconstitutional conditions of
confinement for the allegations that he is subjected to
28-hour lockdowns with nothing but a flat mat to sleep on for
8 months. Plaintiff Augusta also states a claim for the
alleged lack of sufficient quantities of food, but not as it
relates to the type of food or the manner in which it is
served. Complaints of cold, poorly prepared, or even food
that occasionally contains foreign objects do not rise to the
level of constitutional deprivation. See Drake v.
Velasco, 207 F.Supp.2d 809, 812 (N.D. Ill. 2002) (citing
Hamm v. DeKalb County, 774 F.2d 1567, 1575
(11th Cir. 1985)).
Augusta does not state a claim for the denial of visitation
because of the lack of computers to accommodate every inmate,
or the forced use of communal bathrooms, as such conditions
could be ordinarily contemplated by confinement within the
jail, and therefore not protected by the Fourteenth
Amendment. See Kentucky Dep't of Corr. v.
Thompson, 490 U.S. 454, 461 (1989). In addition,
plaintiff has no constitutional right to a grievance process
and the fact that the jail has chosen to provide one via
electronic means does not implicate constitutional concerns.
Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1430
(7th Cir. 1996). To the extent that plaintiff
alleges he was denied a telephone call to his attorney,
plaintiff alleges only that he would not be able to call
during his attorney's office hours. No inference arises
that Plaintiff Augusta's criminal case was adversely
affected as a result.
Charles states a plausible claim for deliberate indifference
to a serious medical need, however, his claims should be
severed because his claims arise from a separate set of
facts. Plaintiff Charles will also have to pay the filing fee
in full or file a petition to proceed in forma pauperis.
defendants Employees of the Illinois Department of
Corrections, Mike Funk, and Employees of the Knox County
Board will be dismissed. Neither plaintiff is incarcerated in
the Illinois Department of Corrections and Plaintiff makes no
allegations that members of the Knox County Board personally
caused his constitutional deprivation. See Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009); Vance v.
Peters, 97 F.3d 987, 991 (7th Cir. 1996).
Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, the court finds that the Plaintiff Augusta
states an Eighth Amendment claim for conditions of
confinement against defendants David Clague and Lou Glossip.
Any additional claims shall not be included in the case,
except at the court's discretion on motion by a party for
good cause shown or pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
case is now in the process of service. The plaintiff is
advised to wait until counsel has appeared for the defendants
before filing any motions, in order to give the defendants
notice and an opportunity to respond to those motions.
Motions filed before defendants' counsel has filed an
appearance will generally be denied as premature. The
plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the court at this
time, unless otherwise directed by the court.
court will attempt service on the defendants by mailing each
defendant a waiver of service. The defendants have 60 days
from the date the waiver is sent to file an answer. If the
defendants have not filed answers or appeared through counsel
within 90 days of the entry of this order, the plaintiff may
file a motion requesting the status of service. After the
defendants have been served, the court will enter an order
setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.
respect to a defendant who no longer works at the address
provided by the plaintiff, the entity for whom that defendant
worked while at that address shall provide to the clerk said
defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said
defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be
used only for effectuating service. Documentation of
forwarding addresses shall ...