United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MARVIN C. SMITH, Plaintiff,
C/O FISHEL, C/O MARSHAL, STEVE GANS, WAINER DARRYL, JOHN BALDWIN, SARA JOHNSON, et al. Defendants.
MERIT REVIEW OPINION
MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this case pro se from the Hill Correctional Center. The
case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. This statute requires the Court to review
a complaint filed by a prisoner to identify the cognizable
claims and to dismiss part or all of the complaint if no
claim is stated.
reviewing the Complaint, the Court accepts the factual
allegations as true, liberally construing them in
Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 649 (7th Cir. 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)(quoted cite
alleges that on February 26, 2016, around 6:00 a.m., he was
attacked by another inmate who came out of nowhere while
Plaintiff was returning from the health care unit. Plaintiff
was knocked unconscious, suffering injuries to his face and a
fractured right shoulder and collar bone which required a
trip to the hospital. According to the decision from the
Administrative Review Board attached to the Complaint, a
“mass line was returning to D Wing” as Plaintiff
was returning from healthcare.
seeks to hold Officers Fishel and Marshal liable for this
attack, alleging that they were grossly negligent. Plaintiff
alleges that Officer Fishel failed to watch the wings to
ensure no inmates were hiding in the day room during lock up.
Officer Marshal allegedly failed to ensure that all inmates
were secured in their cells and failed to make sure that the
area was secured before allowing each wing to exit. Plaintiff
maintains that the rest of the Defendants are liable because
they failed to find in Plaintiff's favor on his
Eighth Amendment prohibits the cruel and unusual punishment
of prisoners. Negligence by a prison official, even gross
negligence, does not arise to punishment under the Eighth
Amendment. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 826
(1994)(“[T]he failure to alleviate a significant risk
that an official should have perceived but did not, while no
cause for commendation, cannot be condemned as the infliction
of punishment under the Court's cases.”);
Borello v. Allison, 446 F.3d 742 (7th
Cir. 2006)(no deliberate indifference where prison guards
might have been negligent in failing to move inmate out of
cell with mentally ill roommate)(“Defendants may have
acted negligently by not moving Plaintiff to another cell.
But as we have repeatedly stated, ‘[m]ere negligence or
even gross negligence does not constitute deliberate
indifference.'”)(quoted cite omitted). A negligence
claim arising from these facts would be based on state law
and would need to be pursued in the Illinois Court of Claims.
See, e.g., Faircloth v. State of Illinois, 55
Ill.Ct.Cl. 275 (2002)(awarding $10, 000 to injured inmate
where guards were negligent in allowing general population
inmates unsupervised in the same tunnel with protective
state a claim under the Eighth Amendment, Plaintiff's
factual allegations must allow a plausible inference of
deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious
harm, not just negligence or gross negligence. Deliberate
indifference means the prison official was “aware of
facts from which the inference could be drawn that a
substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also
draw that inference.” Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837.
facts alleged by Plaintiff do not allow an inference that
Officers Fishel or Marshal actually knew of a substantial
risk of harm posed to Plaintiff by the inmate who attacked
him or knew that their own conduct created any substantial
risk of harm to Plaintiff. Perhaps Officers Fishel and
Marshal were negligent, or grossly negligent, but, as
discussed above, that is not enough to violate the U.S.
the Defendants who denied Plaintiff's grievance, that
action did not violate the Constitution. “Prison
officials who reject prisoners' grievance[s] do not
become liable just because they fail to ensure adequate
remedies.” Estate of Miller, 847 F.3d 425, 428
short, Plaintiff's complaint does not state a plausible
federal claim for relief. The complaint will be dismissed
without prejudice to filing an amended complaint.
Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed without prejudice for
failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Plaintiff may file an amended complaint by March 27, 2017. If
Plaintiff does not file an amended complaint or
Plaintiff's amended complaint still fails to state a
federal claim, then this action will be dismissed for failure
to state a claim and a strike will be assessed against
Plaintiff pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(g). If Plaintiff files
an amended ...