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Jones v. Adamson

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 6, 2017

CLIFFORD JONES, # M-42078, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER ADAMSON, OFFICER BANGERT, OFFICER JOHNSON, and UNKNOWN PARTY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          David R. Herndon, Judge

         Plaintiff Clifford Jones, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center (“Pontiac”), brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his Eighth Amendment rights at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”). (Doc. 1). In the complaint, plaintiff claims that Officer a subjected him to the unauthorized use of force on December 17, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Officers Bangert and Johnson allegedly failed to intervene and protect him. Id. All three officers and an unknown nurse (“Nurse Jane Doe”) then denied him medical treatment for his injuries. Id. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages against the defendants for their alleged violations of his Eighth Amendment rights. (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         The complaint (Doc. 1) is now subject to preliminary review under 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 supporting exhibits, the Court deems it appropriate to dismiss certain portions of this action. The Complaint otherwise survives screening under § 1915A.

         Complaint

         During his incarceration at Lawrence on December 17, 2016, plaintiff asked to speak with a member of the prison's crisis team about mental health issues that he was experiencing (Doc. 1, p. 5). In response, Officers Adamson and Bangert escorted him to the shower area. Id. There, he waited in a shower for his meeting with a crisis counselor. Id.

         After the meeting, plaintiff was informed that he would be relocated to a cell on the lower tier of the C Wing. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff objected to this transfer decision. Id. He explained that he had “words” with another inmate who was housed there. Id.

         Officer Adamson told plaintiff that he would be transferred there “whether [he] liked it or not.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). When plaintiff asked to speak with a lieutenant, Officer Adamson stated, “Don't make me come drag you outta [there].” Id. When plaintiff again asked to speak with a lieutenant, Officer Adamson used his key to open the shower door, dragged plaintiff in “a very aggressive manner, ” slammed him to the floor, and repeatedly punched him in the face. Id. Then, the officer placed plaintiff in a chokehold while he was cuffed behind his back. Id.

         Officers Bangert and Johnson stood watching. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff screamed for help. Id. In response, they smiled and told plaintiff that he had to learn his lesson. Id. Both officers refused to intervene. Id.

         Officer Adamson then picked plaintiff up by the cuffs and removed them. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He instructed plaintiff to step out of the shower and walk to Cell #19. Id. Plaintiff refused, instead asking for medical treatment for undisclosed injuries. Id. The prison's “orange crush” tactical team came to the area and ordered plaintiff to exit the shower and walk to Cell #19. Id. He tried to tell them what Officer Adamson had done, but the team members would not listen. Id. They eventually sprayed him with pepper spray. (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 9-10).

         Plaintiff asked Officer Johnson if he could at least get “decontaminated, ” and the officer denied his request. (Doc. 1, p. 5). An unknown nurse (“Nurse Jane Doe”) also denied plaintiff's request for medical treatment following the incident, declaring him “OK” after examining him. (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 9-10).

         Plaintiff filed two emergency grievances on December 23, 2016. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-10). In one, he complained about Officer Adamson's use of excessive force against him 6 days earlier. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). In the other, Plaintiff complained about the subsequent denial of medical treatment for his injuries. (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10). He received no response to either grievance and commenced this action while the grievances were admittedly “still ...


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