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Conway v. Doe

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 7, 2017

GREGORY CONWAY, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN DOE, JOHNSON, and MYERS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Gregory Conway, an inmate in Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief and damages. 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 Complaint is subject to dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff originally filed suit on December 28, 2016, in Case No. 16-cv-1393-SMY. The claims in this suit were severed from that action on February 2, 2017, because they are unrelated to the claims in that case. (Doc. 1). As specific to the claims in this case, Plaintiff has alleged that he was sexually assaulted at Western Illinois Correctional Center, and that after he complained about it, staff began harassing him. (Doc. 2, pp. 6-9). On May 21, 2015, Plaintiff was transferred to Pinckneyville Correctional Center. (Doc. 2, p. 9). As he was getting on the bus, Gooden, one of the officers who had been harassing Plaintiff at Western, said “I hope you don't think your [sic] getting away do you?” Id. When the bus stopped at Lincoln Correctional Center, Gooden escorted Plaintiff over to the bus for Pinckneyville, where he told Correctional Officer Johnson that Plaintiff was a troublemaker and to “show him how we deal with troublemakers.” (Doc. 2, p 10). Johnson then wrote Plaintiff an allegedly false disciplinary report based on his conduct on the bus to Pinckneyville. (Doc. 2, p. 11).

         Plaintiff received the disciplinary report on May 22, 2015. (Doc. 2, p. 12). He immediately filled out the lower portion of the report to request inmates Parnell, Jackson, Nuckles, Chadwick, and Clark testify at the disciplinary hearing. (Doc. 2, pp. 12-13; Doc. 2-2, pp. 3-4). Plaintiff's adjustment committee hearing was on May 24, 2015. (Doc. 2, p. 13). Plaintiff told John Doe and Myers that he had requested witnesses. Id. Plaintiff then attempted to give his list of witnesses to Myer, who told him that it was too late for that. Id. When Plaintiff protested, John Doe stated that “Their [sic] right, you are a troublemaker. Guilty as charged now get out of here.” (Doc. 2, p. 14). Plaintiff went to segregation for 30 days as punishment. Id.

         Discussion

         Judge Yandle's threshold order in the original case (Case No. 16-cv-1393-SMY) severed two counts into this action:

Count 5 - First Amendment retaliation claims against Johnson, Myers, and Lieutenant John Doe for Johnson filing false disciplinary charges against Plaintiff on May 22, 2015 and Myers and Lieutenant John Doe refusing to allow Plaintiff to call witness at the hearing on those charges and ultimately giving Plaintiff 30 days in segregation in retaliation for ...

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