United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE United States District Judge
Timothy Engel, an inmate at Shawnee Correctional Center,
brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims he
was assaulted by various individuals at Vienna Correctional
Center, in violation of the Eighth Amendment's
prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. (Doc. 1).
This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of
the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
(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
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.
careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits,
the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority
under § 1915A; this action is subject to summary
Complaint, Plaintiff makes the following allegations: During
the period November 13, 2016 to November 24, 2016, Plaintiff
was stabbed in his rib cage by inmate Rob; inmate Anderson
tried to stab Plaintiff; inmate Hernandez tried to knock
Plaintiff out from behind his head; inmate Stewart tried
“taking [Plaintiff's] head off with ice” and
paper balls; inmate Fowler tied to knock Plaintiff out while
he was sleeping; and Lt. Reid attacked Plaintiff twice from
behind. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff also claims that
“officers threaten[ed] to go back to work, ”
presumably on at least one occasion, while Plaintiff was
being attacked. Id. Further, the Complaint alleges
that the defendants have not taken action to help Plaintiff,
have prevented him from contacting an attorney or his
friends, and that some defendants, including Campenella,
“have lied about being FBI.” Id.
Plaintiff seeks “a court order that each of these
defendant [sic] pay compassion to Plaintiff for
suffering.” (Doc. 1, p. 8).
clear at the outset that Plaintiff has not requested any
substantive relief in this case. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure provides that a complaint must provide
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief” and also “a
demand for the relief sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). In a
civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
the request for relief typically includes a request for
monetary damages and/or injunctive relief. Plaintiff's
Complaint includes neither. Instead, Plaintiff merely
requests that this Court order the defendants to show
Plaintiff compassion for his suffering. (Doc. 1, p. 8). This
is not a cognizable, request for relief.
as noted in this Court's Order dated January 24, 2017
(Doc. 5), Plaintiff filed another civil rights action,
Engel v. People, 17-cv-24-MJR (Jan. 11, 2017)
(“prior action”), a mere twelve days before
filing this action. Suspecting that Plaintiff intended to
file the Complaint in this action as an amended complaint in
the prior action, this Court notified Plaintiff that these
two cases were filed separately and gave Plaintiff the
opportunity to notify the Court if he was seeking to file an
amended complaint in the prior action instead of filing a
second action. (Doc. 5). Plaintiff never directly responded
to this Order, although he did file a “Letter from
Plaintiff regarding his Trust Fund Statement” (Doc. 6)
in both this case and the prior action, seemingly
acknowledging the existence of both, separate cases. Because
Plaintiff failed to respond to the Order requesting
clarification (Doc. 5), the Court assumes that Plaintiff
intended this case to be separate from the prior action.
being said, the Court finds that this case is duplicative of
the prior action. See Serlin v. Arthur Andersen &
Co., 3 F.3d 221, 223 (7th Cir. 1993) (one cause of
action is duplicative of another if the “claims,
parties, and available relief do not significantly differ
between the two actions.”). The Complaint in the
instant action is nearly identical to the original Complaint
filed in the prior action on January 11, 2017.
Compare (Doc. 1) with 17-cv-24-MJR at Doc.
1. Though Plaintiff did not appropriately name any defendants
in that Complaint, see 17-cv-24-MJR at Doc. 8, he
named the same individuals, alleged the same conduct (with
more or less detail in either Complaint), and cited the same
dates in his respective statements of claim. Compare
(Doc. 1) with 17-cv-24-MJR at Doc. 1. The only
substantive difference between the complaints in this case
and the prior action ...