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Harringtonn v. Feldhake

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 22, 2017

JAMES HARRINGTON, Plaintiff,
v.
L.T. FELDHAKE, SGT. WORKMAN, and WARDEN MOSS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff James Harrington, a former inmate of Lawrence Correctional Center currently on parole, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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 allow this action to proceed.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations (Doc. 1): On June 10, 2015, Plaintiff was prevented from getting a meal by Defendants Feldhake and Workman. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7). Plaintiff filed a grievance about the incident. (Doc. 1, p. 7). A few days later, Defendant Moss came to Plaintiff's living unit to discuss what happened. Id. Plaintiff informed Moss that he was denied food and Moss told him that he would take care of the problem. Id. The following day, Workman and Feldhake forced Plaintiff to sit alone at a table for troubled inmates and “verbally assault[ed]” Plaintiff, calling him a “snitch bitch” and stating that “it was not over.” Id. This continued for the next 4 days or so. Id.

         On June 15, 2015, Plaintiff was forced to dump his food in the trash by Workman, who then took him to Major Kinney's office. Feldhake and Workman told Kinney that Plaintiff was a “Snitch Bitch” who had “cried to Warden Moss about what they were doing to” him. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff denied Feldhake and Workman's claims that he was “a big problem, ” but Kinney told him he would be dealt with once “chow” had ended. Id. Plaintiff remained in Kinney's office, and once “chow” ended, he was violently assaulted, choked and battered by Workman and Feldhake. Id. Plaintiff was punched several times in the face and the back of his head and was choked to the verge of passing out, all while he was handcuffed. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Feldhake then demanded that Plaintiff strike him, but he refused. Id. Feldhake told Plaintiff to “never again go and snitch to the warden.” Id.

         Plaintiff was put in segregation for 30 days and given an Inmate Disciplinary Report, allegedly to cover up Feldhake and Workman's assault of him. (Doc. 1, p. 8). He was taken to the Health Care Unit on June 17, 2015 to be treated for his injuries from the attack, including his “‘choking' injury.” (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding the assault on June 16, 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 10).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into 4 counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, ...


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