United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
DREW M. MOIR, # M-48561, Plaintiff,
TIMOTHY J. AMDAHL, DAVID W. RAINS, JOHN BALDWIN, RACHEL DODD, MONICA CARRELL, MICHELLE NEESE, DEEDEE BROOKHART, SCOTT REIS, SHELLY JOHNSON, DAVID SHEA, C/O GEIER, BYRLEY, T. SCOTT KEEN, and SHERRY BENTON, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. Herndon United States District Judge.
currently incarcerated at Robinson Correctional Center
(“Robinson”), has brought this pro se
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Among
other claims, Plaintiff asserts that he was denied the
opportunity to attend religious services, and was singled out
for harassment on account of his race and religion. This case
is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion
of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks
for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 “no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.”
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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on
its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations
as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th
Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or
implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a
plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574,
581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts “should not
accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a
cause of action or conclusory legal statements.”
Id. At the same time, however, the factual
allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally
construed. See Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751
(7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
these standards, the Court finds that some of Plaintiff's
claims survive threshold review under § 1915A.
is white, and is a practicing member of the Al-Islam faith.
During the time period pertinent to this action, he attended
Jumah services regularly. Jumah services were held at
Robinson every Friday at 1:00 p.m. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
Friday, December 18, 2015, at approximately 12:35 p.m.,
Plaintiff attempted to sign out of his housing unit (4B) to
attend Jumah service. Officer Amdahl told Plaintiff that he
didn't know anything about the service and was not going
to call to find out about it. (Doc. 1, p. 4). At
approximately 1:05 p.m., Plaintiff went to the 4B control
unit and asked Amdahl whether the Jumah service had been
called; Amdahl responded that it had not. Plaintiff requested
Amdahl to call and find out why the Jumah line had not been
called; Amdahl responded, “You shouldn't even have
it, so I'm not calling.” Id. Soon
afterward, Plaintiff saw other inmates carrying prayer rugs
proceeding to the gym. Plaintiff returned to the 4B control
area and asked Amdahl to call the gym because Plaintiff had
seen other prisoners on their way there. Officer Byrley
stated that no Jumah line had been called. Plaintiff was not
permitted to attend Jumah service that day.
filed a grievance over this incident. Several weeks later,
Grievance Officer Dodd responded, saying that memos had gone
out to inform “Operations” of the regular Jumah
schedule, and they are responsible to call all lines. Amdahl
told Dodd that each wing gets a call regarding Jumah lines,
and they must not have received a call on December 18.
Plaintiff's grievance was denied, and the denial was
affirmed by Keen (Administrative Review Board) and Baldwin
(IDOC Director). (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5).
following Friday, December 25, 2015, Plaintiff asked a
Lieutenant to make sure Jumah was called in House 4B as he
did not want the same problem to recur. The Jumah service was
called that day in 4B, and Plaintiff attended.
Plaintiff's return to his unit, Amdahl immediately shook
him down “for no apparent or valid reason.” (Doc.
1, p. 5). Following the shakedown, Plaintiff asked Amdahl to
call in a crisis team; Amdahl refused. Plaintiff asked for a
grievance form and for Amdahl to call a superior officer.
Amdahl refused, and ordered Plaintiff to step into the wing,
which Plaintiff did. Amdahl then wrote a disciplinary report
on Plaintiff. Plaintiff asked Amdahl for a crisis team
two more times when Amdahl walked through the unit, but
Amdahl ignored him. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff later filed a
grievance over Amdahl's conduct, which was denied. (Doc.
1-1, p. 8). After Amdahl left due to a shift change,
Plaintiff asked the new officer for a crisis team referral;
this officer allowed Plaintiff to go to Operations to discuss
3:00 p.m. on December 25, 2015, Plaintiff spoke with Officer
Shea to address his crisis issue, and explained that he was
being “harassed, intimidated, and discriminated
against, ” and the problem “not only affect[ed]
my life but also my eternity.” (Doc. 1, p. 6). Shea
responded that this was not a crisis; a crisis team should be
used when someone dies. Shea asked whether Plaintiff liked it
at Robinson, and then said he could send Plaintiff somewhere
where there is no air conditioning, concluding,
“Don't play with the crisis team.”
Id. Plaintiff responded that death is inevitable and
shouldn't be a crisis, but hindering him from practicing
his religion will affect him for eternity, and is very
January 9, 2016, Amdahl approached Plaintiff in the hallway
of the unit, addressing him as “Hebrew - that's
your name, isn't it?” (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff
responded that his name was not “Hebrew.” Amdahl
took Plaintiff to the control area, and asked him if he knew
another inmate across the hall named “Hebrew.”
Amdahl described the inmate's physical appearance;
Plaintiff responded that he knew the person, but his name is
not “Hebrew.” Amdahl said this inmate wanted to
speak to Plaintiff, and asked Officer Geier whether the
inmate was on his housing wing (4A). Geier said he was there
but was probably asleep, having just returned from work.
Plaintiff returned to his own 4B wing. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
inmate who was the subject of Amdahl's
“Hebrew” inquiry was Bourey, who, like Plaintiff,
was a white practicing member of the Al-Islam faith. Two days
later, Plaintiff asked Bourey if he needed to speak with
Plaintiff. Bourey said he did not, and that officers had also
approached him, calling him “Hebrew” and told
Bourey that Plaintiff wanted to speak to him. Neither Bourey
nor Plaintiff had asked an officer to relay a message to the
other. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff filed a grievance against
Amdahl over this incident, which he viewed as harassment and
an encouragement to break the rules against communicating
with inmates on other housing wings. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 10-11).
January 12, 2016, when Plaintiff checked back into his wing
after getting a haircut, Amdahl asked to inspect
Plaintiff's hair. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff asked why,
and Amdahl replied, “To make sure it is safe.”
Id. Plaintiff questioned whether the officer at the
barbershop had asked Amdahl to check his hair, because that
officer had already made sure Plaintiff's hair complied
with regulations. Amdahl said, “No, I just want to see
your hair.” Id. Plaintiff filed a grievance
over this incident. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 15-16). In Amdahl's
response to the grievance, he claimed that he was speaking to
another inmate about his hair, but Plaintiff says there was
no other inmate present or returning to the unit at that
time. (Doc. 1, p. 10).
January 22, 2016, Plaintiff again was not allowed to
participate in the Friday Jumah service. (Doc. 1, p. 10).
Plaintiff went to the dayroom at 12:30 p.m. to wait for the
Jumah call. Over the next 40 minutes, Amdahl called the lines
for 3 other activities, but not Jumah. At 1:10 p.m.,
Plaintiff asked Amdahl to call the gym to inquire about the
Jumah line. Amdahl claimed that he had called the Jumah line
“a while ago;” but Plaintiff informed Amdahl he
had been waiting ever since the dayroom opened. Id.
Amdahl refused Plaintiff's request to be allowed to
attend Jumah, and refused to call a Lieutenant. Plaintiff
followed Amdahl's order to step back into the wing.
after this discussion, Amdahl took Plaintiff back to the
control area. No other officers were present, and Plaintiff
asked if they could talk in front of other people. Amdahl
ignored this request, and locked the control room door.
Amdahl, with an aggressive tone, asked Plaintiff if he had a
problem with him (Amdahl). (Doc. 1, p. 11). Plaintiff said he
had a problem with Amdahl denying him his religious rights
and services. Amdahl said, “If you have a problem then
let's address it.” Id. Plaintiff, fearing
violence, said they could not address anything because he
would just get a ticket and nothing would be solved. Amdahl
responded, “That's right, ” then asked
Plaintiff why it was always him missing Jumah. Id.
Plaintiff said, “I'm the only one who goes
consistently, and you don't call the line.”
Id. Amdahl told Plaintiff to go back to the wing and
“keep [his] f***ing mouth shut or I'll have your
ass walked to seg.” Id.
proceeded to write Plaintiff a disciplinary ticket, claiming
that Plaintiff had used profanity and refused multiple orders
to return to his wing. (Doc. 1-1, p. 27). This ticket was
expunged. (Doc. 1, p. 11; Doc. 1-1, p. 28-29).
on these incidents, Plaintiff raises several claims under the
First and Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc. 1, pp. 12-13). These
include claims against Amdahl and Byrley for denial of access
to religious services; claims against Amdahl and Geier for
singling out Plaintiff for discrimination and harassment
because of his religion and race; an equal protection claim
against Shea; claims against Amdahl for lying and filing
illegible documents; and claims against Rains, Keen, Baldwin,
Dodd, Carrell, Neese, Brookhart, Benton, Reis, and Johnson
for failing to take action on his grievances and violating
administrative procedures. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and
injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive
damages. (Doc. 1, p. 15).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into the
following counts. The parties and the Court will use these
designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as
to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the
Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice.
Count 1: First Amendment claim against Amdahl and Byrley, for
preventing Plaintiff from attending Jumah services on two
occasions (December 18, 2015, and January 22, 2016);
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment discrimination/equal protection
claim against Amdahl and Geier, for targeting Plaintiff for
harassment and intimidation because of his race and religion;
Count 3: First Amendment retaliation claim against Amdahl,
for filing an unsubstantiated disciplinary charge against
Plaintiff and for harassing him, after Plaintiff complained
and filed grievances against ...