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McIntosh v. Lindsey

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 27, 2017

MICHAEL MCINTOSH, #R-01987, Plaintiff,
v.
C. LINDSEY, SERGEANT HEIMAN and G. PRICE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Honorable Staci M. Yandle United States District Judge.

         This matter is now before the Court for consideration of the First Amended Complaint filed by Plaintiff Michael McIntosh, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Plaintiff brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that officials at Menard failed to protect him from a known risk of assault by his cellmate. Plaintiff also alleges that related grievances were ignored or delayed on the basis of his race, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. In connection with these claims, Plaintiff sues C. Lindsey (corrections officer), Sergeant Heiman (corrections officer) and G. Price (grievance counselor). Each defendant is sued in his or her individual and official capacities. Plaintiff seeks monetary and injunctive relief.

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the First Amended 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).

         First Amended Complaint

         From February 22, 2016 through March 30, 2016, Plaintiff and his cellmate “Damico, ” (No. K-60832) were confined in the East Cell House, on gallery 5, in cell number 19. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7). Damico had a history of violently assaulting his cellmates by biting them and Lindsey and Heiman were aware of this history. (Doc. 1, p. 7). On six different occasions during that time period, Plaintiff notified Lindsey and Heiman that he and Damico “were not getting along, that he was afraid, that he wanted protection, that his cellmate threatened to harm him and that he wanted to be moved.” Id. On each occasion, Lindsey and Heiman indicated the situation was “out of their hands” and refused to transfer either inmate to a new cell. Id.

         On March 30, 2016, Plaintiff's cellmate began cussing at him and struck him in the jaw with his fist. Id. As Plaintiff was struggling to protect himself, his cellmate bit half of Plaintiff's left thumb completely off. Id. Plaintiff received medical treatment from Barnes Jewish Hospital and was returned to Menard. Id. Upon returning to Menard, Plaintiff was placed on segregation and investigative status and eventually received a disciplinary report for fighting. Id.

         Plaintiff filed a formal grievance regarding the matters described above on April 20, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 7; Doc. 1-1, p. 6). On April 25, 2016, Plaintiff submitted an informal letter to the Administrative Review Board inquiring about the April 20, 2016 grievance and attaching a copy of the same. (Doc. 1, p. 7; Doc. 1-1, pp. 8-10). Plaintiff submitted the informal letter because officials at Menard have a tendency to ignore internal grievance procedures. Id. On June 7, 2016, Plaintiff received a letter from Defendant Price stating that she had not received any grievances from Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 7; Doc. 1-1, p. 17). On June 27, 2016, the April 20, 2016 grievance was denied as untimely. (Doc. 1, p. 7; Doc. 1-1, pp. 6-7).

         Plaintiff contends that Price mishandled his grievance in violation of Administrative Directive 504(f). (Doc. 1, p. 9). Additionally, Plaintiff alleges Price mishandled the grievance on the basis of Plaintiff's race, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Id. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that his grievance was not handled in a timely manner because he is African American and “white prisoners receive timely responses to their grievances and have better outcomes”. Id.

         Discussion

         To facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(e) and 10(b), the Court deems it appropriate to organize the claim in ...


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