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Conway v. Pearce

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 28, 2017

GREGORY CONWAY, #N83890, Plaintiff,


          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Gregory Conway, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this pro se action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). Because Plaintiff brought claims against officials at both Western Illinois Correctional Center and Pinckneyville Correctional Center under the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, Plaintiff's case was severed into multiple actions in this Court's Order (Doc. 11) dated February 2, 2017 (“Severance Order”).

         In the Severance Order, Plaintiff was granted leave to amend his Complaint in this action by March 2, 2017. Id. The deadline for submitting the amended complaint has since passed. Id. Remaining in this action are failure to protect and retaliation claims against Pearce, Estes, Walla, and Meracle and deliberate indifference claims against Health Care Administrator John Doe and Richardson. Plaintiff requests monetary compensation and declaratory relief. (Doc. 1, pp. 30-35).

         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 past the threshold stage.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations related to the remaining Counts in this action. On July 14, 2015, Plaintiff was attacked, punched in the head and face and stabbed in the neck, chest, back, arm and leg by his mentally unstable cellmate. (Doc. 1, p. 18). Prior to the attack, Plaintiff told Defendant Estes that his cellmate “was constantly threatening to kill” him. (Doc. 1, pp. 16-17, 23). On the day of the attack, he told Estes that his cellmate had brandished an object that looked like a knife and told Plaintiff he planned to kill him that day. Id. Estes mocked Plaintiff, stating “[t]he Trouble-Maker needs help, write a grievance.” (Doc. 1, pp. 17-18).

         Plaintiff also told Defendant Pearce about his cellmate's threats and weapon. Before walking away, Pearce stated: “The big bad trouble-maker is not worried about this little crazy guy is [sic] you? You should've thought about that before you started slinging all that ink all over those grievances.” (Doc. 1, p. 19).

         Plaintiff also alleges that he repeatedly told Defendants Walla and Meracle that his cellmate was suffering from mental illness and “was constantly threatening to kill the Plaintiff.” (Doc. 1, p. 21). In response, Walla would typically say something akin to “we don't help trouble-makers.” Id. Similarly, Meracle would call him a trouble-maker and “make an obscene comment then walk away.” (Doc. 1, p. 22). Plaintiff claims these actions by Estes, Pearce, Walla and Meracle were taken in retaliation for Plaintiff having previously complained and filed grievances and demonstrated deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's personal health and safety. (Doc. 1, pp. 18-23).

         Plaintiff was seen by Richardson after he was attacked and given some ointment for his stab wounds. (Doc. 1, pp. 23-24, 25-26). According to the Complaint, Richardson “tried to render medical services she [wa]s unqualified to give” and “never followed the procedures required for the Plaintiff to receive the correct examination and treatment.” (Doc. 1, pp. 25-26). Plaintiff maintains that this constitutes deliberate indifference. Id.

         Plaintiff was also informed by Richardson that he would be called the next day to see a doctor. (Doc. 1, p. 26). Despite his swollen face, blackened and bruised eyes, swollen lip, severe migraine, body soreness, dizzy spells, “mental and physical trauma” and “constantly bleeding” stab wound, Plaintiff was not seen by a doctor as promised. (Doc. 1, pp. 24, 26). Plaintiff ...

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