United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge.
an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Menard
Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In the
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he was attacked and injured
by a former cellmate at Menard. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-10). He now
suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
Plaintiff claims that prison officials at Menard failed to
protect him from an obvious risk of harm and also denied him
adequate medical care and mental health treatment for his
resulting injuries. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-10). He names four known
defendants (Warden Jackie Lashbrooke, C/O Carter, C/O Bump,
and C/O Drabes) and three unknown defendants (John Doe ##1-3)
in connection with several federal constitutional and state
law claims. Id. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and
injunctive relief. (Doc. 1, pp. 10-11).
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
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). The Complaint survives preliminary review under this
December 27, 2016, Plaintiff was moved into a new cell with
an inmate who is classified as an “elevated security
risk” (“ESR”). (Doc. 1, pp. 3-4). ESR
inmates are considered highly dangerous and often have a
cellmate restriction because of their classification.
Id. Warden Lashbrooke, C/O Carter, and John Doe 1
(placement officer) are responsible for reviewing and
updating the ESR chart on a daily basis and distributing the
list to staff and facility personnel. (Doc. 1, p. 3). They
are also responsible for the review and approval of every
cell assignment or inmate movement at Menard. (Doc. 1, pp.
this backdrop, Plaintiff was approached by an unknown
correctional officer and informed that he would be moved from
Cell 832 to Cell 239 in Menard's North-2 Cell House.
(Doc. 1, p. 4). After Plaintiff packed his belongings, the
correctional officer cuffed him and escorted him to his new
cell. Id. James Wallace, Jr. (B74589), an “ESR
committed person, ” already occupied Cell 239.
Spiller and another unknown correctional officer ordered
Inmate Wallace to cuff up and step outside of the cell so
that Plaintiff could enter. Id. While doing so,
Inmate Wallace told them, “I should not have a celly
and ya'll [meaning the c/o's] know this.” (Doc.
1, p. 4). C/O Spiller responded, “We're just doing
what we are told.” Id. Inmate Wallace then
stepped away from the cell as C/O Spiller and the unknown
officer allowed Plaintiff to enter. Id. When Inmate
Wallace stepped back into the cell, both inmates were
uncuffed and left alone. Id.
unpacked his belongings and went to take a shower. (Doc. 1,
p. 4). After returning to the cell, he fell asleep.
Id. When he awoke, Plaintiff was on the floor in
cuffs, asking, “what happened . . . why am I on the
floor?” Id. A correctional officer explained
that Inmate Wallace tried to kill Plaintiff by choking him as
he slept. Id. The correctional officer then stated,
“[T]hey should not have put you in there with him, like
he [Wallace] told them.” Id.
alleges that Warden Lashbrooke, Major Carter, and C/O Doe 1
should not have approved the cell assignment, in light of
Inmate Wallace's ESR status and cellmate restriction.
(Doc. 1, p. 5). Further, John Doe 2 (first shift lieutenant),
John Doe 3 (first shift sergeant), and C/O Bump knew that
Inmate Wallace was classified as an ESR with a cellmate
restriction. Id. Nevertheless, they took no steps to
protect Plaintiff from the “high risk” of a
“physical encounter” between the two inmates.
Id. All lower ranking officers should have reviewed
the ESR chart and consulted with C/O Bump or another superior
about Plaintiff's placement with Inmate Wallace.
result of the attack, Plaintiff suffered injuries to his left
rib cage, right foot and ankle, and the back of his head.
(Doc. 1, p. 5). C/O Bump and two unknown correctional
officers accompanied him to Menard's Health Care Unit for
medical treatment following the attack. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
Although Plaintiff cannot recall who treated him, he recalls
C/O Bump describing the reason for his injuries as being a
seizure. Id. For this reason, Plaintiff was placed
in an overnight cell for observation. Id.
doctor did “nothing” to treat Plaintiff. (Doc. 1,
p. 6). He was given Tylenol and some other form of pain
medication. Id. However, neither medication stopped
the pain. Id.
was also questioned by the Illinois State Police during his
overnight stay. (Doc. 1, p. 6). At the time, he could not
walk without assistance because his gait was unsteady.
Id. He required an escort from the overnight cell to
the interview room. Id.
was then placed in a wheelchair and taken to Cell 221 in
North-2 Cell House. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He was given no sheets or
a blanket the first night. Id. Plaintiff also could
not stand. Id.
began having a panic attack and requested help from C/O
Drabes. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff told the officer that he
could not breathe, and the walls felt like they were
“closing in.” Id. He informed the
officer that he had passed out twice, and felt like his head
was “spinning.” Id. In response, C/O
Drabes told him to “tough it out.” Id.
The officer went on to explain that a call for help would
only result in Plaintiff's placement in a cell
“with nothing, ” including no clothing or
underwear. Id. He would be treated the same as if he
was on suicide watch. Id. Plaintiff pleaded with C/O
Drabes to contact someone who could help him understand why
he was feeling this way. Id. The officer just walked
away and did not return. Id.
unknown officer apparently wrote a letter to Lieutenant Doe 2
and Sergeant Doe 3 about Plaintiff's request for mental
health treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 7). In response, they told
Plaintiff that no one was around because of the upcoming
holiday. Id. For “days, ” Plaintiff
continued requesting help. Id. He did not eat and
regularly passed out. Id. Each time, he woke up
feeling as though he was being choked in his sleep.
Id. He felt like he was dying. Id. He could
not trust the prison officials to protect him. Id.
January 2, 2017, Plaintiff was seen by Jacob Weatherfur who
works in mental health. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff described
his symptoms to Weatherfur and explained that he felt like
taking his own life rather than suffer from them. (Doc. 1, p.
8). He wanted to understand why he was feeling this way.
told Plaintiff that he was experiencing post-traumatic stress
disorder. (Doc. 1, p. 8). He recommended a counseling
referral. Id. Plaintiff then met with Ms. Mayer, who
worked in mental health, “shortly thereafter.”
filed emergency grievances with Warden Lashbrooke and others
to complain about the delay in medical and mental health
treatment. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-10). The grievances were dated
January 1st, January 16th, and February 1st. Id. The