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McCurry v. Duncan

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 12, 2017

MATTEL MCCURRY, No. M- 10261, Plaintiff,


          MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief District Judge.

         Plaintiff Mattel McCurry, presently an inmate in Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Prior to being incarcerated at Menard, Plaintiff was incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”). Plaintiff generally alleges that, while incarcerated at Lawrence, Lawrence officials intentionally exposed Plaintiff's underlying criminal convictions, [1] placing Plaintiff's life in danger. In connection with these claims, Plaintiff sues numerous Lawrence officials. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief. Additionally, Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief in the form of an order directing officials at Lawrence to place Plaintiff in protective custody and to strictly sanction the officials that violated his constitutional rights.

         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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges that Lawrence officials intentionally informed other inmates and prison staff that Plaintiff's underlying convictions involved sexual assault and domestic abuse, knowing that convictions of this nature are “unacceptable” and “despised” by inmates and prison staff. (Doc. 1, pp. 3, 12). Plaintiff contends that, as a result, he has been threatened by other inmates and mistreated by prison staff. (Doc. 1, pp. 3-11). Plaintiff further alleges that an “individual defendant” ordered another inmate to physically assault Plaintiff because of his underlying convictions and that this inmate carried out the assault “to the best of his ability.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). In addition, Plaintiff contends he has been assaulted by inmates and threatened by Lawrence staff on “numerous occasions.” (Doc. 1, p. 7). According to Plaintiff, he has submitted emergency grievances seeking protective custody and/or a transfer out of Lawrence, but his requests have been ignored. (Doc. 1, pp. 4, 7).

         The allegations described above might be sufficient to state a claim for relief if they were directed at a specific defendant and described the alleged wrongful conduct with more specificity. In the instant case, however, a majority of Plaintiff's claims are not directed at any particular defendant. Instead, Plaintiff brings allegations as to generic individuals or groups of individuals, including “the individual defendant”, “the defendants”, “officers”, “officials”, a “c/o” (more than one “c/o” has been named as a Defendant), and a “Sgt.” (more than one “Sgt.” Has been named as a Defendant). (See e.g. Doc. 1, pp. 3-4, 7, 12). In addition, the Complaint includes very little specificity regarding the alleged threats and assaults. After reviewing the Complaint, the Court notes the following allegations as to specific defendants:


         On February 2, 2016, Caye-Wood began to tell other inmates about Plaintiff's underlying convictions. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Subsequently, other inmates began to threaten Plaintiff and have extorted money out of the Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 12).


         Plaintiff filed numerous emergency grievances with Goines. (Doc. 1, p. 4). The ...

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