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Hoskins v. Spiller

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 13, 2017

JOSHUA HOSKINS, #R-54570, Plaintiff,


          MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. Chief District Judge.

         Plaintiff Joshua Hoskins, an inmate at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His First Amended Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. (Doc. 20). In it, Plaintiff describes a campaign of retaliation against him at Menard that culminated in his assault by Officer Spiller on June 10, 2016, and his subsequent denial of medical care and mental health treatment. (Doc. 20, pp. 24-34). The allegations in the First Amended Complaint give rise to claims against the defendants under the First, Eighth, and/or Fourteenth Amendments. Id. In connection with these claims, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 20, p. 35). He also seeks a permanent transfer from Menard.[2] Id.

         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).

         Upon careful review of the First Amended Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal. The First Amended Complaint otherwise survives preliminary review.


         Plaintiff's claims in this case are related to claims that are now pending before this Court in two cases he filed on March 28, 2016, i.e., Hoskins v. Dilday, No. 16-cv-00334-MJR-SCW (S.D. Ill. filed Mar. 28, 2016) (“lead case”) and Hoskins v. Dilday, No. 16-cv-00335-MJR-SCW (S.D. Ill. filed Mar. 28, 2016) (“consolidated case”). In fact, his two prior cases are so closely related to one another that this Court consolidated them on April 11, 2016. (Doc. 7, lead case; Doc. 8, consolidated case). Plaintiff subsequently filed several motions seeking leave to amend his complaints. (Docs. 8, 11, 15, lead case). This Court ultimately allowed him to proceed with the claims set forth in his second amended complaint. (Doc. 23, lead case). However, in the screening order entered on July 28, 2016, this Court warned Plaintiff that adding any more “claims or parties . . . may lead to severance, dismissal, or additional fees.” (Doc. 22, n. 1, lead case).

         Within months, Plaintiff filed the instant action in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois on October 24, 2016. (Doc. 1). He named twelve of the twenty defendants from his consolidated cases as defendants in this action, as well as five others, for violations of his constitutional rights at Menard in 2016. Id. The claims in both cases arise from assaults on Plaintiff in 2016. On November 8, 2016, the Central District transferred the case to this District. (Doc. 9). At the time the case was transferred, a Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint was pending. (Doc. 7). Plaintiff subsequently filed a Second Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint, which this Court granted on January 11, 2017. (Docs. 17, 19). The First Amended Complaint is now subject to screening.

         First Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges that he was assaulted by a member of Menard's staff on June 10, 2016. (Doc. 20, pp. 24-34). The assault was orchestrated by officials at Menard who were either upset with Plaintiff for his involvement in a staff assault in 2013 or were retaliating against him for filing grievances in 2016. Id. He names seventeen prison officials in connection with the planned attack and the denial of medical care and mental health treatment in its wake. Id.

         Plaintiff learned of the planned attack on March 25, 2016, when Sergeant William Spiller approached Plaintiff in his cell in Menard's North 2 Cell House and indicated that his brother, Officer Spiller, worked in the same cell house. (Doc. 20, p. 24). Sergeant Spiller warned Plaintiff that several prison officials, including Sergeant Spiller, Wooley, Allen, Bump, Gutreuter, Eovaladi, Ward, Hudson, and “others, ” were planning to have Officer Spiller attack him “unexpectedly.” Id.

         On May 19, 2016, Allen then stopped Plaintiff as he was walking past the South Cell House and warned him that he “had a lot of more beatings coming from their staffs in the future.” (Doc. 20, p. 24). Allen told Plaintiff of his plans to have Officer Spiller attack Plaintiff. Ward added that “they” were going to make sure the officer was not disciplined for the attack on Plaintiff. Id. Further, Ward said that Sergeant Spiller, Officer Spiller, Eovaladi, and “other staffs” had already put the medical technicians (A. Lang, Engelage, and Stephanie, [3] among others) on notice of these plans and instructed them to deny Plaintiff medical treatment for his injuries after the attack. Id. They were also told not to document any injuries. Id. Wooley explained that the attack was planned because Plaintiff pushed an unidentified “IDOC officer” on February 19, 2013. Id. Ward indicated that Menard officials learned of the incident when reviewing his disciplinary history record. Id.

         On May 22, 2016, Hudson stopped Plaintiff in the North 2 Cell House and threatened to “assault [him] again” by having other staff members carry out the attack for him. (Doc. 20, p. 24). He said, “[Y]ou gonna be seeing . . . [O]fficer Spiller real soon.” Id. Hudson indicated that he, Eovaladi, and “others” were planning to have Officer Spiller attack Plaintiff while he was working on that gallery. Id. Hudson admitted planning the attack in retaliation against Plaintiff for reporting him to internal affairs earlier that year. Id.

         On June 3, 2016, Sergeant Spiller returned to Plaintiff's cell in Menard's North 2 Cell House. (Doc. 20, p. 25). He said that he was aware of the statements made by Allen, Wooley, Ward, and Hudson. Id. Sergeant Spiller said that he intended to have “someone special to him” assault Plaintiff. Id. Sergeant Spiller made this statement in response to Plaintiff's comment that he had “matters” pending against him in federal court. Id.

         On June 10, 2016, Officer Spiller was assigned to work the 8 Gallery in Menard's North 2 Cell House where Plaintiff was housed. (Doc. 20, p. 25). The officer approached Plaintiff in his cell, placed him in cuffs, and twisted both of his wrists. Id. He then removed Plaintiff from the cell and escorted him to the visiting room cage area. Id. On the way, Officer Spiller continued twisting Plaintiff's cuffs, which tore his skin and caused his wrists to bleed. Id. At the same time, Officer Spiller asked, “[H]ow do[es] that feel, bitch?” Id. Once in the holding area, Officer Spiller pushed Plaintiff onto the floor very hard, causing him to hit his forehead on a brick wall and to suffer serious abrasions and swelling. Id. The officer then punched Plaintiff in the chest and stomach twice. Id.

         At the same time, Officer Spiller demanded to know if Plaintiff had a “complaint against [his] love[d] one.” (Doc. 20, p. 25). The officer told Plaintiff that he intended to give him a reason for filing his complaint. (Doc. 20, p. 26). Officer Spiller added that he was not worried about being disciplined because Sergeant Spiller worked in internal affairs and planned the attack with his “buddies, ” Wooley, Gee, Ward, and “others.” Id. According to Officer Spiller, Wooley, Ward, Gee, Eovaladi, Hudson, Gutreuter, Allen, Hudson, Carter, and “others” had him personally assigned to the gallery to beat up Plaintiff. Id. Officer Spiller also told Plaintiff that prison officials would not respond to his grievances. Id.

         Later the same day, Nurse Gregson spoke with Plaintiff while making rounds to pass out psychotropic medications. (Doc. 20, p. 26). Plaintiff complained of injuries to his forehead and chest, including swelling and bruising, that resulted from Officer Spiller's attack on Plaintiff earlier that day. Id. Plaintiff requested ice packs and pain relievers. Id. The nurse refused to treat Plaintiff, after explaining that Medical Technicians Lang, Engelage, Freidrich, “others, ” and Eovaladi instructed the nurse not to provide Plaintiff “with shit.” Id. The nurse explained that this was in return for grievances Plaintiff filed in the past to complain about a mental health professional, D. Franklin, [4] and because of the pushing incident in his disciplinary record. (Doc. 20, pp. 26-27). The nurse told Plaintiff that he was “screwed.” (Doc. 20, p. 27).

         On June 11, 2016, Engelage made medication rounds to Plaintiff's cell. Id. When he showed her his injuries, she said that “she didn't give a fuck.” Id. She denied him all medical treatment, including his psychotropic medications. Id. She went on to explain that she already knew about his injuries because she discussed them with Officer Spiller, Eovaladi, Allen, Ward, Wooley, Gutreuter, Hudson and “other staffs.” Id. They asked her not to document the injuries or provide Plaintiff with any medical care. Id. For that reason, Plaintiff should expect nothing. Id.

         On June 14, 2016, Hartman refused to let Plaintiff speak with a psychiatrist. (Doc. 20, p. 27). He acknowledged Plaintiff's assault by Officer Spiller and his injuries, including the knot on his head. Id. He admitted hearing Officer Spiller, Gutreuter, Eovaladi, Allen, Spiller, Wooley, Carter, and others discuss it. (Doc. 20, pp. 27-28). In fact, he was riding with Officer Spiller on the day of the assault and knew it was going to occur. (Doc. 20, p. 28). Hartman also said that Officer Spiller, Eovaladi, Wooley, Bump, and “others” told him that Plaintiff was not allowed to speak with any medical or mental health provider. (Doc. 20, p. 27). Hartman was also prohibited from documenting the injuries. Id.

         On June 18, 2016, Ward observed Plaintiff standing in his cell and commented on the fact that Plaintiff must have thought he was joking when he warned Plaintiff about the planned attack on him. (Doc. 20, p. 29). Ward indicated that Officer Spiller was supposed to “fuck [him] up bad, ” but he failed to do so. Id. Ward, Wooley, Eovaladi, and Allen wanted him to inflict more harm. Id. He then warned Plaintiff that the officers were monitoring his outgoing mail to make sure he could not file a grievance to complain about the incident. Id.

         On June 23, 2016, Plaintiff finally had an opportunity to speak with a mental health professional, Ms. Creason.[5] (Doc. 20, p. 28). As soon as Officer Spiller, Hartman, and Gee observed the interaction, they put an end to it. Id. They instructing Creason not to speak with Plaintiff or let him speak with any other mental health or medical professional. Id. They said that the order came from Sergeant Spiller and Bump. Id.

         Sergeant Spiller later spoke with Plaintiff at his cell. (Doc. 20, p. 29). He admitted knowing about every detail of the assault. Id. He explained that the officers knew of Plaintiff's complaints about prison staff that dated back to an assault on him in February 2016. Id. Sergeant Spiller indicated that they were still monitoring Plaintiff's outgoing mail and would intercept and “burn” any grievances or appeals related to prison guard attacks on him. Id.

         On July 7, 2016, Plaintiff encountered Brookman in the visiting room. (Doc. 20, p. 31). Brookman told Plaintiff that he had reviewed more than a thousand kites that Plaintiff sent to Carter to complain about Officer Spiller's assault on him in June. Id. Brookman indicated that Carter was also aware of what occurred. Id. In fact, both Brookman and Carter knew about the planned assault before it happened and could have stopped it. Id. However, they declined to do so because Plaintiff deserved to be attacked. Id.

         On July 10, 2016, Aimee Lang passed by Plaintiff's cell. (Doc. 20, p. 30). When she saw Plaintiff, Lang stopped and acknowledged receipt of Plaintiff's numerous requests for medical treatment since the date of his assault. Id. She said that he should have gathered from her silence that no medical treatment would be provided ...

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