United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE United States District Judge.
Adam Pegues, currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional
Center (“Lawrence”), has filed this pro
se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiff claims that he was subjected to excessive
force, denied medical attention and that his due process
rights were violated in a disciplinary hearing. He also
raises a battery claim under state law. The Complaint is now
before the Court for a preliminary review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion
of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks
for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 “no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.”
Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir.
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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on
its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true,
see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir.
2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or
implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a
plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574,
581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts “should not
accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a
cause of action or conclusory legal statements.”
Id. At the same time, however, the factual
allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally
construed. See Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751
(7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
these standards, the Court finds that some of Plaintiff's
claims survive threshold review under § 1915A.
March 30, 2016, Plaintiff, who uses a wheelchair to mobilize
due to a disabling spine condition, was called to the health
care unit to see Dr. Coe. (Doc. 1, p. 11). The doctor ordered
Plaintiff to get out of his wheelchair, but Plaintiff
protested that he is unable to walk or stand because of a
deteriorating disc in his spine. Dr. Coe stated that he was
taking away Plaintiff's wheelchair, and ordered Lt. Ray
to make Plaintiff get out of the chair. Plaintiff again said
that he was unable to do so. Dr. Coe then ordered Lt. Ray to
take Plaintiff to segregation if he did not get out of the
wheelchair and walk “as of right now.”
Id. Plaintiff believes Dr. Coe acted in this way
because Plaintiff has pending lawsuits against him.
took Plaintiff to the segregation unit where he “was
thrown out of his wheel chair and into the shower.”
(Doc. 1, p. 12). Lt. Steber ordered Plaintiff to stand up and
walk to the shower door so he could be searched and
handcuffed. Plaintiff responded that he could not walk or
stand, and needed the wheelchair in order to move to the
door. C/O Simpson and C/O Kidd picked Plaintiff up. Steber
twisted Plaintiff's arm and wrist to remove his
restraints, and Plaintiff was returned to a sitting position
on the shower floor. Plaintiff asked Adamson and Kidd for
help to undress because of his inability to walk or stand,
but they ignored him.
summoned the tactical team (consisting of Officers Kamp,
Clary, Ochs, Brant, Lampley and Tribble). They sprayed
Plaintiff with pepper spray after he told them that he could
not walk or stand. He remained in a sitting position on the
floor with his hands in the air. (Doc. 1, p. 13). The
tactical team officers then “jumped on”
Plaintiff, twisting, pulling, and turning his body, causing
him to scream in pain. Id. They also choked him
while he lay face down on the floor.
was then taken to a segregation cell, where he was left lying
on the floor with pepper spray chemicals still on his body
and in his hair. He asked for medical attention and help to
clean off the chemicals from Clary, Brant, Ochs, Lampley,
Tribble, Kamp, Simpson, Adamson and Kidd, but they ignored
his requests. (Doc. 1, p. 13). During Plaintiff's time in
segregation, he was unable to use the shower, attend yard or
go to family visits because Simpson, Adamson and Kidd refused
to give him his wheelchair.
result of a disciplinary ticket issued against Plaintiff for
the events of March 30, 2016, he was punished with 3 months
segregation and 3 months C-grade. (Doc. 1, p. 14). He claims
that the real reason he was punished was because of his
disability and due to retaliation by Cooper and Carie, who
conducted the disciplinary hearing. Cooper and Carie denied
Plaintiff the right to participate in the hearing and give a
statement, because they refused to give him his wheelchair so
he could attend. Cooper and Carie found Plaintiff guilty of
the charge without him being present.
seeks compensatory and punitive damages and an injunction
ordering the Defendants not to retaliate against him. (Doc.
1, p. 15).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
the following counts. The parties and the Court will use
these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as
to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the
Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice.
Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Ray,
Steber, Simpson, Kidd, Kamp, Clary, Ochs, Brant, Lampley, and
Tribble, for using excessive force while removing Plaintiff
from his wheelchair, removing his restraints, spraying him
with pepper spray, and battering and choking him on March 30,
2016; (Adamson just refused to help PL undress)
Count 2: State tort battery claim against
Ray, Steber, Simpson, Kidd, Kamp, Clary, Ochs, Brant,
Lampley, and Tribble, for removing Plaintiff from his
wheelchair, removing his restraints, spraying him with pepper
spray, and battering and choking him on March 30, 2016;
Count 3: Eighth Amendment claim against
Clary, Brant, Ochs, Lampley, Tribble, Kamp, Simpson, Adamson,
and Kidd, for refusing to summon medical attention for
Plaintiff after he was battered, and refusing to help ...