United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge
filed this this pro se civil rights action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 while he was incarcerated at Shawnee
Correctional Center (“Shawnee”), where his claims
arose. He was recently transferred to Illinois River
Correctional Center. (Doc. 12). Plaintiff claims that he was
subjected to unsanitary cell conditions, his property was
lost, and prison officials failed to respond to his
grievances. This case is now before the Court for a
preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 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.
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. 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).
Although 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 one of Plaintiff's
claims survives threshold review under § 1915A.
March 21, 2016, Plaintiff was placed into a segregation cell
after an altercation. Sams and Woodard failed to secure
Plaintiff's personal property and food that he was unable
to take with him to segregation. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Upon his
release from segregation, Plaintiff discovered that all his
items were gone. Plaintiff filed grievances, but never got a
response, which he claims prevented him from exhausting his
remedies. He sought a writ of mandamus seeking to obtain an
answer to his grievances, without success.
was confined for 30 days (until April 21, 2016) in the
segregation cell which, he claims, should have been
“condemned” due to the poor conditions. (Doc. 1,
p. 4). The cell had “no proper running water”
because a seg pen was stuck in the faucet spout. Not only did
the pen obstruct the flow of water, it exposed Plaintiff to
germs in his drinking water from that foreign object. (Doc.
1, pp. 4-5). The window was “drilled shut” so
that the air did not circulate properly. The window screen
was torn, allowing insects and ants to invade the cell. They
crawled on Plaintiff, got into his bed, and bit him day and
night. (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 13). The sink and toilet were
contaminated with fungus and mildew, and Plaintiff was not
given cleaning supplies. He had to drink from and wash up in
the filthy sink for the entire 30 days, placing his health at
risk. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
asked Sams to move him to a better cell, but Sams ignored the
request. Warden Dennison was the supervisor of Sams and was
responsible for the conditions throughout the facility.
seeks compensatory and punitive damages from each of the
Defendants. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
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: Due Process claim for the
loss/destruction of Plaintiff's personal property;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim for being
confined under unsanitary conditions in the segregation cell