United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
BILLY McDADE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
proceeding pro se, pursues a § 1983 action against the
McLean County Sheriff, and McLean County Jail Sergeants
McCormick and Frank. The case is before the Court for a merit
review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. In reviewing the
Complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true,
liberally construing them in Plaintiff's favor.
Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649-51 (7th Cir.
2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are
insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to “state a
claim for relief that is plausible on its face.”
Alexander v. United States, 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th
Cir. 2013)(citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
While the pleading standard does not require “detailed
factual allegations”, it requires “more than an
accusation.” Wilson v. Ryker, 451 Fed.Appx.
588, 589 (7th Cir. 2011) quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
alleges that on February 25, 2016, Sergeant McCormick
subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement
when he instructed officer Travis Howard to strip search
Plaintiff in the Jail booking bathroom which was dirty and
smelly. He also claims that “utensils” in the
Jail are filthy and have caused Plaintiff to develop bumps in
his mouth and a rash around his mouth. Plaintiff alleges that
he complained about the dirty utensils to the Sheriff and to
Defendant McCormick and they told him to “deal with
it”. Plaintiff claims that Sgt. Frank responded to his
grievances by telling him not to write any more grievances.
is presumed to be a pre-trial detainee whose § 1983
claim is reviewed under the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment which applies the same “cruel and
unusual punishment” standard as that under the Eighth
Amendment. Zentmyer v. Kendall County, Ill., 220
F.3d 805, 810 (7th Cir. 2000). See Washington v. LaPorte
Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 306 F.3d 515, 517 (7th
Cir. 2002) (“[t]he protections for pre-trial detainees
are ‘at least as great as the Eighth Amendment
protections available to a convicted prisoner', and we
frequently consider the standards to be analogous.”)
(Internal citations omitted).
alleges inhumane conditions of confinement as to the dirty
booking bathroom and dirty “utensils”, presumably
eating utensils. For constitutional liability to attach, the
conditions of confinement must amount to extreme deprivation.
This is so, “[b]ecause routine discomfort is
‘part of the penalty that criminal offenders pay for
their offenses against society', only those deprivations
denying ‘the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities' are sufficiently grave to form the basis of
an Eighth Amendment violation.” Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992) (internal citations
omitted). Conditions which are “restrictive and even
harsh” do not reach this standard. Rhodes v.
Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981).
does not indicate how long he was in the dirty bathroom while
being strip-searched and offers nothing to suggest that he
was there for a prolonged period. While being placed in a
dirty bathroom would be unpleasant, mere inconvenience and
discomfort do not implicate the Constitution. See
Caldwell v. Miller, 790 F.2d 589, 601 (7th Cir. 1986).
See also, Jihad v. Wright, 124 F.3d 204 at
*2 (7th Cir. 1997) (“it is well-settled that conditions
which are temporary and do not result in physical harm are
not actionable under the Eighth Amendment.”)
the claims regarding dirty eating utensils, “[n]ot all
prison conditions trigger Eighth Amendment scrutiny-only
deprivations of basic human needs like food, medical care,
sanitation, and physical safety.” Thomas v.
Cox, 10-CV-997-GPM, 2011 WL 3205660, at *2-3 (S.D. Ill.
July 27, 2011) (internal citations omitted). To establish a
Constitution violation Plaintiff must assert, objectively,
that the conditions exceeded the contemporary bounds of
decency of a mature, civilized society. Lunsford v.
Bennett, 17 F.3d 1574, 1579 (7th Cir. 1994) (internal
citation omitted). He must also assert, subjectively, a
“minimum intent requirement, ” that defendants
had “actual knowledge of impending harm easily
preventable.” Id. at 1580. See Merritt v.
Williams, 11-706, 2012 WL 3582751, at *10 (S.D. Ill.
Aug. 20, 2012) (“the official must be aware of facts
from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial
risk of serious harm exists, and he also must draw the
inference.”) (internal citations omitted).
Court finds Plaintiff fails to adequately plead the objective
component as dirty eating utensils do not deprive one of
basic human needs. See Harris v. Fleming, 839 F.2d
1232, 1235 (7th Cir. 1988)(ten days in a segregation unit
without toilet paper, toothbrush or toothpaste in a
“filthy, roach-infested cell” did not constitute
cruel and unusual punishment). Plaintiff also fails to plead
the subjective component as he does not allege that the
Sheriff or Sergeant McCormick had actual knowledge that the
allegedly dirty eating utensils would cause Plaintiff harm.
See Lunsford at 1580.
claims that Sgt. Frank responded to his grievances by telling
him to stop filing grievances. Here, Plaintiff fails to state
a claim as there is no constitutional right to a grievance
procedure. Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1430
(7th Cir. 1996). Furthermore, prison officials incur no
§ 1983 liability for denying grievances. “[T]he
alleged mishandling of grievances by persons who otherwise
did not cause or participate in the underlying conduct states
no claim.” Owens v. Hinsley, 635 F.3d 950, 953
(7th Cir. 2011). While Defendant Frank could
potentially be liable if he violated Plaintiff's First
Amendment rights by retaliating for his filing grievances,
Plaintiff makes no such claim.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed for failure to state a
claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. Any amendment to the Complaint would be futile as the
facts are not sufficient to allege First or Eighth Amendment
violations. This case is therefore closed. The clerk is
directed to enter a judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 58.
dismissal shall count as one of the plaintiff's three
allotted “strikes” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section
1915(g). The Clerk of the Court is directed to record
Plaintiff's strike in the three-strike log.
Plaintiff must still pay the full docketing fee of $350 even
though his case has been dismissed. The agency having custody
of Plaintiff shall continue to make monthly payments to the
Clerk of Court, as directed in the Court's prior order.
Plaintiff wishes to appeal this dismissal, he must file a
notice of appeal with this Court within 30 days of the entry
of judgment. Fed. R. App. P. 4(a). A motion for leave to
appeal in forma pauperis should set forth the issues
Plaintiff plans to present on appeal. See Fed. R. App. P.
24(a)(1)(C). If Plaintiff does choose to appeal, ...