United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. Yandle United States District Judge.
Teaone Shashawn Bell filed this action while he was
incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center, complaining that
his due process rights were violated in a disciplinary action
that took place while he was a prisoner at Menard
Correctional Center (“Menard”). He has since
notified the Court that he has been released from
incarceration. (Doc. 7).
original Complaint was dismissed on December 22, 2016 for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
(Doc. 5). The Court characterized his single claim as
Count 1: Fourteenth Amendment claim for deprivation of a
liberty interest without due process, for punishing Plaintiff
with 6 months in segregation based on no evidence other than
the reporting officer's statement.
was granted leave to file an Amended Complaint in order to
re-plead the claim designated as Count 1. He filed his First
Amended Complaint on January 13, 2017 (Doc. 6) which 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.
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 Bell 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). 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).
fully considering the allegations in Bell's First Amended
Complaint, the Court concludes that it also fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. This action is
therefore subject to summary dismissal under § 1915A.
First Amended Complaint
support of his due process claim (Count 1), Bell offers
similar allegations to those he presented in the original
pleading: Brookman and Wills allegedly violated his due
process rights “when they denied Bell a fair hearing by
an impartial hearing body” on April 21, 2015. (Doc. 6,
p. 5). They found Bell guilty “without any
evidence to substantiate their decision, ”
and subjected him to 6 months in disciplinary segregation in
a small cell, along with 6 months of commissary restriction
and a C-grade demotion.
addition to the original due process claim, the First Amended
Complaint includes a second claim asserting that the
conditions in Bell's segregation cell constituted cruel
and unusual punishment. (Doc. 6, p. 5). He asserts that the
cell was small, encased with steel, concrete, and glass,
without proper ventilation during the “extremely hot
Summer heat.” Id. He was denied cleaning
supplies such as a broom and mop. In order to clean the cell,
Bell swept up dirt and dust with a washcloth while on his
hands and knees. He developed a skin rash on both forearms
and on the back of his hands, which required medical
treatment. He complained to Warden Butler via a grievance,
but got no response. Bell also complains that during his
segregation time, he was allowed only one shower per week,
was given yard time only once per week, and was restrained
with his hands behind his back each time he was escorted out
of his cell. (Doc. 6, p. 6).
relief, Bell requests compensatory and punitive damages.
(Doc. 6, p. 7). Notably, he ties his prayer for relief to an
allegation that he was subjected to 120 days of
disciplinary segregation as a result of the Defendants'
actions. Id. This is in contrast to his assertion
that Brookman and Wills recommended that he be punished with
6 months (or 180 days) in segregation.
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the First Amended 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 ...