United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert United States District Judge.
submitted his pro se civil rights complaint, brought
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, while he was incarcerated
at the Franklin County Jail. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9). He has since
been released from custody. (Doc. 1, pp. 1, 6; Doc. 1-1).
Plaintiff claims that he was housed with hostile inmates who
attacked him, and he was not given prompt medical care for
his injuries. This case is now before the Court for a
preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. This screening requirement (as well as the
fee-payment requirement in § 1915(b)) applies to
Plaintiff's case because he was still a prisoner at the
time he brought this action.
determination of a plaintiff's status as a prisoner or
non-prisoner, and thus the applicability of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) must be made as of the date the
lawsuit is brought. Kerr v. Puckett, 138 F.3d 321,
323 (7th Cir. 1998). Under the “mailbox rule, ” a
court document submitted by a prisoner to jail officials for
placement in the U.S. mail is considered “filed”
at the moment it is delivered to jail authorities, rather
than on the date it ultimately arrives at the court. See
Edwards v. United States, 266 F.3d 756, 758 (7th Cir.
2001). (citing Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266
(1988)). Plaintiff signed his Complaint on February 17, 2017,
and noted that “after 2/17/17” his address would
be a post office box in Valier, Illinois. (Doc. 1, pp. 1, 6).
He included a cover letter stating that he should be released
on February 18, 2017. (Doc. 1-1). The envelope shows that the
Complaint was mailed from the jail. (Doc. 1, p. 8). These
facts demonstrate that Plaintiff must still have been a
prisoner when he submitted the document for mailing. Thus,
his suit was “brought” during his imprisonment
and the PLRA, including § 1915A, applies to his case.
§ 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 Plaintiff's claims
survive threshold review under § 1915A.
was arrested and booked into the Franklin County Jail on
August 5, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 5). At intake, Plaintiff told
Officer Young that he “had problems” with some
other jail inmates who had stolen some property from
Plaintiff's house. Young, however, told Plaintiff that he
did not get to pick where he was housed, and place Plaintiff
into the same cell block with the inmates who posed a danger
to him. Young smiled, and told Plaintiff to “enjoy
[his] stay here.” Id.
“made it” to August 10, 2016, but on that day, he
was “jumped” and beaten by the inmates that he
warned Young about. Id. After the beating, Young and
Officer Diuguid conducted 4 safety checks, but did not remove
Plaintiff from the cell block (Block “C”) until 4
hours after he was injured. Young and Diuguid moved Plaintiff
to holding cell #1 across from the nurse's station,
however, the nurse was not called to check on Plaintiff's
injuries until the following day (August 11).
Ashley told Plaintiff that his injuries were not serious
enough to require medical treatment. Officer Funkhouser told
Plaintiff that he would be kept in the holding cell across
from the nurse's station until his injuries healed up.
Plaintiff repeatedly asked for medical attention but was
refused. He told Lt. Shaffer that he could not see out of his
right eye and was having serious headaches, and asked to be
taken to the hospital. Shaffer told Plaintiff to tough it up,
and if he gets around to it, he would go.
about 24 hours in the holding cell, Plaintiff called his
family. He was finally taken to the Franklin County Emergency
Room, where he was transferred to Deaconess Hospital in
Evansville, Indiana. Doctors there diagnosed Plaintiff with a
fractured orbital bone around his right eye. Plaintiff states
that he still cannot see out of his right eye where the
seeks monetary damages. (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 prose 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 ...