United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert United States District Judge.
is a transgender individual who was an inmate in the
FCI-Greenville when she brought this action for alleged
violations of her constitutional rights by persons acting
under the color of federal authority. See Bivens v. Six
Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). She was
recently transferred to the FCI-Terre Haute, Indiana. (Doc.
4). This case is now before the Court for a preliminary
review of the complaint 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.
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).
fully considering the allegations in Plaintiff's
Complaint, the Court concludes that this action is subject to
summary dismissal. However, Plaintiff shall be given an
opportunity to submit an amended complaint in order to cure
the defects in her pleading.
has a previously-filed action now pending in this Court,
Johnson v. Robinson, et al., Case No.
15-cv-298-JPG-RJD. That case involves allegations that
Plaintiff was put at risk of harm by several cell placements,
in violation of the Eighth Amendment; and was denied equal
protection in her cell assignments, in violation of the Fifth
Amendment. The Defendants in that action are Greenville
officials Rosalind Robinson and Waleska Lirios. Neither of
these individuals is named as a Defendant in the case at bar.
However, the statement of facts in the present Complaint
includes a number of allegations against Robinson, presumably
as background, which duplicate the matters already before
this Court in Case No. 15-298.
has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria (GD), and has
serious medical needs that require regular medication. She
was deprived of some necessary medication/products for hair
removal or to prevent hair growth while at Greenville. (Doc.
1, p. 3). Her transgender status makes her vulnerable to
assault, abuse, and discrimination, particularly in the
prison environment. “Defendants” (whom Plaintiff
refers to collectively throughout the Complaint) knew
Plaintiff was diagnosed with GD and was a transgender
individual. Defendants also knew that Plaintiff was
HIV-positive and asked her whether she was taking her HIV
medication as prescribed.
Robinson (a Defendant in Case No. 15-298, who is not named as
a Defendant herein) screened Plaintiff upon her arrival at
Greenville in July 2012 and was responsible for making
Plaintiff's housing assignments. The first cell chosen by
Robinson put Plaintiff in danger from two gang-member
cellmates who threatened Plaintiff with physical harm if she
entered the cell. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Next, Plaintiff spent 2
months in an 8-man cell, where her top-bunk placement led to
threats and attacks by cellmates because Plaintiff had to use
the bathroom frequently at night due to her medical
condition. She often did not make it to the toilet in time,
and accidentally urinated and/or defecated on the inmate who
occupied the lower bunk. Robinson ignored Plaintiff's
privacy concerns about being housed with 7 other male
inmates. Plaintiff also fell off the top bunk and damaged
certain implants placed in her body. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
Plaintiff was denied a bottom-bunk pass by some unidentified
prison official. (Doc. 1, p. 4).
was eventually admitted into Greenville's reentry program
and was then placed in a 2-man cell. (Doc. 1, p. 5). In that
placement, Plaintiff was celled with a homosexual male inmate
(Davis), which was satisfactory to her and Davis. Robinson,
however, tried to cause problems between them and encouraged
Davis to move out, by disclosing Plaintiff's HIV status
to Davis, and causing Davis to be fired from his job and lose
told Plaintiff that “they considered her a male and did
not condone or approve of her transgender status.”
(Doc. 1, p. 5). Such comments, including Defendants'
disclosure of Plaintiff's HIV status, were made in the
presence of other inmates, “in an attempt to embarrass
and humiliate Plaintiff.” (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). Defendants
denied Plaintiff's request that she be allowed to
participate in the selection of cellmates.
was singled out for cell inspections and had to undergo those
inspections more often than other inmates. She asserts these
inspections/searches were done in order to harass her or to
retaliate against her for “filing complaints.”
(Doc. 1, p. 5). She was written up for having contraband, and
lost good conduct time as well as other privileges as a
email and regular mail has been “interfered with or
diverted, including communications with his attorneys in ...