United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
currently incarcerated at Shawnee Correctional Center
(“Shawnee”), brought this pro se civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the
Central District of Illinois. The case was filed there on
July 14, 2016, under Case No. 16-cv-3215. Plaintiff asserted
claims that arose during his incarceration at Taylorville
Correctional Center (“Taylorville”), as well as
issues concerning his later confinement at Shawnee.
September 20, 2016, the Central District dismissed
Plaintiff's original Complaint (Doc. 1) for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and allowed
him 30 days to re-plead. (Doc. 7). Plaintiff's First
Amended Complaint (Doc. 17) likewise failed to state a claim
for the violation of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights
to be free of cruel and unusual punishment during his
incarceration at Taylorville Correctional Center. (Doc. 16).
On March 21, 2017, the Central District dismissed
Plaintiff's complaint as it relates to Taylorville for
failure to state a claim, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. (Doc. 16, p.
8). The court terminated the Defendants associated with
Taylorville, and transferred the matter to this Court for a
threshold determination as to whether Plaintiff stated any
colorable claims arising from his incarceration at Shawnee.
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review under
28 U.S.C. § 1915A of the claims relating to
Plaintiff's confinement at Shawnee contained in the First
Amended Complaint (Doc. 17).
§ 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 factual allegations in Plaintiff's
Complaint, the Court concludes that this action is subject to
remaining Defendants in this action are John Baldwin (Acting
Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections - IDOC),
Sherry Benton (IDOC Administrative Review Board Member),
Sandra Funk (IDOC Transfer Coordinator), and the State of
Illinois. Each of the individual Defendants is based in
Springfield, Illinois (Doc. 17, p. 2).
Plaintiff's statement of claim, pages 5-7 describe
incidents that occurred at Taylorville which have already
been considered and dismissed by the Central District.
Plaintiff's narrative turns to Shawnee at the bottom of
page 7 and continues through page 8 of the Complaint. (Doc.
17, pp. 7-8).
2014, Plaintiff had a hearing on a disciplinary report at
Taylorville. He was found guilty of the infraction, and part
of his recommended punishment was a disciplinary transfer to
Shawnee. Plaintiff filed a grievance over the discipline
imposed, and that grievance was still pending on July 30,
2014, when Plaintiff was transferred to Shawnee. (Doc. 17, p.
7). Plaintiff asserts that Funk was responsible for
transferring him from Taylorville to Shawnee, and that the
transfer violated an Illinois statute, which provides that an
agency's administrative decision does not become final
until rehearing or review is “had or denied.”
(Doc. 17, pp. 7-8 (referencing 735 ILCS 5/3-101)). He further
claims that Funk knew that Shawnee staff would
“continue the disciplinary infraction” imposed on
him despite the fact that his segregation time should have
ended on July 30, 2014.
Plaintiff's arrival at Shawnee on July 30, 2014, he was
placed in “Receiving” for 21 days rather than in
general population. While there, Plaintiff was treated like
he was in segregation - he could not walk to meals, and was
given only 2 showers and 2 hours in the yard during the
21-day period. During the time in “Receiving, ”
Plaintiff also had no gym or dayroom privileges (he states
that dayroom would ordinarily have been allowed for 1.5 hours
twice a day). In his cell, the plugs for electronics had
something stuck in them and the cable outlet had been removed
from the wall. (Doc. 17, p. 8).
seeks monetary damages from the Illinois Department of
Corrections for the alleged violations of his rights from
July 15 through August 19, 2014. (Doc. 17, p. 9).
Review Pursuant to 28 ...