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Mardis v. Enloe

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

May 16, 2017

Jaleel Mardis (M-50108), Plaintiff,
Donald Enloe, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff's second application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [8] is granted. The Court orders the trust fund officer at Plaintiff's place of incarceration to deduct $46.34 from Plaintiff's account for payment to the Clerk of Court as an initial partial payment of the filing fee, and to continue making monthly deductions in accordance with this order. The Clerk of Court shall send a copy of this order to the trust fund officer at the Dixon Correctional Center. The Court further directs the Clerk of Court to: (1) file Plaintiff's complaint [1]; (2) dismiss and terminate Defendant Warden John Varga; (3) issue summonses for service on Defendants Warden Donald Enloe and C/O Scott Nailor by the U.S. Marshal; and (4) send Plaintiff two blank USM-285 service forms, a magistrate judge consent form, filing instructions, and a copy of this order. Plaintiff's motion for service of process at government expense [5] is granted as to the remaining Defendants, pending Plaintiff's compliance with this order. The Court advises Plaintiff that a completed USM-285 form is required for service on each remaining Defendant (Enloe and Nailor). The U.S. Marshal will not attempt service on a Defendant unless and until the required form for that Defendant is received. The U.S. Marshal is appointed to serve Defendants Enloe and Nailor. Plaintiff's motion for attorney representation [4] is denied without prejudice to later renewal.


         Plaintiff Jaleel Mardis, an Illinois prisoner housed at Dixon Correctional Center, brought this pro se civil rights action, invoking 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, claiming that prison officials have discriminated against her for her transgender status and retaliated against her for submitting a grievance and Prison Rape Elimination Act (“PREA”) report about the incident. Currently before the Court are Plaintiff's second application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, her complaint for initial review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, her motion for attorney representation, and her motion for service of process at government expense.

         Plaintiff's Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         Plaintiff's application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis demonstrates she cannot prepay the filing fee and is thus granted. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), (2), the Court orders: (1) Plaintiff to immediately pay (and the facility having custody of him to automatically remit) $46.34 to the Clerk of Court for payment of the initial partial filing fee and (2) Plaintiff to pay (and the facility having custody of her to automatically remit) to the Clerk of Court twenty percent of the money she receives for each calendar month during which she receives $10.00 or more, until the $350 filing fee is paid in full. The Court directs the Clerk of Court to ensure that a copy of this order is mailed to each facility where Plaintiff is housed until the filing fee has been paid in full. All payments shall be sent to the Clerk of Court, United States District Court, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois 60604, attn: Cashier's Desk, 20th Floor, and shall clearly identify Plaintiff's name and the case number assigned to this case.

         Initial Review of Plaintiff's Complaint

         Under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a), the Court is required to screen pro se prisoners' complaints, including amendments, and dismiss the complaint, or any claims therein, if the Court determines that the complaint or claim is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 214 (2007); Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013).

         Courts screen prisoner litigation claims in the same manner as ordinary Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss. See Maddox v. Love, 655 F.3d 709, 718 (7th Cir. 2011). A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. See Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The short and plain statement under Rule 8(a)(2) must “give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted). Under the federal notice pleading standards, a plaintiff's “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. Put differently, a “complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

         “In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint under the plausibility standard, [courts] accept the well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true.” Alam v. Miller Brewing Co., 709 F.3d 662, 665-66 (7th Cir. 2013). Courts also construe pro se complaints liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam).

         Plaintiff alleges that she is a transgender inmate with breast enhancements and currently undergoing hormone therapy. (Dkt. 1, pg. 6, 10, 1.) On February 23, 2016, as she and two other (apparently transgender) inmates entered a building “for prayer room, ” they passed Correctional Officer Scott Nailor, who was stationed at a desk along that hallway speaking on the telephone. (Id. at 6.) They paused and turned to Nailor after hearing him direct “fags” to “push the fuck on.” (Id.) While other inmates and staff members looked on, Nailor said he “hates us fucking sissies” and clarified, in response to Plaintiff's request, that he was addressing “you fucking princess queen.” (Id. at 6, 14.) When Plaintiff sought Nailor's name, he “yelled it, ” then told Plaintiff “to go write a grievance bitch, ” and screamed after them that they were “[b]itches, fags, sissies and princess queens, ” causing Plaintiff to cry and seek support from a crisis team member. (Id. at 6-7.) Plaintiff also reported the incident to Sergeant Andrews; Andrews called Nailor, who lied and said Plaintiff had asked him a question, and he had merely told Plaintiff to push on. (Id. at 7.) Nailor then, however, wrote a disciplinary ticket against Plaintiff for “sexual misconduct and insolence, ” accusing Plaintiff of “flirting with him.” (Id.) Plaintiff believes Nailor's comments also may have been race-related, as she has not heard of him subjecting white transgender inmates to similar treatment. (Id. at 12.)

         The next day, Correctional Officer Meador approached Plaintiff, said he had heard Nailor's insults the day before and had authored an incident report documenting it. (Id.) Plaintiff submitted a grievance and “PREA report” regarding Nailor's behavior.[1] (Id. at 8, 15.) Ultimately, IDOC officials investigated the incident and found his PREA claims to be “substantiated”; the disciplinary ticket against Plaintiff was expunged. (Id. at 7-8, 20, 22.) Plaintiff heard that Nailor “was given fifteen (15) days off for his actions.” (Id. at 3.)

         Following the incident, Plaintiff was “placed in Housing Unit 31” under less desirable circumstances than her prior cell placement. (Id. at 9.) The unit “is a transitional housing unit, ” meaning that “you change cellmates almost every two weeks.” (Id.) And, instead of sharing a cell with only one other inmate, Plaintiff was housed with three other heterosexual inmates, whose presence made it difficult for her to “clean up or change clothes.” (Id.) She was more fearful of attack due to the number of heterosexual cellmates. (Id.) Moreover, Plaintiff was told that she was housed there due to notes threatening her with harm, but she felt her safety was in greater jeopardy with the increased number of constantly-changing cellmates. (Id. at 9-10.) She therefore believes that she was reassigned “as a form of punishment” for her complaint regarding Nailor. (Id. at 9, 10.) Plaintiff spoke with officials, including the warden about [her] living situation” but “nothing was done until seventy (70) plus days later.” (Id. at 10.) She also has occasionally encountered Nailor, who “gives her a deathly stare.” (Id. at 13.) Plaintiff fears other correctional staff, who “lie on tickets to punish [her] so [she] stay[s] in the cell.” (Id. at 10.)

         Plaintiff invokes 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, alleging that her rights to equal protection and to be free from unlawful discrimination and retaliation were violated. She also raises intentional infliction of emotional distress under Illinois law. She seeks compensatory, nominal and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief “to stop ...

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