United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MR. WILLIE CLAY, Plaintiff,
MR. SLOAN AND MR. UNDERWOOD, Defendants.
MERIT REVIEW OPINION
MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this case pro se from Hill Correctional Center. The
case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. This statute requires the Court to review
a complaint filed by a prisoner to identify the cognizable
claims and to dismiss part or all of the complaint if no
claim is stated.
reviewing the Complaint, the Court accepts the factual
allegations as true, liberally construing them in
Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory
statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be
provided to "'state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face.'" Alexander v. U.S.,
721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(quoted cite
refers the reader to the grievance attached to his complaint
to explain his allegations. This grievance recounts the
following interaction Plaintiff had with Defendants Sloan and
Underwood on July 26, 2016:
I was coming from personal property. I was passing three
inmates and a food supervisor Sloan. One of the inmates made
a gay joke about me having on some tight jeans. I told him
not to play with [illegible] orderly fashion. However the
food supervisor thought the comment was funny. So I walk off
from them, as I was walking the food supervisor Sloan started
calling me back, and I refused to walk back to be taunted by
the food supervisor Sloan so Officer Underwood approached
food supervisor Sloan and asked him what the problem.
That's where I became all kinds of black motherfucker
stupid ass people. Dumb motherfucker, and food supervisor
Sloan told Underwood I told the dumb ass fag to come back and
he did not. Food supervisor Sloan told Underwood the fucker
looks gay in those jeans. Everything should be on tape. July
26, 2016 this is a sexual offense. After all this was over he
told me to look into his eyes. I refused to do so then he
took my I.D. and told me you're zipper's down
asshole. This happened in front of chow hall and in front of
the commissary around 9:30 a.m.
(Pl.'s 7/26/16 grievance, d/e 1, p. 11.) According to the
grievance response, an investigation was conducted and the
grievance was denied because Plaintiff's allegations
could not be substantiated. The grievance response states
that food supervisor Sloan denied Plaintiff's allegations
and told investigators that he had tried to call Plaintiff
back only to tell Plaintiff that his zipper was broken.
Court accepts Plaintiff's version of events for purpose
of this order, but, even doing so, Plaintiff's current
allegations do not state a plausible federal claim for
relief. “[M]ost verbal harassment by jail or prison
guards does not rise to the level of cruel and unusual
punishment.” Beal v. Foster, 803 F.3d 356, 358
(7th Cir. 2015). There are cases in which verbal
harassment is actionable, but typically the verbal harassment
occurs on more than one occasion and amounts to intimidation
or threats. For example, in Beal, the plaintiff
alleged that a guard made sexual comments toward the
plaintiff, telling plaintiff to “place his penis”
inside another inmate and that if the plaintiff placed his
penis inside another inmate's mouth that would make the
inmate smile. 803 F.3d at 358. The defendant in Beal
also allegedly showed his “own penis in repeated public
urinations.” Id. Other inmates allegedly
called the plaintiff in Beal “‘punk,
fag, sissy, and queer[, ] . . . possibly inspired or
encouraged by [the defendant's] comments.'” The
plaintiff in Beal claimed severe psychological harm.
Plaintiff's allegations involve one isolated interaction
which occurred over eight months ago, not the kind of
repeated and intimidating or threatening harassment alleged
in Beal. On the current allegations, no plausible
inference arises from this single interaction that Plaintiff
was harmed or subjected to an increased risk of harm.
Further, Plaintiff's grievance was taken seriously and an
investigation was conducted. Compare with Hughes v.
Scott, 816 F.3d 955, 956 (7th Cir.
2016)(civil detainee stated claim based on name-calling,
veiled threat that his life “would go better if he
stopped complaining, ” and refusal to answer his
Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed without prejudice for
failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Plaintiff may file an amended complaint by June 19, 2017. If
Plaintiff does not file an amended complaint or
Plaintiff's amended complaint still fails to state a
claim, then this action will be dismissed for failure to
state a claim and a strike will be assessed against Plaintiff
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(g). If Plaintiff files an amended
complaint, the amended complaint will replace the original
complaint. Piecemeal amendments are not permitted.
Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed for failure to state a
claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and 28 U.S.C. §
 A prisoner who has had three prior
actions dismissed for failure to state a claim or as
frivolous or malicious can no longer proceed in forma
pauperis (without prepaying the filing fee in full) unless
the prisoner is under “imminent danger of ...