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Ford v. Brookman

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 30, 2017

ANTOINE FORD, #R-49546, Plaintiff,
v.
KENT E. BROOKMAN and TRACEY LEE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

STACI M. YANDLE U.S. District Judge.

         Now before the Court for preliminary review is the First Amended Complaint filed by Plaintiff Antoine Ford. (Doc. 8). Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center. He brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against two co-chairs of Menard's Adjustment Committee, Kent Brookman and Tracey Lee. Plaintiff claims that they denied him credit for time he spent in investigative segregation when they punished him with one month of segregation for trafficking and trading in September 2015. (Doc. 8, p. 5). Plaintiff remained in segregation for a total of fifty days instead of thirty. Id. The conditions he encountered there were allegedly deplorable. Id. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and a prison transfer. (Doc. 8, p. 6).

         The First Amended Complaint is now subject to review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         An 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 any reasonable person would find meritless. 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. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009). The First Amended Complaint survives screening under this standard.

         First Amended Complaint

         During his incarceration at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”), Plaintiff was placed in segregation under investigative status on August 2, 2015. (Doc. 8, p. 5). He transferred to Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”) two days later while still under investigation. Id. Following the investigation and a hearing before Menard's Adjustment Committee, Plaintiff was found guilty of trafficking and trading and punished with thirty days of segregation. Id.

         On the date he received this punishment, Plaintiff had already spent twenty-eight days in segregation. (Doc. 8, p. 5). He asked Co-Chairs Brookman and Lee whether he would receive a credit for the time he had already spent there. Id. He complained that the conditions in segregation were deplorable. Id.

         Plaintiff allegedly told the defendants that he was confined to a cell in Menard's North 2 Cell House with a steel door and virtually no air circulation. (Doc. 8, p. 5). For a week after transferring there, Plaintiff could not clean himself. Id. The prison did not issue him any soap, and he had no access to his property or money. Id. He could not purchase his own hygiene supplies. Id. The faucet in his cell was covered in mold, and there was no running cold water. Id.

         Temperatures allegedly soared during the same time period, with the heat index exceeding 100 degrees (Doc. 8, p. 5). He developed chest pains and was sent to the prison's health care unit for treatment of heat exhaustion. Id.

         Thereafter, he began using toilet water to clean himself and to cool down. (Doc. 8, p. 5). He received only one shower per week. Id. He was allowed to attend yard only once during this time period. Id. Plaintiff claims that he complained about these conditions and the fact that it exacerbated his bipolar disorder to “authorities, ” including Brookman, Lee, and a psychiatrist.[1]Id.

         He also argued that the administrative code called for a credit of the time he had already spent in segregation toward his punishment. (Doc. 8, p. 5). Brookman agreed that Plaintiff should receive a twenty-eight day credit against his punishment. Id. However, Lee disagreed and indicated that the punishment did not begin until the date Plaintiff received his disciplinary ticket. Id. As for the conditions that Plaintiff described, Lee told Plaintiff to “man up, ” after stating that he heard Plaintiff “didn't last” one hour “behind that door” before crying. Id.

         According to Plaintiff's calculation, he should have been released from segregation on September 2, 2015, but wasn't released until September 20, 2015 (Doc. 8, p. 5). He now asserts claims against both defendants for depriving him of a protected liberty interest without due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth ...


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