United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MICHAEL OLIVER Suing as King Michael Oliver, # B-89925, Plaintiff,
KIMBERLY BUTLER, MAJOR LYERLA, and SERGEANT SCOTT, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. Herndon, United States District Judge
matter is now before the Court for preliminary review of four
claims that Plaintiff King Michael Oliver brought pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against officials at Menard
Correctional Center. (Doc. 2). These claims were severed from
another suit Plaintiff filed in this District. See Oliver
v. Lashbrook, No. 17-cv-00169-DRH (S.D. 111. Feb. 17,
2017) ("original case"). Plaintiff alleges that the
Menard defendants violated his constitutional rights by
transferring him from a cell on the "hill" to the
"pit" (Counts 10 and 11), harassing him about his
visitor's list (Count 12), and mishandling his grievances
Court entered an initial order in this severed case on March
24, 2017. (Doc. 5). In it, the Court pointed to numerous
instances in which Plaintiff indicated that he intended to
supplement or amend the Complaint to add claims. (Doc. 5, pp.
2-3). The Court also noted that the exhibits appeared to be
incomplete or missing but were so poorly organized that it
was impossible to tell. Id. Under the circumstances,
the Court deferred preliminary review of the severed claims
until Plaintiff had an opportunity to file a First Amended
Complaint setting forth all of his related claims against
Menard officials in a single complaint. (Doc. 5, pp. 3-4).
The deadline for doing so was April 20, 2017. (Doc. 5, p. 4).
Plaintiff was warned that failure to file an amended
complaint or seek an extension of the deadline for doing so
by April 20, 2017, would result in preliminary review of the
severed claims based on the allegations set forth in the
original Complaint. (Doc. 5, p. 5).
did not file a First Amended Complaint or seek an extension
of the deadline. Therefore, Counts 10 through 13 are subject
to preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
(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
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.
careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits,
the Court deems it appropriate to exercise its authority
under § 1915A. With one exception, the severed claims
are subject to dismissal at this time.
factual allegations offered in support of Counts 10 through
13 are scattered throughout the Complaint and exhibits. (Doc.
2, pp. 1-23; Doc. 2-1, pp. 1-19). Because the Complaint
addresses claims against officials at two different prisons,
it is difficult to discern which allegations pertain to the
claims against Menard officials and which allegations pertain
to events at Pinckneyville. Id. To the extent
possible, the Court has summarized the relevant allegations
to the Complaint, Plaintiff requested a transfer out of
Menard in 2015. (Doc. 2, p. 2). Major Lyerla denied his
request and instead decided to transfer him from the
"hill" to the "pit" at Menard.
Id. The "hill" is a medium security unit
at Menard, where Plaintiff was housed without incident. (Doc.
2, p. 3). The "pit" is a maximum security unit that
is more dangerous. (Doc. 2, pp. 2- 3). Plaintiff claims that
he did nothing wrong and should not have been transferred
there. (Doc. 2, p. 3).
to the Complaint, Defendants simply wanted to harass him.
(Doc. 2, p. 3). Several prison officials, including Sergeant
Scott, allegedly taunted Plaintiff for filing so many
grievances and lawsuits and for referring to himself as
"King Michael Oliver" on a visitor's list.
(Doc. 2, pp. 3, 7, 16-17). On an undisclosed date, Sergeant
Scott tore up the list in front of Plaintiff and threatened
to kill him. (Doc. 2, pp. 7, 16). Plaintiff was then confined
to his cell without shower access or recreational privileges
for a "couple days." Id. When Plaintiff
asked an officer for blank grievance forms, the officer
retrieved the forms and delivered them to Plaintiffs cell
with Sergeant Scott. (Doc. 2, p. 7). The sergeant said,
"I double dog dare you to fill out those
ignored the warning and submitted a grievance to complain
about Sergeant Scott anyway. (Doc. 2, pp. 3, 7). In response,
Major Lyerla called Plaintiff to his office and told
Plaintiff that he did not believe him. (Doc. 2, pp. 7, 17).
He believed the statements made by his officers. Id.
The major then asked Plaintiff to explain why he referred to
himself as "King." Id. When Plaintiff
ignored the question and stated that he would submit his
complaint directly to Warden Butler, Major Lyerla threatened
to send him to the "pit" for doing so. Id.
Plaintiff ignored Major Lyerla's warning and submitted a
grievance directly to the warden. (Doc. 2, pp. 6-7, 16-18).
around July 22, 2015, he was transferred to the
"pit." (Doc. 2, pp. 8, 18-19). His cell was so hot
that Plaintiff feared he would suffer from heat stroke.
Id. He submitted a written request for a fan and was
provided with one a "couple" days later.
Id. Plaintiff claims that his situation only got
worse when one of his known enemies, David Sankey, was placed
in his cell. (Doc. 2, p. 7; Doc. 2-1, p. 12). Plaintiff
maintains that the two inmates were housed together in a
remote area of the "pit" so that they would fight