United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Sean Arnold, an inmate in Illinois River Correctional Center,
brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his Amended
Complaint, Plaintiff claims that the defendants failed to
protect him from an attack by another inmate while he was
incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”) and were deliberately indifferent to
his serious medical needs arising from the attack, in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 6). This case is now
before the Court for a preliminary review of the Amended
Complaint pursuant to 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
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 Amended Complaint and any supporting
exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to allow this case
to proceed past the threshold stage.
Amended Complaint (Doc. 6), Plaintiff makes the following
allegations: Plaintiff was convicted of aggravated criminal
sexual assault and is serving a 20-year prison sentence.
(Doc. 6, p. 6). He was transferred from Lawrence Correctional
Center to Menard on October 22, 2014. Id. Upon his
transfer to Menard, Plaintiff was housed with inmate
Reliford, also known as Trey-9. Id. Reliford
eventually discovered, potentially through seeing
Plaintiff's trial transcripts in the cell, that Plaintiff
was convicted of sexually assaulting Reliford's cousin.
Id. On October 26, 2014, Plaintiff witnessed
Reliford give orders to members of his gang, the Gangster
Disciples, to attack and kill Plaintiff on sight.
Id. Plaintiff attempted to reason with Reliford, but
Reliford told him: “If you speak to me again, I'll
kill you myself.” Id.
next day, Plaintiff wrote a request to Internal Affairs /
Placement to alert staff of the threats made to his life and
to request to be moved away from Reliford because he feared
for his safety. (Doc. 6, p. 7). On October 29, 2014,
Plaintiff received a response from Internal Affairs Officer
M. Hof stating that Reliford was not on his enemy list.
Id. For several days, Plaintiff remained in fear for
his life, until Reliford was released from segregation and
sent to general population. Id. Plaintiff was
eventually released from segregation on December 29, 2014.
Id. He immediately requested protective custody and
was denied by Warden Kimberly Butler on January 9, 2015.
Id.; (Doc. 6-1, p. 9). Plaintiff grieved the denial
to the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”), but
Director S.A. Godinez and ARB Chairperson Terri Anderson
“excluded facts about Plaintiff Arnold's conviction
of aggravated criminal sexual assault in order to deny
Plaintiff's grievance.” (Doc. 6, p. 7).
Plaintiff's requests for protective custody and
separation from the Gangster Disciples gang because they
“had a hit out on him, ” on February 13, 2015,
Plaintiff was moved into the same cell as inmate Ware, who
was known to be a violent member of the Gangster Disciples
gang. (Doc. 6, pp. 7, 12). Ware threatened Plaintiff, and
Plaintiff immediately informed prison staff, including Hof
and Placement Officer John Doe (“John Doe 2”),
about these threats made to his life, and he requested to be
moved. Id. On February 14, 2015, Plaintiff was
assaulted with a “homemade” weapon, stabbed in
the head and face, and beaten in the head with an electric
fan. (Doc. 6, p. 7); (Doc. 6-1, pp. 3-7). His request to be
moved was denied by Hof on February 15, 2015. (Doc. 6, pp. 7,
12); (Doc. 6-1, p. 19). In his response to Plaintiff's
request, Hof noted that Ware was not on Plaintiff's list
of enemies. (Doc. 6, p. 12). Plaintiff did not receive a
response from John Doe 2.
February 16, 2015 to April 20, 2015, Plaintiff made numerous
requests for medical attention via inmate medical requests
and verbal requests to staff to receive treatment for painful
headaches, memory loss, and dizziness. (Doc. 6, pp. 7-8).
These requests for medical attention were denied. (Doc. 6, p.
on his claims against certain defendants, Plaintiff alleges
as follows: Butler “had full knowledge that [Plaintiff]
was requesting protection from the Gangster Disciple Gang and
. . . that placing [Plaintiff] in the same cell with inmate
Ware, who is a known Gangster Disciple and violent inmate,
would result in [Plaintiff] being assaulted by inmate
Ware.” (Doc. 6, p. 9). Further, Butler had a
“customary practice of denial of protection”
unless the inmate in question has listed his potential
assailant on his list of enemies. Id.
Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) has a
“customary practice, ” along with its ARB
employees, of regularly excluding key information when
deciding grievances for protective custody. (Doc. 6, p. 10).
Godinez “promulgated, adopted and/or put into effect
the customary practice of [IDOC] to regularly exclude key
information when deciding grievances for protective custody,
as an effective tactic to deny grievances.”
Id. Anderson and Sherry Benton, a member of the ARB,
adopted this practice. Id. “The exclusion of
any mention of [Plaintiff's] conviction of aggravated
criminal sexual assault is indicative of” this
practice, because Plaintiff believes it was essential to
Plaintiff's grievance for protective custody placement.
(Doc. 6, p. 11); see also (Doc. 6-1, p. 16).
February 4, 2015 was the hearing date for Plaintiff's ARB
grievance, which was ten days before he was attacked. (Doc.
6, p. 11).
Health Services Inc. (“Wexford”) and Health Care
Administrator John Doe (“John Doe 1”) provide
medical care to the inmates at Menard. (Doc. 6, p. 13). At
the times relevant to the Amended Complaint, Wexford
maintained a policy and practice of denying “medical
attention to inmates who complain of any effects from head
trauma, or injuries to the head, as a means of saving
costs.” Id. Plaintiff made many requests for
medical attention, but they were ignored. Id.; (Doc.
6-1, p. 13). John Doe 1 and Wexford “were deliberately
indifferent to [Plaintiff's] medical needs when employees
of [Wexford] ignored [Plaintiff's] request for medical
care, ” and this deliberate indifference caused
Plaintiff to suffer medical injuries. (Doc. 6, pp. 13-14).
seeks monetary damages from the ...