United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.
an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections
(“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Pontiac
Correctional Center (“Pontiac”), has brought this
pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. His claims arose while he was confined at Menard
Correctional Center (“Menard”). Plaintiff claims
that he was sexually assaulted and denied due process in the
proceedings over a disciplinary ticket. He also raises a
state law tort claim based on the assault. The Complaint is
now before the Court for a preliminary review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion
of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks
for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 “no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.”
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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on
its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations
as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th
Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or
implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a
plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574,
581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts “should not
accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a
cause of action or conclusory legal statements.”
Id. At the same time, however, the factual
allegations of a pro se complaint are to be
liberally construed. See Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d
742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
these standards, the Court finds that some of Plaintiff's
claims survive threshold review under § 1915A.
14, 2016, Plaintiff was ordered by unidentified Menard
officers to terminate the telephone call he was on because he
was going to segregation. (Doc. 1, p. 3). He was not given a
reason for this move. When he was placed in punitive
segregation on that day, Plaintiff went on crisis watch. He
told the crisis watch officer to “put down his witness
which was Plaintiff['s] call log to his pin
days later, on June 29, 2016, the Adjustment Committee held a
hearing on Plaintiff's disciplinary ticket. Plaintiff
objected because the hearing was not held within the 14-day
time limit required by IDOC rules, and he asked for the
ticket to be expunged. The Committee declined to expunge the
ticket and found Plaintiff guilty of (107) sexual misconduct.
(Doc. 1, p. 4). The hearing report was falsified to state
that the hearing was held on June 21, 2016. Plaintiff's
telephone call log was never investigated, and his witness
was not called. He blames Lieutenant Scott for these
failures. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
filed a grievance over the disciplinary action. The
Administrative Review Board agreed with Plaintiff's
assertion that the hearing had actually been held on June 29
hearing date, but nonetheless denied his grievance. Plaintiff
claims that these events violated his right to due process.
8, 2016, C/O Garner and C/O Barker came to Plaintiff's
cell, handcuffed him, and told him he was “moving
behind the cell door on 6 Gallery.” (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5).
While Plaintiff's hands were cuffed, Garner pulled down
Plaintiff's boxers and stuck his fingers in
Plaintiff's anus several times. Plaintiff was yelling and
screaming during this incident, but nobody came to his
assistance. Plaintiff immediately requested medical
attention, but he was not allowed to see a nurse until
several days later. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
on the incident with Garner and Barker, Plaintiff asserts an
Eighth Amendment claim for cruel and unusual punishment, as
well as an Illinois state law claim for assault and battery.
(Doc. 1, pp. 5-6).
states that he suffers from a serious mental illness (he does
not elaborate further). He claims that due to this condition,
he has suffered mental anguish and loss of sleep following
the alleged assault and due process violation. (Doc. 1, pp.
seeks monetary damages and an order of protection from Menard
staff. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into the
following counts. The parties and the Court will use these
designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as
to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the
Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice.
Count 1: Fourteenth Amendment due process
claim against Scott for failing to call Plaintiff's
witness or investigate his call log in connection with
Plaintiff's disciplinary hearing of June 29, 2016, and