United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ENOS F. TAPLIN, JR., R60561, Plaintiff,
WARDEN OF MENARD CORRECTIONAL CENTER 2013-2015, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court for case management. On April 17,
2017, following the Memorandum and Order entered in
Taplin v. Warden Pinckneyville Correctional Center,
et al., Case No. 16-cv-01146-SMY (Doc. 1 in this
case), this matter was severed from the original case
pursuant to George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir.
an Illinois Department of Corrections inmate currently housed
at Pontiac Correctional Center, filed this civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in order to address
numerous alleged violations of his constitutional rights that
occurred at Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”) and Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”). His First Amended Complaint (Doc. 4
in this case) named Pinckneyville's warden and
Menard's warden as the only two defendants. (Doc. 2, pp.
1-2). The Court divided Plaintiff's Complaint into two
sets of claims (one set of claims-Count 1-directed against
Pinckneyville's warden, and one set of claims-Count
2-directed against Menard's warden) and severed the First
Amended Complaint into two different cases. (Doc. 1). This
case includes the second set of claims directed against
Menard's warden, designated by the Court as follows:
Count 2: First, Eighth, and Fourteenth
Amendment claims against Menard's warden for the events
that occurred at that prison between September 6, 2013 and
May 5, 2015.
Plaintiff was advised in the order severing his claims, the
threshold merits review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A is
now due to be conducted. Under § 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 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.
August 18, 2016, Plaintiff filed this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in order
to address alleged violations of his constitutional rights
that occurred during his incarceration at Pinckneyville
Correctional Center in 2013 and Menard Correctional Center
from 2013-15. (Doc. 2 in this case). The Northern District
transferred the case to this District on October 17, 2016.
(Case No. 16-cv-01146-SMY, Doc. 8).
filed a Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint on
November 4, 2016, before the Complaint had been screened.
(Case No. 16-cv-01146-SMY, Doc. 13). The Court denied the
motion because Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint was
obviously incomplete as he omitted several pages and a
request for relief from the proposed amended pleading (Doc. 3
in this case). The Court also found that the original
Complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted and thus, it did not survive preliminary review under
§ 1915A. Id. The Court therefore entered an
Order dismissing the original Complaint without prejudice on
November 15, 2016. Id.
was granted leave to file a First Amended Complaint by
December 13, 2016. (Doc. 3, p. 5). He was instructed to
“present each claim in a separate count, and . . .
specify, by name, each defendant alleged to be liable under
the count, as well as the actions alleged to have been taken
by that defendant.” Id. (emphasis in
original). Further, Plaintiff was warned that he
“should include only related claims in his new
Complaint [because] [c]laims found to be unrelated to one
another w[ould] be severed into new cases, new case numbers
w[ould] be assigned, and additional filing fees w[ould] be
assessed.” (Doc. 3, pp. 5-6) (emphasis in original).
First Amended Complaint (Doc. 4)
forth above, this case involves only those claims directed
against Menard's warden. Plaintiff blames Menard's
warden for alleged constitutional violations that occurred
following his disciplinary transfer to that prison on
September 6, 2013. (Doc. 4, pp. 6-8). Specifically, Plaintiff
was allegedly harassed by 15-20 correctional officers who
were part of a “welcoming committee.” (Doc. 4, p.
6). The officers spit on Plaintiff and forced him to crawl to
the wall while he was shackled and cuffed behind his back.
Id. He could not move quickly enough to satisfy the
officers, and they began kicking him. Id. They held
him against the wall and “smashed” his head with
their elbows and knees, while saying that they were going to
beat Plaintiff “to death.” Id. Plaintiff
was then placed in a jumpsuit. (Doc. 4, p. 7). He remained
cuffed behind his back for a total of five to seven hours.
cuffs were finally removed when Plaintiff was placed in
segregation. (Doc. 4, p. 7). He remained there for almost two
months. Id. The cell was small (i.e.,
approximately 4' x 10' x 12'). Id.
Plaintiff could not move freely in it. Id. The
ventilation was poor. Id. There was mold on the
walls, spider webs on the doors, and maggots in the toilets.
Id. Plaintiff also had no human contact during this
time period. (Doc. 4, p. 7). A social worker made rounds
every three months. Id. Prison officials generally
avoided inmates who were confined in this area of the prison,
however, because they often spit on and hit correctional
officers, counselors, and nurses. Id.
did meet with a nurse on one occasion. (Doc. 4, p. 8). She
ordered him to submit to a shot. Id. But the nurse
did not tell Plaintiff why it was being administered or what
medicine he would be given. Id. Nevertheless, she
threatened Plaintiff with additional time in segregation if
he refused the shot. Id. To avoid additional
punishment, Plaintiff agreed to take the shot. Id.
The nurse returned to his cell twice to administer two
additional rounds. Id. After reluctantly taking all
three shots, ...