United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN, United States District Court Chief Judge
John Colasurdo, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Pontiac Correctional Center ("Pontiac"), brings
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for deprivations of his constitutional rights at Menard
Correctional Center ("Menard"). (Doc. 1). According
to the Complaint, Plaintiff was repeatedly raped by his
cellmate in 2015 and then denied protective custody by Menard
officials. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-11). He now sues these officials
for violating his rights under the Eighth Amendment.
Id. Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment and
monetary damages. (Doc. l, p. 11).
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
(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.
2009). The Complaint survives screening under this standard.
September 2015, Menard officials made the decision to
transfer Inmate Njos into a cell with Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p.
8). Njos identified himself as the chief of a gang, known as
the Latin Folks. Id. The Complaint describes Njos as
a violent inmate who is “twice the size” of
Plaintiff and has a known history of
aggression. Id. In the three years prior to
his transfer, Njos was housed in a single cell in
administrative detention. Id. Warden Butler,
Assistant Warden Watson, John Doe 1 (placement officer), and
John Doe 2 (investigative affairs supervisor) allegedly knew
about his gang affiliation and history of aggression but
declined to conduct an aggression hearing or screening before
transferring Njos into a cell with Plaintiff. Id.
October and November 2015, Njos repeatedly raped Plaintiff.
(Doc. 1, p. 8). On November 6th, he gave Plaintiff three
options: (1) transfer into protective custody; (2) pay a flat
fee of $150 plus twenty percent of Plaintiff's commissary
purchases going forward; or (3) endure an attack by a gang
member. Id. Plaintiff received a call pass and met
with a social worker the following day. Id. He
reported the “issues” with Njos and requested
protective custody (“PC”). Id. The
social worker sent him to “unapproved PC intake right
away.” Id. The same day, Plaintiff submitted
all necessary paperwork for protective custody to Counselor
appeared at a hearing before Counselor Cowan and John Doe 4
(investigative officer) approximately ten days later. (Doc.
1, p. 8). For reasons unrelated to the inmate attack, they
denied his request for protective custody. Id. They
allegedly focused instead on the fact that Plaintiff had
previously received three staff assault tickets and two
attempted staff assault tickets. Id. Plaintiff
insists that all, but one, were false. Id. He
describes the decision to deny his request for protective
custody as “malicious.” Id.
next asked Officer Ward, an internal affairs officer, for
protective custody. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff described the
“issues” with Njos and claimed him as an enemy.
Id. Officer Ward told Plaintiff “not to
worry” because the two inmates would be separated.
Id. The officer then spoke with Njos “to see
whether or not [the] allegations were true.”
Id. Officer Ward ultimately denied Plaintiff's
request for protective custody and his request for a
polygraph test. Id.
next filed an emergency grievance with Warden Butler and a
regular grievance with Counselor Cowan, in which he again
requested protective custody. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Both
individuals “refused or failed to answer
[P]laintiff's grievance.” Id.
Warden Watson, Supervisor Doe 2, and Officer Ward refused or
failed to treat Plaintiff and Njos as enemies. (Doc. 1, p.
8). Five days later, Officer Doe 1 and Supervisor Doe 2
transferred Njos to 8 Gallery, in close proximity to
Plaintiff. Id. Njos viciously attacked Plaintiff
soon thereafter. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9). Plaintiff sustained
numerous injuries, including a chipped tooth, a sore neck,
and a head injury that resulted in an open wound, swelling,
bruising, scarring, and headaches. (Doc. 1, p. 9). He
received treatment for his ...