United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. Herndon Judge.
currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”), has brought this pro
se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiff claims that he was intentionally placed in a
cell with a known enemy who then attacked him, and that
officers subjected him to excessive force.
§ 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 Plaintiff's claims
survive threshold review under § 1915A.
August 30, 2016, Plaintiff and his cellmate (Jackson) got
into an “extremely violent fight” in their cell,
during which they punched, kicked, and bit each other.
Plaintiff asserts that according to prison policy, he and the
cellmate should have been immediately placed on the
“KSF- keep separate from” list after such an
incident, so that they would not be housed together again.
(Doc. 1, p. 6).
September 1, 2016, Plaintiff was called to the Internal
Affairs Office, where Lind and Furlow “intimidated and
threatened” him, saying that if Plaintiff did not admit
that he and Jackson had a fight, Plaintiff would “get
his ass kicked” and would get 6 months in segregation
plus lose 6 months of good time. (Doc. 1, p. 7). An anonymous
source had accused Plaintiff of fighting with Jackson.
Plaintiff was then placed in segregation away from Jackson.
point, Plaintiff filed a grievance, and then learned that he
was “in danger of retaliation” from the
grievance. (Doc. 1, p. 7).
Lind, Spiller, Love,  and Lashbrook ordered Plaintiff to be
moved again, and he was placed into Cell 5-C-16 back with his
“enemy” Jackson. Id. Plaintiff and
Jackson “squared off” to continue their
aggression. Plaintiff refused to enter the cell, telling the
officers (an unnamed C/O and Lieutentant) that he was in
segregation for fighting the same inmate they were forcing
him to cell with. He showed these officers his disciplinary
ticket for fighting with Jackson. Despite this information,
the officers ordered Plaintiff to lock up, saying it was
Furlow's and the Warden's call to place him there.
Jackson refused to cuff up to be moved. Plaintiff told the
officers that he was afraid he would be attacked, but they
told him to “man the f**k up.” Id.
later, Spiller and Malcolm came to the cell to speak with
Plaintiff, after Plaintiff complained that Jackson had made
multiple threats to kill him. (Doc. 1, p. 8). While Plaintiff
stood at the cell door talking to Spiller and Malcolm,
Jackson came up behind Plaintiff and began punching him.
Malcolm unlocked the door, ordered them to stop fighting, and
began spraying them with OC spray. Malcolm continued spraying
Plaintiff even after he put his hands behind his back to be
cuffed, and while Jackson was still beating him. Plaintiff
was violently slammed to the floor, with an officer's
knee pressed into his neck and lower back, when Spiller told
Malcolm to “keep spraying.” Id. Malcolm
then sprayed Plaintiff directly into his nostril and ear
canal. An officer violently pressed Plaintiff's face into
the floor, after Malcolm and Spiller issued orders to
“turn his f***ing head” and “make him feel
that incident, Plaintiff suffers from severe headaches,
injury to his jaw, neck and back pain, hearing loss, and a
burning, running nose. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Doc. 1, p.10).
Review Pursuant to 28 ...