United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. HERNDON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
currently incarcerated at Illinois River Correctional Center,
filed this this pro se civil rights action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for constitutional violations that
allegedly occurred while he was incarcerated at Shawnee
Correctional Center (“Shawnee”). Plaintiff claims
that he was subjected to unsanitary cell conditions for 20
days when he was placed in disciplinary segregation in
January 2017. This case is now before the Court for a
preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 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 the Complaint does not
survive threshold review under § 1915A.
January 11, 2017, Plaintiff was placed in segregation for 30
days because of an altercation (a 301 fight). (Doc. 1, p. 5).
Plaintiff was confined in a segregation cell which, he
claims, was uninhabitable and should have been
“condemned” due to poor conditions. Id.
The sink and toilet were full of mold and mildew.
Id. The sink was non-functional because a “seg
pen” was stuck in the faucet and no water would come
out. Id. Plaintiff did not have cleaning supplies to
clean the segregation cell. Id. Additionally, the
mattress in the cell had urine stains on it and
“reeked” of urine. Id. Plaintiff
remained in the unsanitary segregation cell for 20 days.
Id. Plaintiff was moved to a new segregation cell
after “constantly complaining” and filing
connection with these claims, Plaintiff sues Jeffrey
Dennison, the warden, because the staff worked
“under” Warden Dennison. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
Filed Civil Rights Action
not Plaintiff's first action involving conditions of
confinement while housed at Shawnee. On December 6, 2016,
Plaintiff filed a similar pro se civil rights action
in the Southern District of Illinois. See Wimberly v. C/O
Sams et al., No. 3:16-cv-1309-MJR-SCW. This action
(hereinafter, “Pending Shawnee Action”) is
presently proceeding before Chief Judge Michael J. Reagan.
Pending Shawnee Action, Plaintiff's Complaint brought
claims pertaining to unsanitary cell conditions, loss of
property, and failure to respond to grievances. (Pending
Shawnee Action, Docs. 1, 14). Plaintiff's claims arose in
connection with his 30-day stint in disciplinary segregation
(from March 21, 2016 through April 21, 2016). In connection
with these claims, Plaintiff sued two correctional officers
and Jeffrey Dennison. In conducting a preliminary review of
Plaintiff's Complaint, Judge Reagan summarized the
allegations pertaining to unsanitary cell conditions (Count 2
in the Pending Shawnee Action) as follows:
Plaintiff was confined for 30 days (until April 21, 2016) in
the segregation cell which, he claims, should have been
“condemned” due to the poor conditions. (Doc. 1,
p. 4). The cell had “no proper running water”
because a seg pen was stuck in the faucet spout. Not only did
the pen obstruct the flow of water, it exposed Plaintiff to
germs in his drinking water from that foreign object. (Doc.
1, pp. 4-5). The window was “drilled shut” so
that the air did not circulate properly. The window screen
was torn, allowing insects and ants to invade the cell. They
crawled on Plaintiff, got into his bed, and bit him day and
night. (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 13). The sink and toilet were
contaminated with fungus and mildew, and Plaintiff was not
given cleaning supplies. He had to drink from and wash up in
the filthy sink for the entire 30 days, placing his health at
risk. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
Plaintiff asked Sams to move him to a better cell, but Sams
ignored the request. Warden Dennison was the supervisor of
Sams and was responsible for the conditions throughout the
(Pending Shawnee Action, Doc. 14, p. 3). Plaintiff's
Complaint was divided into three counts. (Pending Shawnee
Action, Doc. 14, p. 4). Counts 1 and 3 did not survive
preliminary review. Count 2 proceeded against one of the
correctional officer defendants. (Pending Shawnee Action,
doc. 14, p. 7). However, Warden Dennison was dismissed from
Count 2 and from the Complaint for lack of personal
involvement. Id. In dismissing Warden ...