United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Stevie Jackson, currently incarcerated in Menard
Correctional Center, brings this pro se action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for constitutional
deprivations that allegedly occurred when Plaintiff was
housed at Centralia Correctional Center
(“Centralia”) in 2015. Plaintiff contends
that he has been the victim of retaliation and other abuses
because he is a litigious inmate and/or because he often
files grievances against prison officials. In connection
with his claims, Plaintiff names 29 officials associated with
the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and/or
Centralia. The named Defendants include 3 unknown parties:
(1) John Doe # 1 (Psychiatrist); John Doe # 2
(Centralia's cell placement officer); and John Doe # 3
(all officers in East 4 House on August 7, 2015 working the
7:00 am to 3:00 pm shift and the 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm
shift).Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and
injunctive relief (to the extent that the Court finds
injunctive relief is warranted).
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
(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.
case was opened on April 24, 2017 without payment of the
filing fee or the filing of a Motion and Affidavit to Proceed
in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs. (Docs. 1,
4). The preliminary screening of Plaintiff's Complaint
has been delayed until now due to difficulties in locating
Plaintiff's filing fee. A brief history of the issues
encountered is detailed below.
18, 2017, Plaintiff filed motions seeking to extend his
deadline for paying the filing fee. (Docs. 5 and 6).
Plaintiff explained that he authorized Menard's Trust
Fund Account Officer to submit a $400.00 filing fee to the
Court in April 2017. However, the check appeared to have been
lost in the mail. Plaintiff also submitted paperwork
supporting his claim. Specifically, records indicated that
$400.00 was withdrawn from Plaintiff's account and mailed
to the Southern District of Illinois (check No. 149399). The
Court granted Plaintiff's request and directed Plaintiff
to work with Menard to have a new check issued. (Doc. 7). For
the next 3 months, the Court addressed motions from Plaintiff
regarding his lost filing fee check and difficulties he was
experiencing with Menard's Trust Fund Account Officer.
(Docs. 8-10, 12, 15-19). At one point, Menard's Trust
Fund Officer confirmed that the check was mailed, appeared to
have been lost in the mail, and agreed to assist Plaintiff in
canceling the lost check and reissuing payment. (Docs. 14 and
26, 2017, after Plaintiff continued to encounter difficulty
with having a check reissued, the Court directed Menard's
Trust Fund Account Officer to provide the Court with a status
update, stating as follows:
At this point, it is unclear whether responsibility for
Plaintiff's filing fee difficulties rests with Plaintiff,
Menard's Trust Fund Account Office, or is simply the
result of bad luck. A review of the Court's online PACER
database establishes that Plaintiff is a frequent and
possibly abusive litigator in the federal courts, having
filed several dozen lawsuits in the Northern and Central
Districts of Illinois. Thus, Plaintiff is a veteran litigator
and may be attempting to game the system. On the other hand,
the Seventh Circuit has observed that there is an inherent
conflict of interest in the prison lawsuit system”
“[T]he law requires the payor (the prison) to process a
drawer's request for payment to permit the drawer to sue
the payor…[and] it is entirely predictable that the
prison will prefer to postpone [a plaintiff's] ability to
pursue litigation against itself.” Sultan v.
Fenoglio, 775 F.3d 888, 890 (7th Cir. 2015). The fact
that Plaintiff is a frequent litigator suggests that the
potential conflict of interest in the instant case is
(Doc. 17). With the above considerations in mind, the Court
directed Menard's trust fund account officer to provide
the Court with an update regarding the missing filing fee.
Id. Further, the Court indicated that failure to
comply with the Court's order would result in the Court
setting a show cause hearing with the Trust Fund Account
Officer required to appear personally in Court. Id.
A check for Plaintiff's filing fee appeared on August 2,
2017, without any additional explanation.
1 and 2 - Harassment and Retaliation
arrived at Centralia on or about April 15, 2015. (Doc. 1, p.
12). Upon arrival, Lt. Quarrie, Lt. Delgado, Lt Johnson, and
C/O Robinson began harassing Plaintiff, asking why he was
transferred to Centralia. Id. For the next 30 days,
the harassment continued. (Doc. 1, pp. 12-13). These
individuals made constant remarks about Plaintiff's
sexual preferences (“are you gay or not?”),
called Plaintiff “all sorts of gay homosexual names,
” laughed at Plaintiff, and made comments regarding
things that happened to Plaintiff at his prior prison.
Id. They also repeatedly came to Plaintiff's
cell (which was in the day room) in the mornings, banged on
his cell and shook the rails on his bed before beginning the
verbal harassment. Id. They told Plaintiff
“this is the hell [you are] going to be living for the
complaints [you] filed” at previous institutions. (Doc.
1, p. 13).
contacted Aaron (described as a “psych” person)
and Toennies (described as a clinical services employee) for
help regarding the harassment. Aaron and Toennies indicated
that Plaintiff would have to deal with the repercussions of
his prior conduct (presumably filing complaints and/or
grievances at his prior prison). Id. (claiming Aaron
and Toennies both told Plaintiff: “you made your bed,
now lay in it;” “when you grieve or complain
about the little things this administration is going to chew
you up and spit you out, then retaliate every time;”
“you're the turd Dixon [Correctional Center] shit
out and landed on this administration;”). Toennies also
called Plaintiff names such as “dick sucker” and
“black faggot.” Toennies directed these derisive
terms at Plaintiff “all the time” and told
Plaintiff he should have been sent to a prison that caters to
3 - Provoking Attacks
April 2015, Plaintiff was moved to North 4. (Doc. 1, p. 13).
While in North 4, Plaintiff was harassed by Conrad and Bailey
(both correctional officers). Id. Conrad and Bailey
banged and kicked Plaintiff's door every morning and
turned other inmates against Plaintiff by telling them he is
a homosexual and a snitch. As a result, Plaintiff was
attacked by other inmates (inmates punched and kicked him and
spit in his face). Id. He complained to Conrad and
Bailey but they never intervened to help him. Id.
connects Macoby (a major), Phillips (a major), Schwartz (a
major), Quarrie (a lieutenant), Johnson (a lieutenant), and
Delgado (a lieutenant) to these allegations by stating that
Conrad and Bailey would do anything these individuals wanted
them to do. Id.
4 - Refusal to Honor Low Bunk Permit
suffers from serious arthritis and gout. (Doc. 1, p. 16).
Plaintiff's back, legs, and shoulders are
“bound” by arthritis. Id. At the time of
the alleged constitutional violation, Plaintiff had
permission to use a cane and had bottom bunk/slow walk
permits. (Doc. 1, p. 13).
Plaintiff was in North 4 House, Conrad and Bailey refused to
honor the permit. Id. They told Plaintiff that, as
long as he is in their house, he will “be climbing
[his] black nigger ass up to the top bunk.”
Id. Plaintiff contends he injured his back and
sprained his right knee as a result of this conduct. He also
contends he complained to every supervisory official listed
in his Complaint about the alleged deprivation, to no avail.
was subsequently transferred to East 4 House. When Plaintiff
was in East 4 House, Kauling refused to honor Plaintiff's
bottom bunk permit. (Doc. 1, p. 16). Kauling told Plaintiff
that Delgado issued an order to leave Plaintiff on the top
bunk. Id. Plaintiff complained to and showed
Delgado, Quarrie, Burton, Robinson, Campbell, and Aaron his
bottom bunk permit, but they refused to help. Id.
Campbell told Plaintiff to “stop whining like a little
bitch” and said the permit did not mean
“shit” to her. Id. Aaron told Plaintiff
there was nothing that he could do and then offered a
solution, he told Plaintiff “stop coming to
prison…you come to prison, you get what comes with
also complained to John Doe 3 (all officers in East 4 House
on August 7, 2015 working the 7:00 am to 3:00 pm shift and
the 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm shift), but they refused to help.
5 - Gym/Yard Restrictions
Plaintiff was in North 4 House, Bailey, Conrad, Foreman, and
Delgado often refused to allow Plaintiff access to the gym
and yard. (Doc. 1, p. 14). These Defendants told Plaintiff he
could not have access to the gym or yard because he used a
cane. Id. They provided Plaintiff various
“excuses” for denying gym/yard privileges, such
as “it would break our hearts if you should slip and
fall” or “we believe you're taking your cane
in the yard/gym to use it as a weapon.” Id.
Plaintiff contends that “from the time he was brought
to North 4 House, ” he was only allowed in the yard 4
times and in the gym 6 times. Id. The Complaint
indicates that Plaintiff was in the North 4 House from April
2015 through August 7, 2015, when he was transferred to East
4 house. (Doc. 1, pp. 13, 17). Unlike some of Plaintiff's
other claims, Plaintiff does not allege that the deprivation
was in retaliation for his prior First Amendment activities.
Plaintiff alerted “all the defendants listed in his
complaint” about the alleged deprivation, but nothing
was done. Id. Because Plaintiff was often confined
to his cell, he developed anxiety, depression, and other
physical symptoms. Id.
6 and 7 - harassment, cell shake downs, and threats to
Plaintiff was in North 4 House, Bailey, Conrad, and Foreman
shook down Plaintiff's cell almost every day, sometimes
multiple times a day, for no reason. Id. During
these shake downs, Defendants would confiscate
Plaintiff's property and verbally harass Plaintiff
(Plaintiff alleges they called him “every homosexual
name in the book”). Id. On one occasion,
Foreman told Plaintiff he “looked like [he] suck[s]
good cock and [he] act[s] like [he] got a big dick jammed off
in [his] ass.” Id. These Defendants threatened
to plant contraband in Plaintiff's cell and threatened to
file false disciplinary reports against the Plaintiff.
Id. They told Plaintiff the shake downs would stop
when Plaintiff stopped filing grievances. Id.
Plaintiff contends he was terrified of these individuals and
that they harassed him almost every day. Id.
8 - Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical
alleges that he suffers from serious arthritis and gout.
(Doc. 1, p. 16). The arthritis restricts movement in his
shoulders, back, and legs. Id. Plaintiff contends
that walking without a cane and certain activities, such as
climbing to the top bunk, cause him excruciating pain.
Id. According to Plaintiff, despite being aware of
these issues and his associated pain, Defendants Santas (a
prison physician) and Keebs (a healthcare supervisor)
rescinded Plaintiff's permit to use a cane, as well as
his low bunk/slow walk permit. (Doc. 1, pp. 4, 15-16).
to the Complaint, both Santas and Keebs opined that Plaintiff
did not really need the permits. (Doc. 1, pp. 15-16). For
instance, Santas told Plaintiff various correctional officers
reported that Plaintiff was lazy and did not really need his
cane. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Keebs told Plaintiff his pain was all
in his mind. Id. Plaintiff insisted he was in
extreme pain and absolutely needed the cane and the low
bunk/slow walk permits. (Doc. 1, pp. 15-16). Plaintiff also
told Santas and Keebs that the correctional officers were
lying about Plaintiff in retaliation for his complaints and
grievances. (Doc. 1, pp. 15-16).
response, Santas indicated the administration was pressuring
him to revoke the cane because prisoners who ingest
“psych meds” are generally not allowed to have
canes. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Plaintiff repeated, in more detail,
the amount of pain and difficulty he experienced without a
cane. Id. Santas indicated he did not care because
the administration and officers felt Santas should not
continue to allow Plaintiff to use a cane. Id.
Plaintiff further contends that Keebs disregarded his
complaints and rescinded or supported the decision to rescind
his cane and low bunk/slow walk permits. (Doc. 1, pp. 15-16).
9, 10, 11- Failure to Protect and Retaliation (Inmate
about August 7, 2015, Bailey and Conrad told Plaintiff they
would be moving his “black ass” to the place
where he belongs - a new cell in the more aggressive and
dangerous East 4 House. (Doc. 1, p. 16). They stated they
were going to let Plaintiff's new cell mate (an inmate
identified as Barlow B42396) give him what he deserved -
“a good ass beating.” Id. They also told
Plaintiff to “grieve that” and stated if
Plaintiff had “stopped grieving them” they would
not be doing this. Id. As Plaintiff was being
escorted to his new cell, another inmate told him that Barlow
was extremely dangerous and sexually aggressive. Id.
Doe # 2 (Centralia's cell placement officer) assisted
Bailey and Conrad by assigning Plaintiff to Barlow's
cell. (Doc. 1, p. 19).
asked Aaron, Dose, Delgado, Quarrie, Robinson, and Burton to
move him out of Barlow's cell. (Doc. 1, p. 17). Plaintiff
told these individuals that Barlow repeatedly attempted to
force sexual acts on Plaintiff and when Plaintiff refused,
Barlow beat him. Id. When Plaintiff told Aaron the
things Barlow was doing to him, including the fact that
Barlow was masturbating in the cell and throwing his sperm in
Plaintiff's face, Aaron only laughed at Plaintiff
Id. Kauling told Plaintiff to “give Barlow
some ass and he'll calm down.” Id.
also sent several letters to Defendant Mueller
(Centralia's Warden) detailing Barlow's abuse.
Id. In the letters, Plaintiff relayed that Barlow
“always tried to rape [Plaintiff]” after
Plaintiff ingested his psych medications, when Plaintiff was
in a debilitated state (his psych meds left him in a
“drunken state, ” making it difficult to defend
about August 24, 2015, Barlow let Plaintiff have the bottom
bunk because Defendant Macon (also described as
Centralia's Warden (Doc. 1, p. 3)) “got
involved.” This enraged Barlow and he became even more
aggressive with Plaintiff, calling him a snitch.
about August 27, 2015, Barlow became extremely angry when
Plaintiff refused to engage in sexual activity. Id.
Barlow physically assaulted Plaintiff, calling him a
“bitch” and a “snitch.” Id.
Barlow then put his penis on Plaintiff's face, shoved
Plaintiff to the ground, and attempted to rape him.
Id. After the attempted rape, Barlow left the cell.
Barlow left the cell, Plaintiff reported the assault to
Kauling. Id. He yelled loudly so all the officers in
the area could hear what had just happened. Id.
Plaintiff was taken to Delgado. Id. Initially,
Delgado refused to let Plaintiff speak to mental health
services. Delgado wanted Plaintiff to make the report in
front of other inmates. Id. Plaintiff refused.
it is not entirely clear, it appears that at some point
Plaintiff insisted on reporting the sexual assault.
Id. Because Plaintiff reported the sexual assault,
Delgado, Quarrie, and Robinson took Plaintiff to segregation.
Id. Robinson filed a false report indicating that
Plaintiff had lied. Id. Warden Mueller also punished
Plaintiff for reporting the sexual abuse. Id. Warden
Mueller told Plaintiff he would not be getting his
television, radio, and other personal items. Id. He
also indicated that Plaintiff would have no yard or gym
privileges and denied him access to all other out-of-cell
activities, including attending church services and using the
law library. Id. Johnson, Delgado, Robinson, Burton,
and Quarrie told Plaintiff he should have shut his mouth and
he would not have been placed in segregation. Id.
12 - Conditions of Confinement
remained in segregation for 26 days, locked in his cell
24-hours a day, and was only allowed to shower on 3
occasions. Id. The cell was infested with spiders,
mice, and other bugs. Id. Plaintiff complained to
Krebs, she told Plaintiff an exterminator had been called.
13 and 14 - Failure to Protect and Deliberate Indifference
still in segregation, on September 15, 2015, Plaintiff was
taken to the shower. Id. On the way to the showers,
Plaintiff encountered another inmate that was a member of
Barlow's gang. Id. The inmate told Plaintiff he
was going to “fuck Plaintiff up” and did so in
front of an unidentified officer. Id. At some point
thereafter, the inmate attacked Plaintiff. Id. He
punched and kicked Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, pp. 17-18). After the
assault, the unidentified officer denied Plaintiff medical
care. (Doc. 1, p. 18).
15 and 16 - Retaliation and Access to the
contends that the correctional officer in charge of the law
library, Gooden, repeatedly refused to allow Plaintiff access
to and/or provide Plaintiff with legal materials. (Doc. 1, p.
18). For instance, Plaintiff contends he was often denied
access to the law library and other legal research he
requested. Id. He also claims he was denied access
to his own personal legal materials. Id. According
to the Complaint, Gooden was denying Plaintiff access in
retaliation for Plaintiff's history of filing grievances
against Gooden's colleagues. Id. Gooden told
Plaintiff he was a “correctional officer at
heart” and “when you have any of my partners in
your grievance, you're shit out of luck from getting help
from me.” Id.
17 - Eighth Amendment Claim (Unknown Officers)
Plaintiff was released from segregation, the
“officers” told other inmates that Plaintiff was
a snitch and a homosexual. (Doc. 1, p. 18). As a result,
Plaintiff was physically and sexually assaulted on numerous
18 - Constitutional Claim (Mueller)
Plaintiff was released from segregation, Warden Mueller kept
Plaintiff in a receiving cell for more than 30 days. (Doc. 1,
p. 18). During this time, Plaintiff was assigned many
different cell mates. Id. Warden Mueller told
Plaintiff he was allowing Plaintiff to have as many different
cell mates as Plaintiff wanted. Id. Plaintiff had a
new cell mate, soliciting him for sex or taking
Plaintiff's commissary items, every other week.
Id. According to the Complaint, Warden Mueller knew
this would “break” Plaintiff and it did.
Review Pursuant to § 1915(A)
on the allegations of the Complaint and Plaintiff's
articulation of his claims, the Court finds it convenient to
divide the pro se action into the following counts.
Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not
addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed
without prejudice as inadequately pled under the
Twombly pleading standard.
COUNT 1 - Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual
punishment claim against Quarrie, Delgado, Johnson, Robinson,
Aaron, and Toennies for harassing Plaintiff and/or failing to
intervene in the harassment of Plaintiff.
COUNT 2 - First Amendment retaliation claim
against Quarrie, Delgado, Johnson, Robinson, Aaron, and
Toennies for retaliating against Plaintiff for filing
complaints and grievances at his previous prison and/or for
failing to intervene in ongoing retaliation.
COUNT 3 - Eighth Amendment claim against
Conrad, Bailey, Macoby, Phillips, Schwartz, Quarrie, Johnson,
and Delgado for provoking other inmates to attack Plaintiff
by labeling him a snitch and a homosexual.
COUNT 4 - Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claim against Conrad, Bailey, Kauling, John Doe
# 3, Delgado, Quarrie, Burton, Robinson, Campbell, and Aaron
for failing to honor Plaintiff's bottom bunk permit.
COUNT 5 - Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual
punishment claim against Bailey, Conrad, Foreman, and Delgado
for restricting Plaintiff's access to the gym and yard