United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
THOMAS L. YOUNG, # A-66460, Plaintiff,
STATE of ILLINOIS, OFFICER HUFFMAN, OFFICER HUNTER, OFFICER HARJU, and OFFICER SMILIE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
currently incarcerated at Sheridan Correctional Center, has
brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. His claims arose while he was a
prisoner at the Jackson County Jail (“the Jail”).
Plaintiff sues a sheriff's deputy who assaulted him, and
includes other county officers who witnessed the attack. This
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 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
against some of the Defendants survive threshold review under
Plaintiff states that he was incarcerated at the Jail for 3
months. On February 27, 2017, he was convicted of unlawful
use of a debit card, and was sentenced to 3 years in the
Department of Corrections. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Earlier during
Plaintiff's detention, Officer Huffman informed Plaintiff
that the debit card involved in Plaintiff's case belonged
to his mother, and Huffman would make sure Plaintiff went to
prison. Huffman harassed Plaintiff during his 3 months in the
March 8, 2017, Plaintiff was handcuffed and shackled in
preparation for his transfer to Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”) along with 2 other convicts. (Doc. 1,
p. 5). Huffman started an argument with Plaintiff, saying
that he “hope[d] that [Plaintiff] do[es] every day of
[his] sentence.” Id. Plaintiff responded that
the only thing he regrets was that it wasn't
Huffman's card. Huffman then began to beat Plaintiff on
the side of his head and in his face. Plaintiff was unable to
protect himself because his hands were cuffed to his waist.
Hunter and a coworker saw Huffman beating Plaintiff but did
nothing to stop the attack. Hunter's only comment was,
“Oh shit! The camera's on.” Id. On
another page of the Complaint, in Plaintiff's list of the
parties, he states that Officer Harju witnessed the assault.
(Doc. 1, p. 2).
Plaintiff arrived at Menard, he saw a doctor and had x-rays
to document that his injures did not occur at Menard. (Doc.
1, p. 5). Plaintiff was told that no bones were broken, but
his eye was injured and he still has trouble with it.
also names the State of Illinois as a Defendant (Doc. 1, p.
1), and lists Officer Smilie as another party (Doc. 1, p. 2).
Regarding Officer Smilie, Plaintiff states that “he is
a witness in that he saw the damage to my face and was told
what happen[ed].” (Doc. 1, p. 2).
seeks monetary relief for the violation of his rights. (Doc.
1, p. 6).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into the
following counts. The parties and the Court will use these
designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as
to their merit. Any other claim that is ...