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Simpson, v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 20, 2017

DAVID L. SIMPSON, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, TRUE, USP MARION ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDY COORDINATOR, RICHARD SCHOTT, SARA REVELL, NCR ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDY COORDINATOR, CENTRAL OFFICE ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDY COORDINATOR, JOHN/JANE DOE 4 DIRECTOR WARDEN MCC CHICAGO, WARDEN FCI TERRE HAUTE WARDEN PIKE COUNTY JAIL, WARDEN MACON COUNTY JAIL, WARDEN SANGAMON COUNTY JAIL, and UNITED STATES MARSHAL SERVICE Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff David L. Simpson, an inmate in United States Penitentiary Marion, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-2680 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Plaintiff seeks $40, 000, 000 in compensation. This 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 such relief.

         An 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).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff has been in federal custody since 2013. (Doc. 1-1, p. 3). Since that time, he has been transferred between institutions repeatedly, as part of “diesel therapy.” Id. These institutions included county jails, where Plaintiff was in the custody of the United States Marshals service. (Doc. 1-1, p. 4). Plaintiff alleges that John/Jane Doe #4, the Director of the Bureau of Prison's (“BOP”) Designation Sentencing and Computation Center was responsible for allowing and directing 15-20 transfers in the span of a year and a half. (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). Plaintiff alleges that he suffered assaults by staff, staff failure to protect him from assaults by other prisoners, and medical negligence at several facilities. (Doc. 1-1, p. 3). Plaintiff was subjected to multiple mental evaluations at successive facilities, which he found duplicative. (Doc. 1-1, p. 4). Plaintiff was kept from exhausting his administrative remedies, in part because he was housed at certain facilities so briefly that he did not have time to obtain grievance forms or receive a response to grievances that he filed. (Doc. 1-1, p. 3).

         In one instance, Plaintiff was housed with Patrick Pride, an inmate known to be violent, who threatened and assaulted Plaintiff. (Doc. 1-1, p. 4). Plaintiff was assaulted multiple times, including at least once in the presence of a correctional officer. Id. Although the officer told Pride to stand down, he did not physically intervene to stop the fight. Id.

         Plaintiff was able to file a lawsuit that addressed incidents at Terre Haute, MCC Chicago, and other transfers, but prison officials then began retaliating against him for filing lawsuits. Id.

         Plaintiff specifically asked Warden True of Marion for the transfers to end and the diesel therapy to cease, but his request was rejected. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that Counselor Edmeister of UPS Marion refused to adequately respond to his attempts to exhaust his administrative remedies. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 4-5). The Regional and Central Offices improperly concurred with Edmeister's actions. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5).

         Plaintiff has also named the Wardens/Sheriffs of MCC Chicago, FCI Terre Haute, Pike County Jail, Macon County Jail, and Sangamon County Jail as responsible for his “health, safety, welfare, and treatment” and for failing to respond to his complaints properly. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 2-3).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into 4 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. At this time, none of Plaintiff's claims survive threshold review; the Complaint will be dismissed without prejudice.

Count 1 - John Doe #4 arranged and/or approved of 15-20 transfers between institutions and county jails since Plaintiff was admitted into BOP custody in 2013 in violation of Plaintiff's First, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, and in violation of state law prohibiting ...

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