United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge
Vennis McCall, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Pontiac Correctional Center, brings this action for
deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that
he was denied protective custody at Menard Correctional
Center (“Menard”) after members of a gang, known
as the Gangster Disciples, warned him that a fellow inmate
put a “hit” on him. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9). Plaintiff
was subsequently attacked and injured by the gang members.
Id. In connection with this claim, he names two
internal affairs officers, C/O Wooled and C/O John/Jane Doe.
(Doc. 1, pp. 1-3). Plaintiff seeks monetary relief against
both. (Doc. 1, pp. 15-16).
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
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.
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.
2009). The Complaint survives preliminary review under this
to the Complaint, Plaintiff is currently incarcerated for the
murder of his foster family, including his foster father,
mother, and brother. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-14). While serving his
sentence in Menard's East Cell House on March 14, 2014,
several members of the Gangster Disciples informed Plaintiff
that a high-ranking gang member had put a “hit”
on him. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9). Shawn Gaston was the inmate who
ordered the “hit.” Id. He was related to
Plaintiff's foster brother and victim, Allen McCullough,
and was very close to him. Id. Plaintiff was warned
that he would be attacked, if he did not transfer into
protective custody (“PC”).
requested PC the following day. (Doc. 1, p. 9). He reported
the direct threats to an unknown internal affairs officer
(“C/O John/Jane Doe”). Id. Plaintiff
explained that Gaston and McCullough were not only related,
they were also best friends. Id. Plaintiff expressed
fear for his life. (Doc. 1, p. 10).
request for PC was denied on March 20, 2014. (Doc. 1, p. 10).
Plaintiff filed an appeal of the decision with the
Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) the following
day. Id. Before the appeal was decided, however,
Plaintiff was sent to segregation for disciplinary reasons.
Id. It is unclear how long he remained there.
renewed his request for PC more than a year later on June 12,
2015. (Doc. 1, p. 10). He does not explain why but alleges
that his request was unrelated to this case. Id.
This second request for PC was also denied on June 22, 2015.
Id. Plaintiff appealed the decision to the ARB, and
his appeal was denied on August 27, 2015. Id.
September 6, 2015, Plaintiff was interviewed by C/O Wooled,
another internal affairs officer. (Doc. 1, p. 11). Plaintiff
informed C/O Wooled that Gaston was related to one of his
victims. Id. He explained that Gaston held rank in
the Gangster Disciples and had a significant advantage over
Plaintiff “with his gang affiliation [and] man
power.” Id. He expressed continued fear for
his life because Gaston could plan a retaliatory