United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
CURTIS R. HOOD, SR., Plaintiff,
NICHOLAS R. LAMB, BACH, OCHS, LENCE, and SHANER Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
Curtis R. Hood, Sr., an inmate in Lawrence Correctional
Center, brings this action for deprivations of his
constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff requests money damages and costs. 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
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.
April 9, 2017, Plaintiff approached correctional officer
Shaner and asked if he could move Plaintiff or his cell mate.
(Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff reported that they were not getting
along. Id. Shaner said he would contact the
Placement Office on Plaintiff's behalf. Id.
Shaner came by later and told Plaintiff that no one was
answering the Placement phone, but he'd keep trying.
Id. Plaintiff wrote a grievance about this and had
it in his hand on April 10, 2017 when he ran into Bach on the
way to lunch. Id. Plaintiff explained his situation
to Bach, and Bach asked Plaintiff to give him until noon to
look into it. Id. Plaintiff never heard back from
Bach so on the next shift he spoke to Lt. Ochs. Ochs
responded “nothing is going to happen.”
Id. Plaintiff told Ochs that he was setting up one
of them to get hurt. Id. Ochs didn't respond; he
just left. Id. When Plaintiff returned to his cell,
he was assaulted by his cellmate. Id. Plaintiff
received 6 staples in his head as a result of the attack.
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into 1 count. The
parties and the Court will use this designation in all future
pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial
officer of this Court. The following claim survives threshold
Count 1 - Shaner, Bach, and Ochs failed to
protect Plaintiff from an attack by his cellmate in violation
of the Eighth Amendment.
Plaintiff's Count 1, in Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994), the Supreme Court held
that “prison officials have a duty . . . to protect
prisoners from violence at the hands of other
prisoners.” Id. at 833 (internal citations
omitted); see also Pinkston v. Madry, 440 F.3d 879,
889 (7th Cir. 2006). However, not every harm caused by
another inmate translates into constitutional liability for
the corrections officers responsible for the prisoner's
safety. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. In order for a
plaintiff to succeed on a claim for failure to protect, he
must show that he is incarcerated under conditions posing a
substantial risk of serious harm, and that the defendants
acted with “deliberate indifference” to that
danger. Id.; Pinkston, 440 F.3d at 889. A
plaintiff also must prove that prison officials were aware of
a specific, impending, and substantial threat to his safety,
often by showing that he complained to prison officials about
a specific threat to his safety. Pope v.
Shafer, 86 F.3d 90, 92 (7th Cir. 1996). In other words,
Defendants had to know that there was a substantial risk that
the individual who attacked Plaintiff would do so, yet fail
to take any action. See Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266
F.3d 724, 733-34 (7th Cir. 2001). However, conduct that
amounts to negligence or inadvertence is not enough to state
a claim. Pinkston, 440 F.3d at 889 (discussing
Watts v. Laurent, 774 F.2d 168, 172 (7th Cir.
Plaintiff has alleged that he told 3 guards that he was not
getting along with his cellmate. Plaintiff's claim that
he was celled with another inmate who threatened to attack
him is a plausible allegation that he was incarcerated under
conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm.
Moreover, he alleges that he specifically identified the
threat to the guards, but none of them moved him out of his
cell. On these facts, ...