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Deeree v. Butler

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 30, 2017

TONY DEERE, Plaintiff,
v.
KIM BUTLER, CHRISTOPHER LINDSEY, SEAN SMOLAK, JOHN DOE and JANE DOE Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. Chief District Judge.

         Plaintiff Tony Deere, an inmate in Pontiac Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that allegedly occurred at Menard Correctional Center. Plaintiff seeks declarative relief, injunctive relief, compensatory damages, punitive 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 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.3d816, 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; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         On September 22, 2015, Plaintiff told Lindsey that his cellmate, Vincent Hudson, was showing signs of a serious mental illness. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Specifically, Plaintiff told Lindsey that Hudson had threatened to beat him to death if he did not hand over 2 ramen noodles and a bag of pork rinds. Id. Plaintiff was housed in cell 312 in the East cell house. Id. Lindsey told Plaintiff that he was aware of Hudson's behavior because Hudson had made the same threat against his prior cellmate. Id. Lindsey further told Plaintiff that he would see what he could do. Id.

         Plaintiff asked Lindsey about the cell change the following day, September 23, and repeated his concerns about Hudson. Id. Lindsey told Plaintiff he'd talk to Lt. Smolak. Id. From September 22, 2015 until October 13, 2015, Plaintiff continued to follow up with Lindsey, and reported Hudson's escalating behavior, like punching the wall and threatening to kill Plaintiff for flushing the toilet. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5). After the toilet incident, Hudson would not let Plaintiff use the toilet for an entire day, and made him urinate in a plastic bag. (Doc. 1, p. 5). When Plaintiff reported this to Lindsey, he said "fuck or fight." (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         On October 5, 2015, Plaintiff saw Smolak and reported his concerns about his cellmate. Id. He told Smolak about the toilet incident. Id. Smolak replied that Lindsey had made him aware of Plaintiff s concerns, but that he didn't find Plaintiff credible. Id. Smolak told Plaintiff he would not be changing Plaintiffs cell. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7). Smolak told Plaintiff to either find a way to get along "or get it on, " meaning fight. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff filed a grievance against Lindsey and Smolak that same day. Id.

         Hudson demanded that Plaintiff give him 2 ram en noodles on October 12, 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff refused, and Hudson became angry and threatened to kill Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff went to sleep to avoid a confrontation. Id. Hudson attacked Plaintiff around 8:00 am the next morning on October 13. (Doc. 1, p. 9). He punched Plaintiff in the left eye, wrestled him to the ground, and tried to strangle him. Id. Plaintiff responded by gouging out Hudson's eyes. Id.

         After being taken to health care, Plaintiff was immediately transferred to Pontiac. (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10). He spent 615 days in segregation there. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff was charged ...


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