United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
DeAndre Cavaness, an inmate previously incarcerated at Menard
Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights. In
his Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff claims the defendants
subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment in various
ways, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 14).
Because Plaintiff brought this action while he was still
incarcerated, this case is now before the Court for a
preliminary review of the Second Amended 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.
screening, the Court is also permitted to sever any unrelated
claims against different defendants into separate lawsuits.
See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir.
2007). Relatedly, the Seventh Circuit has recently warned
district courts not to allow inmates “to flout the
rules for joining claims and defendants, see Fed. R.
Civ. P. 18, 20, or to circumvent the Prison Litigation Reform
Act's fee requirements by combining multiple lawsuits
into a single complaint.” Owens v. Godinez,
860 F.3d 434, 436 (7th Cir. 2017). See also Wheeler v.
Talbot, __ F. App'x __, 2017 WL 2417889 (7th Cir.
2017) (district court should have severed unrelated and
improperly joined claims or dismissed one of them).
Therefore, consistent with George, Owens
and Wheeler, unrelated claims will be severed into
new cases, given new case numbers and assessed separate
Second Amended Complaint
makes the following allegations in his Second Amended
Complaint (Doc. 14): On April 6, after Defendant Delancy
refused to provide Plaintiff with his name, did not give
Plaintiff a grievance at his request, failed to bring
Plaintiff a lieutenant when asked and did not retrieve a
crisis team at Plaintiff's request, Plaintiff
“blasted the gallery floor with urine.” (Doc. 1,
p. 5). Delancy was not on the gallery floor when it happened.
Id. Delancy sent Defendant Constable, J. Shelton,
and a third unknown officer to Plaintiff's cell to cuff
him and take him for an evaluation due to his mental illness.
Id. Plaintiff is mentally ill and is dyslexic.
Id. Though Constable told Plaintiff that he was
being taken to health care, the officers were joined by
Delancy and took Plaintiff to a search cell in the visiting
was denied a sergeant and lieutenant despite the fact that
when he realized he was going to be stripped, he asked for
one and noted that he “would have to be nude” and
had previously been “a victim of officer battery and
sexual misconduct.” (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). “Delancy,
Shelton, and Constable told [Plaintiff] several times when
[he] was questioning [his] safety to shut . . . up and go
with what is the program.” (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff
removed all of his clothes. Id. He was given his
underwear bottoms and shoes and was ordered to “cuff
up.” Id. Constable told Plaintiff to face the
back wall of the search cell while cuffed. Id.
Constable then slammed Plaintiff's face into the concrete
wall and yelled at Plaintiff. Id. Delancy entered
and he and Constable proceeded to hit and kick Plaintiff,
with his face striking the concrete and his brow split, for
three to five minutes while Shelton watched. (Doc. 1, pp.
was lead cuffed by another officer and placed back in his
cell. (Doc. 1, p. 7). The officer left him without providing
him with medical attention or a grievance. Id.
Defendant Nurse Rebea came to his cell and administered his
sleep aid, but failed to notify medical staff or a crisis
team of his injuries from the attack per Plaintiff's
request. Id. Later, Officer Harris arrived and
notified lieutenants and majors of Plaintiff's situation.
Id. Plaintiff then got medical attention and had
photos taken. Id. He also met with internal affairs
the next morning. Id.
Plaintiff's arrival, Defendant Ellenberg “has been
racist and belittlingly belligerent.” Id.
After Plaintiff asked him to stop, Ellenberg still
continuously shut off Plaintiff's drinking water.
Id. Plaintiff needs the water, as he explained to
Ellenberg, to take his medication. Id.
Ledbetter “will select trays to be given for groveling
in the form of military drilling or calisthenics.”
Id. If these drills are not done, Ledbetter
“gives shorted meal[s].” Id.
told Defendant Blivingston that he was electrocuted by
exposed live wires in a two gallery cell. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
Blivingston gave, or threatened to give Plaintiff, a
“falsified information ticket if [he] did not re-touch
those electric socket bare copper and silver wires where the
socket female attachment was removed.” Id.
Plaintiff did not receive medical attention and later brought
a grievance. Id.
never responded to officer misconduct with assault or
battery. Id. He did not spit on or punch the
officers. Id. Plaintiff requests monetary damages.
(Doc. 1, p. 9).
on the allegations of the Second Amended Complaint, the Court
finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into
6 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
regarding their merit.
Count 1 - On April 6, Defendants Delancy and
Constable subjected Plaintiff to excessive force in violation
of the Eighth Amendment.
Count 2 - Defendants Delancy, Constable, and
Rebea showed deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's
serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment by
failing to provide him with medical care, or seek medical