United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Svando Watson, an inmate currently housed at Menard
Correctional Center (“Menard”), filed this
pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff brings claims relating to an alleged excessive
force incident occurring on August 15, 2015. In connection
with these claims, Plaintiff sues John Baldwin (IDOC
director), Kimberly Butler (Menard's former warden),
Frank Eovaldi (described as a major and a lieutenant at
Menard), Kellie Ellis (described as a lieutenant at Menard),
John Doe # 1 (first Menard correctional officer involved in
the excessive force incident), and John Doe # 2 (second
Menard correctional officer involved in the excessive force
incident). In his request for relief, Plaintiff seeks
monetary damages and any further relief that the Court deems
just. (Doc. 1, p. 14). However, in the body of the Complaint,
Plaintiff suggests that he needs surgery to repair injuries
related to the excessive force incident. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
(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.
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.
Matter - Motion to Supplement
has filed a Motion for Leave to Amend/Supplement the
Complaint. (Doc. 6). Plaintiff seeks to “have the
record reflect that defendants John Baldwin and Kimberly
Butler for the purpose of discovery are being sued only in
their official capacity.” (Doc. 6, p. 1). Plaintiff
further states that all other defendants are being sued in
their individual and official capacities. Id.
motion shall be denied for two reasons. First, the Court does
not accept piecemeal amendments to a complaint. Second, the
request is unnecessary. The Court addresses the capacity in
which each defendant may be sued in this screening order.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's request is
Prior Health History
suffers from a degenerative disease called cervical
spondylosis. (Doc. 1, p. 8). The vertebrae in Plaintiff's
neck (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7) are not properly aligned. (Doc.
1, p. 9). Accordingly, any aggravation to the neck causes the
vertebrae to pinch the nerves rendering a loss of strength in
the arms. Id. Plaintiff contends that the alleged
excessive force incident (described below) has accelerated
and/or worsened the permanent nerve damage to Plaintiff's
neck. Id. Plaintiff claims he needs surgery to
repair the nerve damage and relieve the pain he is suffering
in his neck and left arm. Id.
August 15, 2015, at approximately 5:30 p.m., Sadi Horemann (a
nurse working at Menard) lodged a complaint against
Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Nurse Horemann alleged that
Plaintiff groped her and made an inappropriate comment.
approximately 6:00 p.m., Plaintiff was approached by Sergeant
Demond (not a party to this action), who instructed Plaintiff
to step outside. Id. Plaintiff fully complied with
the order and stepped outside. Id. Plaintiff was
immediately grabbed on the left arm by Eovaldi, a lieutenant
or major, and Ellis, also a lieutenant. Id. Eovaldi
and Ellis escorted Plaintiff to the elevator, without placing
him in handcuffs. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Eovaldi ordered Plaintiff
to get on his knees and Plaintiff complied. Id.
Eovaldi then pushed Plaintiff; face first, onto the floor of
the elevator. Id. Eovaldi kicked Plaintiff in the
right side of his body, striking Plaintiff's ribs and
knocking the wind out of Plaintiff. Id. Eovaldi
continued kicking Plaintiff while he was on the floor.
Id. John Doe # 1, a correctional officer, also
kicked Plaintiff while he was lying on the floor.
Id. John Doe # 1 repeatedly kicked Plaintiff in his
buttocks and right thigh. Id. He also kicked
Plaintiff between his legs, striking Plaintiff in the
testicles. Id. At some point, Eovaldi placed
Plaintiff in handcuffs. Id. While Plaintiff was
handcuffed, John Doe # 1 kicked Plaintiff in the side of his
head twice. Id. The first kick caused
Plaintiff's neck to make a cracking sound and Plaintiff
felt a numbing sensation in both arms. Id.
was present and observed the use of excessive force while
Plaintiff was in the elevator. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Although
Plaintiff was crying out in pain and asking for help, Ellis
took no action to intervene on Plaintiff's behalf.
Plaintiff was dragged to the north two segregation building
and placed in the strip search cage. (Doc. 1, p. 10).
Plaintiff was still handcuffed. Id. Eovaldi ordered
Plaintiff to get on his knees and Plaintiff complied.
Id. Eovaldi and two correctional officers (John Doe
# 1 and John Doe # 2) entered the strip search cage.
Id. Eovaldi removed the handcuffs from Plaintiff.
Id. Eovaldi and the John Doe officers began to beat
Plaintiff again. Id. When the beating stopped, one
of the John Doe officers ordered Plaintiff to stand up,
yelling, “Fight back nigger. Come on tough guy.
You're a bitch. You're a pussy. Fight back. Come
on.” Id. Plaintiff refused to fight back.
then ordered Plaintiff to remove his clothes. (Doc. 1, p.
11). Plaintiff complied. Id. Eovaldi handcuffed
Plaintiff, with his hands behind his back. Id.
Eovaldi grabbed the handcuffs, lifting Plaintiff's arms
into the air. Id. Eovaldi lifted the handcuffs so
high, Plaintiff felt that his shoulders were about to be
dislocated. Id. Eovaldi then used a second pair of
handcuffs to handcuff Plaintiff's arms to the bars in the
strip search cage. Id. Plaintiff was left alone,
naked, and cuffed to the cage for approximately one hour.
Id. Plaintiff describes being on “the tips of
his toes like a piece of meat in a slaughter house.”
affairs interviewed Plaintiff on two separate occasions and
on August 16, 2015, Plaintiff was transferred to Pontiac
Correctional Center (“Pontiac”). (Doc. 1, pp.
12). While at Pontiac, Plaintiff was urinating blood.
Id. Plaintiff was eventually examined by the medical
director, Dr. Tilden. Plaintiff told Dr. Tilden that he was
assaulted by a lieutenant and two correctional officers.
Id. According to the Complaint, X-rays would later
reveal that Plaintiff had a small hair line fracture at his
ninth rib. Id. Plaintiff was told that the only
thing doctors could do was ...