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Floress v. Employees of Vandalia Correctional Center

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 2, 2017

SHAWN J. FLORES, Plaintiff,
v.
EMPLOYEES OF VANDALIA CORRECTIONAL CENTER, STEPHANIE WAGGONER, EMPLOYEES OF IDOC, BRUCE RAUNER, JOHN BALDWIN, WARDEN RANDY PFISTER, and CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge

         In Augusta, et al. v. Employees of Vandalia Correctional Center et al., Case No. 17-cv-1071-SMY (S.D. Ill. July 26, 2017) (“Original Action”), Plaintiffs Shawn J. Flores and Quennel Augusta, inmates incarcerated at Vandalia Correctional Center (“Vandalia”), brought suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of their constitutional rights that allegedly occurred at Vandalia. On September 1, 2017, the presiding Judge in the Original Action entered an Order pursuant to Boribourne v. Berge, 391 F.3d 852 (7th Cir. 2004). (Original Action, Doc. 5). Consistent with the Boribourne Order and Plaintiffs' responses (or failure to respond), Plaintiff Flores's claims were severed into a new action, forming the basis for this case, No. 17-cv-1071-NJR. (Original Action, Doc. 14).

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of that claims 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.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint also must comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8 requires a pleading to set forth a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The Court in Twombly clarified that the Rule 8 standard does not require detailed factual allegations. Id. Nonetheless, it demands more than bare legal conclusions and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action. Id; see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“the pleading standard Rule 8...demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice”); Alexander v. United States, 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013) (conclusory statements and labels are insufficient). A complaint must, at a minimum, give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests; and the factual allegations must raise a right to relief above the speculative level. See Bissessur v. Ind. Univ. Bd. of Trs., 581 F.3d 599, 602-03 (7th Cir. 2009).

         After fully considering the relevant allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint, the Court concludes that this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

          The Complaint consists of 28 pages. Approximately six pages of the Complaint (Doc. 2, pp. 5-11) are grievances (and responses thereto) filed by both Flores and Augusta. The Complaint also includes affidavits from both Augusta and Flores. The affidavit attributed to Plaintiff Flores is approximately two pages. (Doc. 2, pp. 13-14). In his affidavit, Plaintiff states that he is “filing [a] complaint on Stateville Correctional Center Employees” for failing to let Plaintiff out of his cell for at least an hour a day, as is required by the rules. (Doc. 2, p. 13). Plaintiff also claims that “IDOC employees” have violated his rights by incarcerating him at Vandalia, a prison Plaintiff alleges is plagued with unsanitary and/or unsafe living conditions. (Doc. 2, pp. 13-14).

         Discussion

         Before addressing the allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint, the Court finds it apt to eliminate certain defendants from the case. Plaintiff has named several groups of individuals as defendants in this case, including Employees of Vandalia Correctional Center, Employees of IDOC, and Correctional Officers. These groups of individuals are not appropriate defendants and must be dismissed. To state a § 1983 claim against an individual or entity, Plaintiff must specifically identify them, by name or Doe designation. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Plaintiff has instead attempted to implicate an amorphous collection of unnamed individuals in connection with his allegations, which is insufficient to state a claim. For these reasons, Vandalia Correctional Center, Employees of IDOC, and Correctional Officers will be dismissed from this action with ...


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