United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. HERNDON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
currently incarcerated at Illinois River Correctional Center,
filed this this pro se civil rights action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for constitutional violations that
allegedly occurred while he was incarcerated at Shawnee
Correctional Center (“Shawnee”). On July 31,
2017, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's Original Complaint
without prejudice and with leave to amend. (Doc. 6).
Thereafter, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint.
(Doc. 7 and Doc. 9 (identified as a
“continuation” of the First Amended
Complaint). In the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff
claims that he was subjected to unsanitary cell conditions
for approximately 30 days when he was placed in disciplinary
segregation in January 2017.
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
First Amended Complaint (Docs. 7 and 9) pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion
of the Complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks
for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 “no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.”
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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on
its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations
as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th
Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or
implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a
plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574,
581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts “should not
accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a
cause of action or conclusory legal statements.”
Id. At the same time, however, the factual
allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally
construed. See Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751
(7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
these standards, the Court finds that the First Amended
Complaint survives threshold review under § 1915A.
Amended Complaint (Docs. 7 and 9)
January 11, 2017, Plaintiff was placed in segregation. (Doc.
9, p. 3). Plaintiff claims the cell he was confined in was
uninhabitable and should have been condemned. (Doc. 7, p. 5;
Doc. 9, pp. 3-4). The sink and toilet were full of mold and
mildew. Id. The sink was non-functional because a
“seg pen” was stuck in the faucet and no water
would come out. Id. The mattress in the cell had
urine stains on it and smelled of urine. Id. The
windows were drilled shut and there was inadequate air
circulation. Id. Plaintiff was not provided with
cleaning supplies, but tried to clean the cell with his
personal hygiene items (body soap and towels). Id.
Plaintiff remained in the original unsanitary segregation
cell for 20 days. Id. Thereafter, for the next 10
days, Plaintiff was repeatedly transferred to new segregation
cells. However, the conditions in each cell were equally
contends that Pitchford and Dennison had knowledge of the
complained of conditions in Plaintiff's original
segregation cell. (Doc. 7, p. 5; Doc. 9, pp. 3-5).
Additionally, Plaintiff claims Defendants new that all of the
segregation cells were equally uninhabitable. Id.
According to Plaintiff, these Defendants were aware of these
conditions because they personally observed the conditions,
and/or because of Plaintiff's repeated complaints and/or
grievances regarding the same. Id. Instead of
addressing the conditions, Defendants allegedly “turned
a blind eye.” Id. Plaintiff contends that
Defendants' decision to transfer him from cell to cell
was a meaningless act because all of the segregation cells
were uninhabitable and Defendants knew that all of the
segregation cells were uninhabitable. Id.
of Certain Defendants
Department of Corrections IDOC is a state governmental
agency. The Supreme Court has held that “neither a
State nor its officials acting in their official capacities
are ‘persons' under § 1983.” Will v.
Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
See also Wynn v. Southward, 251 F.3d 588,
592 (7th Cir. 2001) (Eleventh Amendment bars suits against
states in federal court for money damages); Billman v.
Ind. Dep't of Corr., 56 F.3d 785, 788 (7th Cir.
1995) (state Department of Corrections is immune from suit by
virtue of Eleventh Amendment); Hughes v. Joliet Corr.
Ctr., 931 F.2d 425, 427 (7th Cir. 1991) (same);
Santiago v. Lane, 894 F.2d 219, 220 n. 3 (7th Cir.
Plaintiff cannot direct any § 1983 claims against IDOC
and IDOC will be dismissed from this action without
has included a John Doe Defendant described as “Sgt.
Pickford or Lt. Pickford.” It is evident that John Doe
Defendant, Sgt. Pickford or Lt. Pickford, is the
same individual as Defendant Sgt. Pitchford, or Lt.
Pitchford. Plaintiff has only included a John Doe
Defendant because he is unsure of the correct spelling for