United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
RASHA B. TALAFHAH, Plaintiff,
JOHN BALDWIN, et al., Defendants.
MERIT REVIEW AND MANAGEMENT ORDER
A. BAKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, and currently
incarcerated in Logan Correctional Center, was granted leave
to proceed in forma pauperis. The case is now before
the court for a merit review of plaintiff's claims. The
court is required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to
“screen” the plaintiff's complaint, and
through such process to identify and dismiss any legally
insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A
claim is legally insufficient if it “(1) is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
reviewing the complaint, the court accepts the factual
allegations as true, liberally construing them in the
plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory
statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be
provided to “state a claim for relief that is plausible
on its face.” Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418,
422 (7th Cir. 2013)(citation omitted). The court
has reviewed the complaint and has also held a merit review
hearing in order to give the plaintiff a chance to personally
explain her claims to the court.
is currently serving a sentence at Logan for possession of a
stolen vehicle and aggravated battery while in custody.
Plaintiff filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 alleging that approximately five male correctional
officers from the tactical team held her down and pried her
legs apart while another digitally penetrated her vagina,
while she screamed for help. Plaintiff stated that their
purpose was to look for contraband. Plaintiff alleges that
prison officials investigated the incident, sent the reports
to the State's Attorney, but that no charges have yet
Eighth Amendment claim for excessive force must go beyond
deliberate indifference, alleging that “officials
applied force maliciously and sadistically for the very
purpose of causing harm.” Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825, 835 (1994). Plaintiff's claim that the male
officers held her down and digitally penetrated her vagina
would sustain a claim of excessive force to survive merit
review. The use of excessive physical force against a
prisoner may constitute cruel and unusual punishment [even]
when the inmate does not suffer serious injury. Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 4, 112 S.Ct. 995, 117 L.Ed.2d 156
named only the prison administrators and officials
responsible for the ensuing investigation; she did not name
those officials she alleges were responsible for the
allegations discussed above. Accordingly, the Court will add
the latter officials as defendants in this matter and effect
service via the standard procedures.
Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, the court finds that the plaintiff states an
Eighth Amendment claim for excessive force against the named
defendants. Any additional claims shall not be included in
the case, except at the court's discretion on motion by a
party for good cause shown or pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 15.
case is now in the process of service. The plaintiff is
advised to wait until counsel has appeared for the defendants
before filing any motions, in order to give the defendants
notice and an opportunity to respond to those motions.
Motions filed before defendants' counsel has filed an
appearance will generally be denied as premature. The
plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the court at this
time, unless otherwise directed by the court.
court will attempt service on the defendants by mailing each
defendant a waiver of service. The defendants have 60 days
from the date the waiver is sent to file an answer. If the
defendants have not filed answers or appeared through counsel
within 90 days of the entry of this order, the plaintiff may
file a motion requesting the status of service. After the
defendants have been served, the court will enter an order
setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.
respect to a defendant who no longer works at the address
provided by the plaintiff, the entity for whom that defendant
worked while at that address shall provide to the clerk said
defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said
defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be
used only for effectuating service. Documentation of
forwarding addresses shall be retained only by the clerk and
shall not be maintained in the public docket nor disclosed by
defendants shall file an answer within 60 days of the date
the waiver is sent by the clerk. A motion to dismiss is not
an answer. The answer should include all defenses appropriate
under the Federal Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings
shall be to the issues and claims stated in this opinion. In
general, an answer sets forth the defendants' positions.
The court does not rule on the merits of those positions
unless and until a motion is filed by the defendants.
Therefore, no response to the answer is necessary or will be
district uses electronic filing, which means that, after
defense counsel has filed an appearance, defense counsel will
automatically receive electronic notice of any motion or
other paper filed by the plaintiff with the clerk. The
plaintiff does not need to mail to defense counsel copies of
motions and other papers that the plaintiff has filed with
the clerk. However, this does not apply to discovery requests
and responses. Discovery requests and responses are not filed
with the clerk. The plaintiff must mail his discovery
requests and responses directly to defendants' counsel.
Discovery requests or responses sent to the clerk will be
returned unfiled, unless they are attached to and the subject
of a motion to compel. Discovery does not begin until defense
counsel has filed an appearance and the court has entered a
scheduling order, which will explain the discovery process in
Counsel for the defendants is hereby granted leave to depose
the plaintiff at his place of confinement. Counsel for the