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Knox v. Ross

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 27, 2017

TED KNOX, Plaintiff,
v.
ROSS, J. HECHT, J. SMITH, and JOHN DOE #2 Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Ted Knox, an inmate at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and punitive damages. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the 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 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).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

          Plaintiff originally brought suit in Case No. 17-cv-494, filed on May 10, 2017. (Doc. 1). On May 31, 2017, the Court determined that Plaintiff had attempted to bring unrelated claims in the same lawsuit and severed the action into separate cases. (Doc. 1). This action proceeds as to Count 3 of the original case.

         As to Count 3, Plaintiff alleges that in June 2014, he wrote a timely grievance about an April 14, 2014 shakedown during which the Orange Crush team allegedly used excessive force and demonstrated deliberate indifference, in violation of the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc. 2, p. 10). On July 23, 2014 Plaintiff's counselor, “Ms. Payne” told Plaintiff that she had responded to the grievance on June 10, 2014. Id.

         Plaintiff was familiar with June 10, 2014 because Defendant Ross ordered Plaintiff not to go to yard that day because he was wanted in the investigation office. Id. No one from the investigation office ever came to interview Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff then asked Ross why he had instructed him not to go to yard. Id. Ross replied, “you wrote that stupid grievance about Orange Crush, well pack your shit, I.A. Officer Hecht just called and said to bring you over to seg., so you can think about the B.S. you wrote in that grievance.” Id.

         When Plaintiff arrived in segregation, Defendant Hecht was there waiting. Id. Hecht told Plaintiff that he needed to stop writing grievances if he wanted to stay out of segregation. (Doc. 2, p. 11). Plaintiff was then assigned to the North 2 cell house, cell #443.

         Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff requested a cell change from Defendant J. Smith because #443 had no running water and feces was spread throughout the cell. Id. Smith refused and told Plaintiff that he never should have messed with the tact team officers. Id. When Plaintiff asked to speak to a sergeant or lieutenant, Smith replied that they already knew about the “shit” in Plaintiff's cell and that it represented how the officers felt about the grievances. Id. Plaintiff also asked Smith for hygiene items, but Smith denied Plaintiff's request. Id. After an hour, Plaintiff began experiencing headaches, which he attributes to hypertension. Smith also refused to secure medical attention for ...


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