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Morris v. Engelage

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 28, 2017

ROBERT E. MORRIS, # R-71372, Plaintiff,
v.
R. ENGELAGE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         In Morris v. Lee, Case No. 17-cv-857-NJR (S.D. Ill. Aug. 14, 2017), Plaintiff Robert Morris, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brought suit for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007), two claims against Defendant Engelage were severed from that initial action to form the basis for this action, Case No. 17-cv-1167-NJR.

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of those 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).

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

         The Complaint

         The allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 2) relevant to this severed action are as follows: on December 31, 2016, Plaintiff was seen by Engelage, an EMT.[1] Engelage attempted to complete a tuberculosis test. Id. Plaintiff refused to comply because Engelage wanted to perform the test using the “chuckhole” in Plaintiff's cell. Id. Plaintiff contends that conducting a tuberculosis test in this manner (1) is unsanitary - because both Plaintiff and his cellmate receive their food through the chuckhole and thus the chuckhole could contain “micro-miniature blood splatter” and (2) violates prison procedures for medical/forensic examinations. Id.

         When Plaintiff refused, Engelage issued a disciplinary ticket for failure to submit to medical/forensic testing. (Doc. 2, pp. 10, 23-25). In connection with this disciplinary ticket, Plaintiff spent between four and six days in segregation. (Doc. 2, p. 10 (alleging four days in segregation) and Doc. 2, p. 24 (alleging six days in segregation)). Eventually, Plaintiff was seen by Brookman, the adjustment committee/hearing board chairman. (Doc. 2, p. 10). Thereafter, Plaintiff was released from segregation. Id. The disciplinary ticket was subsequently expunged. (Doc. 2, pp. 23-25). The Complaint suggests that Plaintiff is alleging issuance of the disciplinary ticket was unjustified. (Doc. 2, p. 10). The Complaint does not address what, if any, procedural protections Plaintiff was afforded in connection with the disciplinary ticket and his time in segregation.

         Discussion

         In its Severance Order (Doc. 1), the Court designated the following counts to be severed into this pro se action. The parties and the Court will continue to use these designations in all future pleadings and ...


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