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Murphy v. Baldwin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 29, 2017

JAMELL A. MURPHY, R71059, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN BALDWIN, JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, L.T. DAVID MITCHELL, C/O OFFICER PORTER, and C/O OFFICER JOHN DOE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Judge Herndon, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Jamell A. Murphy, an inmate currently housed at Stateville Correctional Center, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff brings allegations pertaining to an excessive force incident that allegedly occurred while he was housed at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). In connection with these claims, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and declaratory relief.[1]

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint (Doc. 1) 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

         According to the Complaint, on June 16, 2017, Plaintiff was the victim of excessive force. Plaintiff claims that at 10:00 a.m. “West House Menard Eight Gallery Officer Web called gym line.” (Doc. 6, p. 3). At around 10:45 a.m., inmates in the west cell house (galleries 8 and 5) were ordered to leave and exit the gym due to a separate incident. Id. When 8 gallery was exiting the gym (but while Plaintiff was still inside the gym doors), there was another altercation between inmates and staff. Id. Plaintiff heard Porter say, “Y'all keep acting up, I'm gonna stomp one of you nigger's brains out.” Id. At that point, warning shots were fired from two gun towers. (Doc. 6, p. 4). All inmates were then ordered to get on the ground and an altercation broke out next to Plaintiff. Id. Lieutenant Mitchel ordered Officers Porter and John Doe to handcuff Plaintiff and to make sure he kept his “fucking head down.” Id. After Plaintiff was restrained in handcuffs, Officers John Doe and Porter stomped on his neck and face at the direction of Lieutenant Mitchell. Id. During the assault, Officers John Doe and Porter directed racial slurs at Plaintiff and told him to “shut the fuck up.” Id. Plaintiff suffered injuries to his mouth, chin, and face. Id. Additionally, Plaintiff claims that he now suffers from blurry vision, severe migraines and post-traumatic stress disorder. Id. Plaintiff received medical treatment for his injuries; however, he claims the treatment provider merely documented his injuries without providing any “direct medical treatment.” Id. Plaintiff claims that he was subsequently placed in segregation while the incident was investigated. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         He also claims that his legal paperwork was confiscated as retaliation “for the events in which he had no involvement.” Id. Plaintiff does not allege that the confiscation of his legal materials hindered his ability to pursue any specific legal claim or associate this claim with any specific defendant.

         Merits Review Under § 1915(A)

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into a single count. The parties and the Court will use this designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of this count does not constitute an opinion regarding its merit.

         Count 1 - Eighth Amendment excessive force claim against Defendants for ...


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