United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN, U.S. Chief District Judge
Leonard Gordon, an inmate in Centralia Correctional Center,
brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that
occurred at Vandalia Correctional Center. Plaintiff requests
damages and declarative relief. 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
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.
alleges that the Hewitts are a married couple that both work
as guards at Vandalia Correctional Center. (Doc. 1, p. 2). On
December 28, 2016, Mrs. Hewitt began taunting Plaintiff
because of his facial tattoos and ultimately hit him in the
mouth and choked him while John Doe #1 watched. (Doc. 1, pp.
2-3). Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding the alleged
assault. (Doc. 1, p. 3). He also told family members, who
reported the incident to prison administration, and
complained to various prison officials regarding the assault
and the grievance, which was subsequently misplaced.
Id. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of his
complaints, he was issued a retaliatory disciplinary report
and submitted for a transfer. Id.
February 24, 2017, Mr. Hewitt encountered Plaintiff and
verbally berated him about filling grievances on Mrs. Hewitt.
(Doc. 1, p. 4). Mr. Hewitt left and then returned with John
Does #2-7. Id. Mr. Hewitt opened Plaintiff's
cell, choked Plaintiff, and slammed his head into the wall.
Id. John Does #2-7 then jumped in and began punching
and kicking Plaintiff until he was unconscious. Id.
When Plaintiff regained consciousness, Mr. Hewitt escorted
him to the laundry room where he slammed Plaintiff to the
ground, put his knee on Plaintiff's neck, and punched him
in the face. (Doc. 1, p. 5). One of the John Does rubbed a
burning substance in Plaintiff's eyes. Id.
Plaintiff was escorted to health care where John Doe #8, a
nurse, told him that there was nothing wrong with him.
Id. Plaintiff was taken to the hospital for
treatment the next day. Id.
grieved this incident to Johnson, who never interviewed
Plaintiff's witnesses and denied his grievances.
Id. Plaintiff alleges that the grievance provided
sufficient knowledge of the constitutional deprivation, and
that Johnson failed to exercise her authority to act on it.
(Doc. 1, pp. 6-7).
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into 4 counts. The
parties and the Court will use these designations in all
future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a
judicial officer of this Court. The following claims survive
Count 1 - Mrs. Hewitt and John Doe #1
violated Plaintiff's rights under the Eighth Amendment on
December 28, 2016 when Mrs. Hewitt punched and choked
Plaintiff for no reason and Doe #1 approved, condoned, ...