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Rogerss v. Baldwin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 12, 2018

TERRY ROGERS, Plaintiff,


          Herndon, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Terry Rogers, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that happened at Lawrence Correctional Center and Menard Correctional Center. Plaintiff requests damages and injunctive relief in the form of a transfer out of Menard. 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; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff was incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center on August 24, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff got into an argument with C/O Stout over Plaintiff's personal property box. Id. Stout then opened Plaintiff's cell and pushed Plaintiff, causing him to fall and hit his head on the steel frame of his bed. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff experienced dizziness and excruciating pain. Id. Stout then continued to assault Plaintiff by slamming him on the ground and punching him, causing injury. Id. Plaintiff caught his thumb on the ground when Stout slammed him; Plaintiff believes that Stout broke his thumb at that time. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         After reporting the assault and being examined in the health care unit, Plaintiff was transferred to Menard Correctional Center. (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10). Engelage, Howell, John Does #1-#3, and Fitzgerald met Plaintiff when he arrived. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Howell put handcuffs on Plaintiff so tightly that they caused excruciating pain and cut into Plaintiff's skin. Id. Plaintiff complained the handcuffs were too tight, at which point Howell, Fitzgerald, and John Does #1-3 all began beating Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, pp. 10-11). Engelage watched but failed to intervene. (Doc. 1, p. 11). Defendants told Plaintiff the beating was in retaliation for what had happened at Lawrence, and Engelage promised Plaintiff “the shit treatment.” (Doc. 1, pp. 11-12). Plaintiff requested medical attention for the beating and his shortness of breath (Plaintiff is asthmatic) from Howell and one of John Does #1-3, but they ignored him. (Doc. 1, pp. 12-13).

         Plaintiff was placed in N2 cell 217. (Doc. 1, p. 12) Howell directed John Does # 4 and 5 to shut off the water in Plaintiff's cell, and they did. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Howell and one of John Does #1-3 returned to Plaintiff's cell and gave him a dirty wet mattress that had blood and urine stains on it and was infested with bugs. Id. Plaintiff requested a new mattress, along with bedding, toilet tissue, toothpaste, soap, deodorant and a towel, but Howell just told him that he was slow and didn't understand the shit treatment. (Doc. 1, pp. 13-14). Plaintiff continued to ask Ashston, Doe #6, Dulaney, Doe #7, Doe #8, Adams, Doe #10, and Doe #11 to remedy his conditions of confinement, but all of them refused. (Doc. 1, pp. 14-21). Ashton also refused to turn off Plaintiff's light on August 25, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Plaintiff alleges that he spent 5 days without water, and that he was forced to endure the smells from his toilet, which were exacerbated by the summer heat. (Doc. 1, pp. 23-24). The smells triggered Plaintiff's asthma, and he was also denied access to his inhaler during this time. Id. Plaintiff was moved to another cell on August 29, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 23).

         Ashston gave Plaintiff an empty food tray at breakfast on August 25, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Other C/Os, including Doe #6, Dulaney, Doe #7, Doe #8, Adams, Doe #10, Doe #11, also gave Plaintiff empty trays between August 25, 2017 and August 27, 2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 16-21). Plaintiff was ultimately only fed on 2 occasions during a 5-day period. (Doc. 1, p. 24).

         Plaintiff wrote Warden Lashbrook a letter detailing his need for medical treatment and reporting the assault on August 25, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 17). He also wrote several sick call slips and 2 grievances. (Doc. 1, pp. 17-18).

         Plaintiff repeatedly requested medical attention for his injuries, but Ashston, Doe #6, and Dulaney denied his requests. (Doc. 1, p. 14, 16-17). On August 26, 2017, Plaintiff requested medical care from Shaya while she passed out medication, and told her about his cell conditions. (Doc. 1, p. 19). Shaya looked at Doe #9, and he told Shaya not to help Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 20). Plaintiff requested medical care from Reba on August 27, 2017 while she was passing out medication, but Doe #12 told Reba not to help Plaintiff and she walked away. (Doc. 1, p. 22). The same thing happened the next day on August 28, 2017 when Plaintiff asked Elizabeth for help, and John Doe #14 told her to refuse. (Doc. 1, p. 23).

         Plaintiff was finally seen by N.P. Moldenhauer on August 31, 2017, but once Plaintiff alluded to the alleged assault, Moldenhauer refused to treat him. (Doc. 1, pp. 25-28). Plaintiff grieved this issue to Lashbrook. (Doc. 1, p. 28). Plaintiff waited 29 days for treatment before being seen by Ron. Id. Plaintiff told Ron about the alleged assault, at which point Ron stated “Oh, you won't be getting any Menard money, ” and then refused to continue treating Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 29). Ron only provided ibuprofen. Id. Plaintiff saw Ron again on October 9, 2017, but Ron once again refused to provide any treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 30). Plaintiff also saw Moldenhauer on October 12, 2017, and requested physical therapy for his thumb, but Moldenhauer only gave him more ibuprofen. (Doc. 1, pp. 30-31). Moldenhauer eventually ordered Naproxen and an x-ray. (Doc. 1, p. 31).

         On October 21, 2017, Fitzgerald came to his cell and told Plaintiff that he got off lightly for a staff-assaulter, and that “since you want to whine and write grievances, and complain about it, I got something worse in store for you, don't think the cameras up here can save you, time for bed you piece of shit.” (Doc. 1, p. 32). Fitzgerald then turned off Plaintiff's light. Id.

         Plaintiff received a disciplinary report based on the altercation with Stout 76 days later written by J. Molenhour. (Doc. 1, pp. 33, 36). Plaintiff alleges that the disciplinary report was fabricated in retaliation for Plaintiff writing grievances. Id. It was ultimately dismissed for not being filed in a timely manner. Id.

         Plaintiff requested that Lashbrook transfer him out of Menard, but she denied his request. (Doc. 1, p. 34). Likewise, Baldwin ...

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