United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
DANNEL M. MITCHELL, #R-07374, Plaintiff,
JOHN BALDWIN, CHARLES PECK, CRAIG FOSTER, ASSISTANT WARDEN WATSON, MR. FATHEREE, MS. PIERCE, MS. HARTER, MS. GRAUPE, MS. RAWCLIFFE, MAYOR PURITT, MAYOR GARRETT, MAJOR BANAL, LT. MORGAN, LT. SMITH, LT. CONRAD, LT. BOGARD, SGT. SMITH, SGT. WORKMAN, SGT. ROSENBERG, CHRIS BUTHOUKAS, MARY JOHNSON, MS. KLEIN, C/O WEABER, C/O ARENAS, C/O VANZANT, SGT. SIMMONS, WALTER PEARSON, SETH TOWNSEND, JENNIFER BEHRENDS, PATRICK M. MICHELS, JESSICA TOMPKINS, JOHN DOES ##1-7 and DR. AFUWAPE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Dannel Mitchell, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Western Illinois Correctional Center (“Western
Illinois”), brings this civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against almost forty officials at
Vandalia Correctional Center (“Vandalia”) for
violations of his constitutional rights. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff
claims that these officials subjected him to harassment and
retaliation for complaining about inadequate medical care he
received at the prison in 2016. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-28). He seeks
monetary damages. (Doc. 1, p. 29).
with the Complaint, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to
Proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP
Motion”). (Doc. 2). Before screening the Complaint
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must first address
Plaintiff's eligibility for IFP status in this case. 28
U.S.C. § 1914(a). Because Plaintiff is unable to satisfy
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), the IFP Motion will be
seeks the Court's permission to proceed without prepaying
the full $400.00filing fee for this action. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1914(a). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, a federal court
may permit a prisoner who is indigent to bring a “suit,
action or proceeding, civil or criminal, ” without
prepayment of fees upon presentation of an affidavit stating
the prisoner's assets together with “the nature of
the action . . . and affiant's belief that the person is
entitled to redress.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). In
the case of civil actions, a prisoner's affidavit of
indigence must be accompanied by “a certified copy of
the trust fund account statement (or institutional
equivalent) for the prisoner for the 6-month period
immediately preceding the filing of the complaint . . .,
obtained from the appropriate official of each prison at
which the prisoner is or was confined.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(2). Plaintiff's IFP Motion satisfies these
requirements.(Doc. 2, pp. 1-5).
so, Plaintiff is barred from proceeding IFP under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(g). Section 1915(g) prohibits a prisoner from
bringing a civil action or appealing a civil judgment IFP,
“if the prisoner has, on 3 or more prior occasions,
while incarcerated or detained in any facility, brought an
action or appeal in a court of the United States that was
dismissed on the grounds that it is frivolous, malicious, or
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,
unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of serious
physical injury.” See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(g). Plaintiff “struck out” under §
1915(g) before filing this action and is therefore subject to
the three-strikes bar. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5).
Public Access to Court Electronic Records
(“PACER”) website (www.pacer.gov) reveals that
Plaintiff filed more than three prior civil actions that were
dismissed as frivolous, malicious, or for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. See Henson v. CSC
Credit Servs., 29 F.3d 280, 284 (7th Cir. 1994) (courts
can take judicial notice of public records which include
court records). These lawsuits include Mitchell v.
Baldwin, No. 16-cv-0278-NJR (S.D. Ill. dismissed Aug. 9,
2016); Mitchell v. Lupert, No. 16-cv-00486-SMY (S.D.
Ill. dismissed June 14, 2016); Mitchell v. Dennison,
No. 16-cv-01189-MJR (S.D. Ill. dismissed Jan. 12, 2017); and
Mitchell v. Gateway Found., No. 17-cv-02741 (N.D.
Ill. dismissed April 27, 2017). Each of these dismissals
counts as a “strike” under § 1915(g).
Plaintiff has “struck out” under § 1915(g),
he cannot proceed IFP unless he is under imminent danger of
serious physical injury. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
“[I]mminent danger” within the meaning of §
1915(g) requires a “real and proximate” threat of
serious physical injury to a prisoner. Ciarpaglini v.
Saini, 352 F.3d 328, 330 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing
Lewis v. Sullivan, 279 F.3d 526, 529 (7th Cir.
2002)). In general, courts “deny leave to proceed IFP
when a prisoner's claims of imminent danger are
conclusory or ridiculous.” Ciarpaglini, 352
F.3d at 331 (citing Heimermann v. Litscher, 337 F.3d
781, 782 (7th Cir. 2003)). Additionally, “[a]llegations
of past harm do not suffice” to show imminent danger;
rather, “the harm must be imminent or occurring at the
time the complaint is filed, ” and when prisoners
“allege only a past injury that has not recurred,
courts deny them leave to proceed IFP.” Id. at
330 (citing Abdul-Wadood v. Nathan, 91 F.3d 1023
(7th Cir. 1996)).
allegations in the Complaint do not support Plaintiff's
assertion that he is in imminent danger of serious physical
injury. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-28). Plaintiff's claims focus on
events that occurred at Vandalia in 2016. Id. He
alleges that almost forty prison officials conspired to
retaliate against him for complaining about the denial of
medical care for neuropathy, back pain, and other conditions.
(Doc. 1, pp. 13-14). When he was denied treatment, he filed
grievances, complaints, and lawsuits. (Doc. 1, pp. 14-15). In
response, prison officials allegedly harassed and threatened
him. (Doc. 1, p. 16). They also subjected him to the
unauthorized use of force and unconstitutional conditions of
confinement. (Doc. 1, pp. 18-19, 22-24).
Complaint focuses on past injuries. The conduct and events
giving rise to Plaintiff's claims took place in 2016 at
Vandalia (Doc. 1, pp. 1-28). However, Plaintiff is no longer
housed there. (Doc. 1, p. 1). He is currently housed at
Western Illinois. Id. None of his claims pertain to
his current confinement. Id. Past injuries, such as
those described in the Complaint, do not support a finding of
imminent danger under § 1915(g). See
Ciarpaglini, 352 F.3d at 330.
nonetheless insists that he is in imminent danger of serious
physical injury. (Doc. 1, p. 6). In a one-page statement that
he filed with the Complaint, he explains:
Because of defendant's negligence I grossly continue to
suffer from P.T.S.D., Major Depression, and anxiety because
of the horrid injuries of wanton neglect caused to my person
by defendant's. In-which, I am currently taking Rem[e]ron
for major depression, bus[p]ar for anxiety, and Pr[a]z[o]sin
for nightmares. Defendant's named in this complaint
knowingly participated in voluntered negligence, and
deliberate indifference /w purposeful intent to harm, and
place in danger, Defendant's liable actions has placed me
in danger of being suceptible to commit suicide. Therefore,
placeing me in imminent, irreparable danger of permanent
injury. The thought's of suicide plaintiff suffer from
caused by defendant's is imminent because of the lack of
attention (ignoreing) the relief I seek. The defendant's
interference /w unconstitutional policies, practices /w
act's of injustice caused violations to my inalienable
constitutional right's in my vulnerable state has left me
hopeless, [and] helpless. I now have no faith in God leaveing
me an atheist. I no longer see the reason of living in a
civilized soceity that placed me in the care of state
actor's whom has confused me. In, conclusion I am in
imminent danger of serious physical injuries, and or
irreparable harm to self because of defendant's hateful
crimes of negligence. The defendant's purposeful
act's of punishment of discrimination has left me in
(Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff submitted virtually the same
statement with six other Complaints that he filed in this
District between January 22, 2018, and February 1, 2018.
See Mitchell v. Dennison, No. 18-cv-00118-DRH (S.D.
Ill. Jan. 22, 2018) (Doc. 1, p. 6); Mitchell v. Wexford
Health Care Servs., No. 18-cv-00119-MJR (S.D. Ill. Jan.
22, 2018) (Doc. 1, p. 7); Mitchell v. Foster, No.
18-cv-00120-MJR (S.D. Ill. filed Jan. 22, 2018) (Doc. 1, p.
4); Mitchell v. Heberer, No. 18-cv-00121-DRH (S.D.
Ill. filed Jan. 22, 2018) (Doc. 1, p. 6); Mitchell v.
Pace, No. 18-cv-00122-MJR (S.D. Ill. filed Jan. 22,
2018) (Doc. 1, p. 6); Mitchell v. Jackson-Pearson,
No. 18-cv-00158-SMY-DGW (S.D. Ill. Feb. 1, 2018) (Doc. 5, p.
5) (transferred Feb. 2, 2018). None of these Complaints
address the denial of medical and/or mental health care at
Western Illinois, where he is currently confined, although
the one-page statement focuses on that particular
filed two other lawsuits in this District that focused on
medical care claims against officials at Western Illinois.
Both cases were transferred to the Central District of
Illinois. Mitchell v. Watson, No. 18-cv-00110-NJR
(S.D. Ill. filed Jan. 19, 2018) (transferred Jan. 22, 2018);
Mitchell v. Watson, No. 18-cv-00136-SMY (S.D. Ill.
filed Jan. 25, 2018) (transferred Jan. 29, 2018). Although
Plaintiff's claim of imminent danger may support his
request for IFP status in one or both of those cases,
is unrelated to the claims he asserts in this action against