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Teen v. Smith

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 21, 2018

ANTRELL A. TEEN, Plaintiff,



         In Teen v. St. Clair County Jail et al., Case No. 17-cv-594-JPG (S.D. Ill. June 5, 2017) (“Original Action”), Plaintiff Antrell A. Teen, an apparent pretrial detainee incarcerated at St. Clair County Jail (“Jail”), brought suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights that allegedly occurred at St. Clair County Jail (“Jail”). Pursuant to George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007), two conditions of confinement claims pertaining to boil orders issued at the Jail in February 2016 and February 2017 were severed from that initial action to form the basis for this action, Case No. 17-cv-916-JPG. On November 8, 2017, the severed action was dismissed without prejudice and with leave to amend. (Doc. 6). Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint on December 5, 2017. (Doc. 7).

         The First Amended Complaint is now before the Court for a preliminary review 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 First Amended Complaint

         In his First Amended Complaint (Doc. 7), Plaintiff makes the following allegations:

         Grievance Procedure

         Plaintiff claims that the grievance procedure in the Jail is “broken.” (Doc. 7, p. 7). A majority of the time, his grievances receive no response. Id. Plaintiff claims that the flawed grievance procedure constitutes deliberate indifference, “deprives the inmates, ” and “prolong[s] deprivations.” Id.

         Unsafe Water February 2016

         From February 17, 2016 through February 19, 2016, St. Clair County had a boil order in effect. Id. During this time, the “faculty, staff, supervisor, and administrators did not inform the inmates.” Id. Additionally, inmates did not have access to uncontaminated water (such as bottled water) or other beverages. (Doc. 7, pp. 7-8). Accordingly, Plaintiff drank the contaminated water for three days, causing pain, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. (Doc. 7, p. 8).

         Grievances about the contaminated water were given to the “block officers” and a correctional officer identified as “Riley.”[1] Id. According to the First Amended Complaint, the grievances “were addressed to the supervisors on duty.” Id. The “supervisors on duty” are not known and have been identified by Plaintiff as John Doe #1. Plaintiff describes the content of one grievance written by him. Id. Plaintiff claims the grievance inquired about rules during a boil order, last known water testing, and results of that testing. Id. Plaintiff received no response from “supervisors on duty or administrators.” Id. On the third day of the boil order, Riley provided the inmates with clean drinking water. Id.

         When Plaintiff became ill after drinking the contaminated water, he complained to “the nurse.” Id. Plaintiff received no treatment from this individual. Id. Plaintiff also completed several sick calls, but was never scheduled for treatment. Id. Plaintiff claims that Defendants Nurse Robin and Nurse Deborah were responsible for reviewing sick call slips and scheduling medical appointments. Id.

         Unsafe Water February 2017

         On February 2, 2017, there was another boil order in effect for St. Clair County. Once again, “administrators” and “supervisors on duty” did not tell Plaintiff or other inmates about the boil order. Id. The supervisors on duty are not known and are identified by Plaintiff as John Doe #2. Id. The inmates, including Plaintiff, learned about the boil order from watching the news. (Doc. 7, p. 9).

         On February 2, 2017, when Nurse Barbara[2] made rounds to distribute medicine, she had a jug of water on her medicine cart. Id. This caused Plaintiff to inquire about the boil order. Id. Correctional Officer Smith overheard the inquiry and insisted there was not a boil order in effect. Id. Plaintiff claims that Smith intentionally lied in an effort to diffuse inmate anger regarding the boil order. Id. When Plaintiff protested, Smith indicated the boil order on the news was for a different county. Id. The inmates then asked Nurse Barbara if this was true and she responded, “If he says so.” Id. Nonetheless, “after realizing [the inmates] were aware [of the boil order], ” inmates in Plaintiff's block received bottled water to drink. Id. However, inmates in other blocks “that didn't make a fuss” did not receive bottled water. Id.

         Unsafe Drinking Water April 2017

         Another boil order was issued in April 2017. Id. Once again, Plaintiff and other inmates were not informed about the boil order and were forced to drink unsafe drinking water. Id.

         Mary Robinson Davis

         Plaintiff contends that Davis, the kitchen supervisor, is subject to liability because she was responsible for food and beverage service at the Jail. (Doc. 7, p. 9).

         Allegations Directed at ...

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