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Augusta v. Waggoner

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

April 10, 2018

QUENNEL AUGUSTA, K81797 Plaintiff,


          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Court.


         The Original Complaint in this case (Doc. 1) was filed pro se by Quennel Augusta and Shawn J. Flores pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that they were subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement at Vandalia Correctional Center ("Vandalia") and Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville"). On September 1, 2017, the Court entered an Order pursuant to Boriboune v. Berge, 391 F.3d 852 (7th Cir. 2004). (Doc. 5). On October 4, 2017, consistent with the Boriboune Order and Plaintiffs' responses (or failure to respond), the claims of Plaintiff Flores were severed into a new action (17-cv-1071-NJR) and Plaintiff Augusta was granted leave to file an amended complaint in this action. (Doc. 12).

         Augusta's First Amended Complaint was dismissed without prejudice and with leave to amend on November 6, 2017. (Doc. 18). On November 27, 2017, Augusta filed his Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 19) and notified the Court of his transfer to Jacksonville Correctional Center ("Jacksonville"). The Second Amended Complaint includes a litany of complaints pertaining to Augusta's prior incarcerations at Vandalia (Doc. 19, pp. 5-11, 15) and Stateville (Doc. 19, pp. 12-13), where he was housed for a period of time in 2016. The allegations can be roughly divided into four sets of claims: (1) Eighth Amendment claims related to Vandalia and directed against Waggoner (Vandalia's Warden), Baldwin (JTX)C's Director) and unspecified staff at Vandalia; (2) Eighth Amendment claims related to the denial of meals at Vandalia and directed against Mahaffey (Correctional Officer) and Berg (Correctional Officer); (3) Fourteenth Amendment claims pertaining to the opening of legal mail at Vandalia and directed against Schwagi (Mailroom Staff Member); and (4) Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment claims pertaining to Stateville and directed against Randy Pfister (Stateville's Warden), Rolling (Correctional Officer) and unspecified staff at Stateville.


         The Second Amended Complaint is now before the Court for a preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 1915A the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § l9l5A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief 28 U.S.C. § l9l5A(b).


         Vandalia - Claims Directed Against Baldwin and Waggoner

         Augusta generally claims that Vandalia is an "insufficient" facility. (Doc. 19, p. 9). In support of this claim, he describes the following cell conditions: (1) urine, rust stained and bug infested mattress; (2) extremely cold temperatures; (3) mattress located in close vicinity to the bathroom, exposing Augusta to unsanitary conditions; and (4) lack of cleaning supplies. (Doc. 19, pp. 5-7, 10). Augusta also complains about the following conditions: (1) certain areas of the prison do not have working water fountains, which meant there was a lack of "proper cold drinking water" and Augusta had to use the water fountain in the chapel; (2) there are birds in the cafeteria; and (3) inmates, who are not licensed food service workers, are allowed to cook in the kitchen, in violation of state law. (Doc. 19, pp. 5, 7-8, 13). Augusta also alleges that his health and safety were at risk while housed at Vandalia because Vandalia lacked security cameras, inmates were allowed to keep razors in their personal effects and because he was exposed to inmates with scabies. (Doc. 19, pp. 6-8, 10-11).

         Augusta associates these claims with Defendants Waggoner, Baldwin and unspecified Vandalia employees. However, the references to Waggoner and Baldwin throughout the Second Amended Complaint do not specify how these defendants were personally involved in the alleged violations. Instead, the Complaint suggests that these individuals are subject to liability because they maintain supervisory positions and should have known about the complained of conditions. (Doc. 19, pp. 5-11).

         Augusta also claims that Waggoner violated his Eighth Amendment rights when she allowed her employees to strip search him in the gym in front of 80 other inmates. (Doc. 19, p. 15). Augusta alleges that this occurred twice in one month. Id. He also alleges that during the strip searches, other inmates stared at him and made comments about his penis and underwear. Id. This left Augusta feeling humiliated, angry, depressed and ashamed. Id.

         Finally, Augusta alleges that Waggoner and Waggoner's employees do not follow the proper procedures with regard to handling grievances. (Doc. 19, p. 8).

         Vandalia - Claims Directed Against Mahaffey and Berg

         Augusta alleges that Officer Mahaffey and Officer Berg have denied Augusta and other inmates' meals. (Doc. 19, p. 7). And as a result, Augusta and the other inmates had "to starve." Id.

         Vandalia - Claims Directed Against Schwagi

         Augusta alleges that Angela Schwagi has opened Augusta's legal mail outside of his presence. (Doc. 19, p. 7).

         Stateville - Claims Directed Against Pfister and Rolling

         Augusta was housed at Stateville Correctional Center in 2016. (Doc. 19, p. 12). He alleges that while at Stateville, he was denied the opportunity to leave his cell for one hour per day. Id. Augusta asserts that this violated his constitutional rights and state correctional rules. Id. He associates this claim with Defendant Pfister (Stateville's Warden) and Pfister's employees. Id. However, Augusta does not specify how Pfister or any specific employee was personally involved in this alleged constitutional deprivation.

         While at Stateville, Augusta was in the I-Unit for approximately two weeks. Id. He claims that the cell he was housed in was unsanitary. Id. Specifically, Augusta alleges that the toilet was stained with urine and feces and "employees" denied him cleaning supplies. Id.

         Augusta also complains about Defendant Rolling a Correctional Officer at Stateville. According to the Second Amended Complaint, Augusta asked Rolling for an ink pen so he could write a grievance regarding Rolling's behavior, but Rolling refused his request for a pen. Id. Augusta asserts that this refusal violated his rights and interfered with his ability to submit a grievance. Id. He also claims that Pfister is subject to ...

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