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Bentz v. Lindenberg

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 27, 2018

DAVID ROBERT BENTZ, Plaintiff,
v.
DONALD LINDENBERG, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HERNDON, District Judge:

         Plaintiff David Robert Bentz, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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; this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff originally brought suit on July 27, 2016 in No. 16-cv-854-NJR (16-854). That case was dismissed for failure to comply with the Court's orders and for attempting to commit fraud on the Court on September 22, 2016. (16-854, Doc. 8). The Seventh Circuit reversed on appeal, and No. 16-854 was reopened on January 4, 2018, at which time the claims present in this lawsuit were severed into this action. (16-854, Doc. 36). Specifically, Judge Rosenstengel designated Counts 13 and 14 for this action. (Doc. 1) which was designated as 18-16 by the clerk's office as its unique file number.

         Plaintiff alleges the following relevant facts: on August 29, 2014, Plaintiff had a call pass to see Dr. Trost. (Doc. 2, p. 15). While waiting, Plaintiff was assaulted by Defendant Lindenberg and Virgil Smith in the hall outside of Dr. Trost's waiting room. Id. Plaintiff has filed a prior separate lawsuit regarding these allegations that is currently pending before this Court: 15-cv-121-NJR-DGW (15-121). Id. There are no further details about Plaintiff's interaction with Defendant Lindenberg in this action.

         Case No. 15-121 remains pending. Count 2 of that action specifically alleges that “Defendant[] Lindenberg . . . used excessive force against Plaintiff on August 29, 2014 . . . in violation of the Eighth Amendment.” (15-121, Doc. 8, p. 5). There is also a claim for the same conduct proceeding under Illinois state law. (15-121, Doc. 8, p. 6).

         The severance order that opened the underlying case designated 2 claims for this action:

Count 13 - Eighth Amendment excessive force claim against Lindenberg for assaulting Plaintiff on August 29, 2014 (“Count ...

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