United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Travion Barbee, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections currently incarcerated at Robinson Correctional
Center, brings this action seeking damages for deprivations
of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for events that occurred at Lawrence Correctional
Center. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary
review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
(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
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.
Armfield was moved into Plaintiff's cell on December 13,
2016. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Armfield immediately began to complain
about his housing assignment to officer Heifner. Id.
The next day, Armfield spoke with Heifner again and told him,
“Imma beat [Plaintiff's] ass in here. Check my
history, that's why I was transferred back to Lawrence
from Graham.” Id. After hearing those
comments, Plaintiff sent Weaver, the placement officer, a
request slip noting the threats that Armfield had made
against him. Id. Plaintiff believes that Armfield
wrote a grievance about the situation to Lt. McCarthy.
Id. On December 17, 2016, Armfield told Plaintiff
“this don't have nothing to do with you, I told
them to move me, they put you in the business.”
Id. Plaintiff was concerned about this comment, so
he spoke to Heifner and told Heifner that his immediate
safety was in jeopardy. Id. Heifner told Plaintiff
to refuse housing. Id. Plaintiff also told
Lieutenant McCaslin about the situation, but McCaslin told
him that they could not move inmates on Saturdays.
Id. Armfield attacked Plaintiff after lunch;
Plaintiff suffered blows to his head and face. Id.
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
a single count. The parties and the Court will use this
designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court.
1 - Heifner, Weaver, McCaslin, and McCarthy failed
to protect Plaintiff from the serious threat posed by his
cellmate in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994), the Supreme
Court held that “prison officials have a duty . . . to
protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other
prisoners.” Id. at 833 (internal citations
omitted); see also Pinkston v. Madry, 440 F.3d 879,
889 (7th Cir. 2006). However, not every harm caused by
another inmate translates into constitutional liability for
the corrections officers responsible for the prisoner's
safety. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. In order for a
plaintiff to succeed on a claim for failure to protect, he
must show that he is incarcerated under conditions posing a
substantial risk of serious harm and that the defendants
acted with “deliberate indifference” to that
danger. Id.; Pinkston, 440 F.3d at 889. A
plaintiff also must prove that prison officials were aware of
a specific, impending, and substantial threat to his safety,
often by showing that he complained to prison officials about
a specific threat to his safety. Pope v.
Shafer, 86 F.3d 90, 92 (7th Cir. 1996). In other words,
Defendants had to know that there was a substantial risk that
Plaintiff would be attacked, yet fail to take any action.
See Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 733-34
(7th Cir. 2001). Conduct that amounts to negligence or
inadvertence is not enough to state a claim.
Pinkston, 440 F.3d at 889 (discussing Watts v.
Laurent, 774 F.2d 168, 172 (7th Cir. 1985)).
Plaintiff has alleged that his cellmate posed a threat to him
because his cellmate did not want a roommate. Both Plaintiff
and his cellmate made comments and wrote requests to the
defendants apprising them that Armfield would attack
Plaintiff if not moved. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants did
not respond to these communications, other than to tell
Plaintiff to refuse housing. They took no action. On these