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Stout v. Jaimet

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 27, 2018

GREGORY STOUT, # Y-19267, Plaintiff,


          Herndon, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff was incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”), at the time he brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He recently notified the Court that he is out of prison and residing at the Centerstone facility in Marion, Illinois. (Doc. 8). Plaintiff claims that Defendants maintained a hazardous condition on the Pinckneyville grounds which caused injury to him. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint 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. § 1915A(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. § 1915A(b).

         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 “no reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.” 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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts “should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements.” Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         After fully considering the allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint, the Court concludes that this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff was incarcerated at Pinckneyville in February 2017. He regularly exercised by jogging outdoors during his yard and recreation time. (Doc. 1, p. 4). While jogging in the #4 yard, Plaintiff tripped several times on metal objects that were in the grass. Plaintiff wrote to Warden Jaimet and to Assistant Warden Love, and to a counselor, about removing the metal objects from the #4 yard. Id. However, Plaintiff's request slips and grievances were never answered, and nothing was done to address the problem. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         On November 4, 2017, Plaintiff tripped again over one of the metal objects in the #4 yard. This time, he fell and broke his leg. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff filed grievances in November and December 2017 over the metal objects, but again, never received any response. Plaintiff wrote the counselor one more time about the problem. The counselor told Plaintiff that he “would have to file a lawsuit because all the request slips and grievances [Plaintiff] wrote to both Wardens have been filed in the round filing cabinet ‘trash can.'” (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         Plaintiff asserts that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his safety because they “knew and refused to fix the metal objects in the rec yard” that caused his injury. (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. Id.

         Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to characterize the pro se action in 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. The designation of this count does not constitute an opinion as to its merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed without prejudice.

Count 1: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Jaimet and Love, for failing to remove protruding metal objects from the #4 yard after Plaintiff informed them of the hazard.

         Count 1 shall be dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a constitutional ...

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