United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
Terrell Dismukes, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Shawnee Correctional Center (“Shawnee”), brings
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff claims that he has been subjected to
unconstitutional conditions of confinement at Shawnee since
he transferred to the facility on January 10, 2018. (Doc. 1,
pp. 5-18). He asserts an Eighth Amendment claim against Shane
Hileman, Brett Neighbors, and Jeffery Dennison. Id.
Plaintiff seeks monetary relief against these individuals.
(Doc. 1, p. 19).
case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the
Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
(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.
2009). The Complaint survives screening under this standard.
to the allegations in the Complaint, Plaintiff transferred to
Shawnee on January 10, 2018. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He filed the
instant Complaint four months later. Id. In it,
Plaintiff alleges that the following officials deliberately
disregarded the unconstitutional conditions of his
confinement at Shawnee, in violation of the Eighth Amendment:
Jeffery Dennison (warden), Shane Hileman (clothing room
supervisor), Brett Neighbors (chief engineer), Karen Smoot
(health administrator), Jane Doe (nurse), and Alfonso David
of background information, Plaintiff explains that he was
initially housed at Vandalia Correctional Center
(“Vandalia”). (Doc. 1, p. 5). According to
statewide policy, each prison is responsible for providing
its inmates with the same basic clothing. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6).
Before transferring to a new facility, inmates are required
to return these items. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Consistent with this
policy, Plaintiff was issued clothing and new boots at
Vandalia, and he returned these items before transferring to
Shawnee. Id. In place of his boots, Plaintiff was
provided with a pair of thin slip-on tennis shoes.
Id. The shoes are typically given to inmates who are
confined to their cells for 23 hours per day with little
exposure to the elements, such as inmates in segregation or
on suicide watch. Id. He assumed that the shoes were
for his temporary use. Id.
arrived at Shawnee on January 10, 2018, Plaintiff received a
bedroll containing two torn and urine-stained sheets. (Doc.
1, p. 5). He was also issued a blanket with holes in it, but
no mattress cover. (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 8). Plaintiff was informed
that he could either wait two years for new items or purchase
them directly from the prison's commissary. (Doc. 1, p.
7). Plaintiff claims that statewide policy entitles inmates
to new sheets, pillows, blankets, mattress covers, boots, gym
shoes, and t-shirts every year. Id.
following day, Shane Hileman issued Plaintiff allegedly
inadequate clothing, including “dirty torn pants,
” two old blue shirts (with missing buttons), and an
old coat (with a broken zipper). (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 8). When
Plaintiff attempted to exchange his slip-on tennis shoes for
a pair of boots, Hileman informed him that no boots would be
issued, but Plaintiff could purchase them in the prison's
commissary. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff was in shock.
Id. He could not believe what he was hearing, given
that it was the month of January. Id. All other
prisons in the state had a policy of issuing new clothing,
but Shawnee inmates only received three new pairs of boxer
shorts, three new pairs of socks, one bath towel, and one
face towel every seven months. Id.
could not afford to purchase any new items. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
As a result, he had to endure “brutal winter
conditions” in the flimsy tennis shoes and inadequate
clothing. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7). Three times each day, he was
required to walk to the chow hall in freezing temperatures.
(Doc. 1, p. 7). The shoes did not keep his feet warm or dry,
particularly during one winter storm and “multiple days
of continuing rain.” Id. Plaintiff could have
suffered from frost bite, but he did not. Id. He
suffered from discomfort associated with wet shoes, wet
weather, and cold temperatures. Id.
January 11, 2018, Plaintiff was transferred into the
prison's general population and placed in Cell 2-C-60.
(Doc. 1, p. 9). The cell was in poor condition. Id.
Paint peeled from the walls and floors. Id. The
windows were broken, and the screens were screwed shut.
Id. Thick plastic bags and duct tape covered them.
(Doc. 1, pp. 9, 16). The vents were covered in rust and dust.
Id. Plaintiff's cell had no hot water and no
mirror. (Doc. 1, p. 10). His top bunk was covered in a thin,
urine- and rust- stained mattress. (Doc. 1, p. 9). To protect
himself from germs and pests in the filthy mattress,
Plaintiff used his blanket as a mattress cover and the two
sheets as a blanket. Id. During the winter months,
he was uncomfortably cold. Id. As the outside
temperatures rose into the 70's in February and March,
however, the cell became unbearably hot. (Doc. 1, pp. 10,
16). This is largely because Warden Dennison and Chief
Engineer Neighbors decided to turn up the thermostat when
there was no air circulation due to the clogged vents.
Id. Inmates began using their property boxes to
break the screws on the screened windows in order to get
fresh air. Id. Plaintiff suffered from breathing
entire wing was plagued with similar problems. (Doc. 1, p.
10). There was no running water on the top deck. Id.
The toilets in the dayroom were broken and filled to the brim
with feces “for months.” Id. Plastic
bags were placed over the tops of the toilets to mask the
smell, but this system failed. Id. The two showers
were filled with peeling paint and mold. (Doc. 1, pp. 11,
14). The rusty shower vents and pipes were clogged, resulting
in poor circulation and “no water pressure.”