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Jones. v. Hence

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 11, 2018

GEORGE JONES, JR., #R56224, Plaintiff,


          MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff George Jones, Jr., an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights that allegedly occurred at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”). In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims the defendants retaliated against him and subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the First and Eighth Amendments. (Doc. 1). 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 allow this case to proceed past the threshold stage.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: on August 9, 2015 while he was incarcerated at Lawrence, Plaintiff filed a grievance against C/O Navarrete after he called Plaintiff a racially charged name. (Doc. 1, p. 7). On September 5, 2015, C/O Navarrete called Plaintiff to the control bubble and confronted Plaintiff about writing grievances. Id. Plaintiff told him that he did not want any problems, and Navarrete responded that Plaintiff should have thought of that before he wrote a grievance against him. Id.

         Navarrete sent Plaintiff back to the deck, where he saw Plaintiff retrieve an oatmeal pie. Id. Navarrete called Plaintiff to the bubble again and asked him for the oatmeal pie. Id. Plaintiff refused, and Navarrete took no further action at that time. Id. After day room ended and the chow line was called, each of the inmates' doors opened except for Plaintiff's. Id. Plaintiff asked other inmates to tell Navarrete and the lieutenant that his door did not open. Id. Once the chow line returned, Navarrete and Lieutenant Wheeler came to Plaintiff's door, and Navarrete told him that he should think next time before he writes a grievance on an officer. Id. Lieutenant Wheeler also added that the next time an officer asks Plaintiff for something, he had better give it to him. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         On September 9, when the doors began to open for chow, Lieutenant Buchner told Plaintiff to get into his cell. Id. Plaintiff asked him what the problem was, and he responded: “You [mess] with my officers, you [mess] with me.” Id. Plaintiff told him that he had not done anything to anyone, and Buchner replied that Navarrete told him about Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff was not allowed to go to chow that day. Id. On September 10, 2015 during lockdown, C/O McFarland opened chuckholes while C/O Navarrete passed out trays. Id. When Navarrete got to Plaintiff's cell, he told C/O McFarland not to open Plaintiff's chuckhole. Id. Plaintiff did not get dinner that day. Id. On September 30, 2015, Plaintiff filed three grievances against C/O Navarrete, Lieutenant Wheeler, Lieutenant Buchner, and C/O McFarland. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff's grievances were denied by the counselor and the grievance officer. (Doc. 1, p. 8). On May 2, 2016, after Plaintiff appealed the denial to the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”), the Acting Director also denied it. Id.

         On November 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed a grievance against three internal affairs officers, Hough, Molehour, [1] and Dewesse after he was approached by them about writing grievances against other officers. Id. They told Plaintiff that he looks good in a brown jump suit, and Molehour told him to stop writing grievances. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Molehour added that “if something was to happen to you we might or might now know who did it or how it happened.” Id. Plaintiff's grievance was never answered. Id.

         In mid-November, internal affairs officers Harper and Hence visited Plaintiff's cell, told his cellmate to get out, and questioned Plaintiff about the outcome of grievances he wrote against other officers in 2015. Id. Plaintiff told them that he never got a response, and Hence told him to stop lying. Id. Harper added: “Your [sic] going to find yourself in a situation. What if something was to happen to you then what?” Id. On November 29, 2016, Plaintiff filed a grievance against them, but he never received a response. Id. Plaintiff filed a second grievance against Harper on November 29, 2016 in response to Harper confronting him on November 23, 2016. Id. That day, Harper told Plaintiff that he gave him a fair warning but that ...

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