United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Michael Alexander, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Western Illinois Correctional Center (“Western”),
brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff claims that prison officials
subjected him to excessive force at Pinckneyville
Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”) in 2017.
(Doc. 1, pp. 8-12). He brings claims against the officials
under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 1, p. 13).
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, several correctional
officers used excessive force against Plaintiff at
Pinckneyville on or around August 13, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
Plaintiff was involved in a fight with another inmate on that
date. Id. He sought medical treatment for a bloody
nose. Id. While in the prison's healthcare unit
(“HCU”), Officer Urouski attempted to interview
Plaintiff about the fight. Id. Plaintiff was
unwilling to speak with the officer, so Officer Urouski ended
the interview. Id.
Walls entered the room in order to escort Plaintiff back to
his cell. (Doc. 1, p. 9). When Plaintiff rose from the gurney
where he had been sitting, Lieutenant Walls snatched him by
the cuffs and pulled down hard, as if he was “trying to
break [Plaintiff's] wrists.” Id. The
lieutenant said, “[Y]ou move when I say move.”
Id. Lieutenant Walls then contacted Lieutenant
Pierce and asked him to meet Plaintiff and Walls behind the
maintenance building. Id.
Lieutenant Pierce met Lieutenant Walls behind the building,
he asked Plaintiff, “[W]hat's up guy, why you
giving Lt. Walls trouble?” (Doc. 1, p. 9). Lieutenant
Pierce told Plaintiff that Lieutenant Walls is
“alright” because he is a fishing buddy.
Id. Plaintiff said, “I could give a fuck
less.” Id. Plaintiff then informed Lieutenant
Pierce that he did not know Lieutenant Walls, but reminded
Lieutenant Pierce that “they” had history. (Doc.
1, p. 10).
Walls responded to this statement by snatching
Plaintiff's cuffs and pulling them up fast, as though he
was “intentionally trying to hurt the Plaintiff.”
(Doc. 1, pp. 9-10). The cuffs cut into Plaintiff's wrists
and caused him to scream. (Doc. 1, p. 10). When Plaintiff
asked Lieutenant Walls why he was hurting him, the lieutenant
said, “[Y]ou ain't seen nothing yet.”
Id. At that, the lieutenant attempted to trip
Plaintiff as he walked through the door to segregation.
Id. He then kicked Plaintiff so hard that he broke
the skin on Plaintiff's leg and caused him to fall
face-first into a chair. Id.
Martin was present at the time and attempted to use his hand
to exert pressure behind Plaintiff's right ear. (Doc. 1,
p. 10). Lieutenant Walls then used his knees and fists to hit
Plaintiff in the ribs, back, and hips. Id. At the
time, Lieutenant Pierce, Officer Byrd, and Officer Hill were
present, but they did not intervene. Id.
the incident, Officer Martin picked Plaintiff up off the
floor and escorted him to the shower. (Doc. 1, p. 12).
Officer Martin told Plaintiff that Lieutenant Walls had just
received bad news about his brother and took out his
frustrations on Plaintiff. Id. The officer told
Plaintiff that he did not deserve the beating. Id.
Plaintiff's cuffs were removed, Plaintiff noticed that
his wrists were bleeding, and he had “deep
tissue” bruising. (Doc. 1, pp. 11-12). He saw Nurse
Ferrari passing out medication, and he asked her for medical
attention. Id. She stated that she already treated
him for his injuries in the HCU. Id. Plaintiff told
the nurse that he needed treatment for new injuries, and she
documented the new injuries to his ribs, wrists, and thighs.
Id. Plaintiff alleges that he still suffers from
shoulder pain and headaches as a result of the incident on
August 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 11).
also requested mental health treatment following the
incident. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Kara Ratoshik met with him.
Id. When Plaintiff told her that he feared for his
safety, she placed him on a 15-minute watch for five days.
Id. He complains of his on-going struggles with