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Garcia v. Baldwin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 29, 2018

CARLOS H. GARCIA, #M41479, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN BALDWIN, SANDRA FUNK, MIKE FUNK, JOHN/JANE DOE, and JEFFREY MOLENHOUR, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Carlos Garcia, an inmate at 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”). Plaintiff claims the defendants have failed to protect him from a sexual assault, discriminated against him based on his sexual orientation, and punished and suppressed his speech in violation of the Eighth, Fourteenth, and First 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). 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

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his Complaint (Doc. 1): Plaintiff is a member of the LGBTQ community who was raped by a member of an Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) Latino Security Threat Group. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff remains at “very high risk of being brutally assaulted or/and violently raped.” Id. Defendants Doe, Molenhour, and M. Funk “were each presumably placed on notice that Plaintiff had been brutally assaulted and raped.” (Doc. 1, p. 7). However, because of his membership in IDOC's LGBTQ community, they failed or refused to meaningfully intervene by implementing preventative or corrective measures. (Doc. 1, p. 8). These defendants mishandled the facts surrounding Plaintiff's assault and rape. Id. Plaintiff was also found ineligible for placement in protective custody. Id.

         Defendants Baldwin, S. Funk, M. Funk, and Molenhour have a “practice of punishing ‘out, loud, and proud' gay men by knowingly placing them in living situations where they're at an increased likelihood of physical assault and/or violent rape.” (Doc. 1, p. 11). They also have a practice of “ignoring risk screening information to determine housing, bed, work, education, and program assignments, with the goal of keeping those inmates at high risk of being sexually victimized separate from those at high risk of being sexually abusive.” Id. The actions of these defendants resulted in Plaintiff's assault, which has left him feeling as if he is “going crazy, disrupted, overwhelmed, and unable to cope.” (Doc. 1, pp. 11-12).

         Defendants M. Funk, Doe, and Molenhour discriminated against Plaintiff because he is gay. (Doc. 1, p. 14). These defendants “are fully aware that their token investigatory measures and perfunctory administrative proceedings have not (and will not) resolve either purposeful gender discrimination, or the disproportionate impact on members of the LGBTQ community, yet they persist unimpeded in their unlawfulness.” (Doc. 1, pp. 14-15). Plaintiff requests declaratory, monetary, and permanent injunctive relief. (Doc. 1, pp. 10, 12, 16, 18)

         Discussion

         The Court will adhere to the 3 Counts designated by the Plaintiff in this pro se action, as articulated below. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion regarding their merit.

         Count 1 - First Amendment claim against Defendants Doe, Molenhour, and M. Funk for placing Plaintiff in a dangerous housing situation and failing to implement corrective measures to protect Plaintiff after he was ...


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