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Hardin v. Illinois Department of Corrections

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 7, 2018

ALEX HARDIN, Plaintiff,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, PINCKNEYVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER, THOMPSON, UNKNOWN PARTY Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          David R. Herndon United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Alex Hardin, an inmate in Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks damages. 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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff received a disciplinary ticket on September 29, 2017 and was brought to segregation as a result. (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). Plaintiff was placed in a shower unit and told to strip naked. Id. Plaintiff refused and asked to speak to Warden Thompson instead. Id. Thompson came to the showers with members of the Orange Crush Tactical Team. (Doc. 1-1, p. 3). Thompson promised to discuss the situation with Plaintiff if he agreed to the strip search. Id. Plaintiff was told to cuff up, and he turned around and cuffed up. Id. As soon as Plaintiff cuffed up, an orange crush tactical team member began yanking on Plaintiff's arms and wrists. (Doc. 1, p. 5). They pulled Plaintiff's arms up forcefully and squeezed the handcuffs tighter, all while pushing Plaintiff's head and neck downwards. Id. These actions were painful to Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff was then marched to a different unit. Id.

         When Plaintiff reached the 5-House A-unit segregation shower, he was forced to strip naked. Id. When Plaintiff did not move fast enough for the Orange Crush Tactical Team member, they began ripping his clothes off, causing further bruises. Id. Plaintiff was stripped searched. Id. An Orange Crush member then escorted Plaintiff down the gallery naked in front of the other inmates. Id. Thompson and Pearce were present. Id. When Plaintiff stopped walking out of embarrassment, his arms were once again yanked above his head and his upper body pushed down, causing pain. Id. Plaintiff was then dragged down the gallery. Id.

         Ultimately, Plaintiff was forced into a cell that had feces on the floor, wall, and toilet, smelled of urine, and had ants, gnats, and spiders. Id. Plaintiff showed Thompson the conditions of the cell, but he just replied, “What's done is done.” (Doc. 1-1, pp. 5-6). Pearce was also present. (Doc. 1-1, p. 6).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into 3 counts. 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 following claims survive threshold review:

Count 1 - Thompson, Pearce, and the Orange Crush Tactical Team members used excessive force on Plaintiff on September 29, 2017 in ...

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