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Lisle v. Davis

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

June 11, 2018

STEVEN D. LISLE, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER DAVIS, et al., et al. Defendants.

          MERIT REVIEW OPINION

          SUE E. MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff filed this case pro se from his incarceration in Pontiac Correctional Center. The case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.[1] This statute requires the Court to review a complaint filed by a prisoner to identify the cognizable claims and to dismiss part or all of the complaint if no claim is stated.

         In reviewing the Complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to "'state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'" Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(quoted cite omitted).

         Plaintiff alleges that, on November 22, 2017, Correctional Officers Davis and Smith used excessive force against Plaintiff and refused to provide Plaintiff medical care for the injuries Plaintiff suffered from the excessive force. Correctional Officer Thorson failed to intervene to stop the excessive force and also refused to obtain medical care for Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that these actions and inactions were taken in retaliation for Plaintiff's grievances and prior complaints about assaults.

         These allegations state plausible constitutional claims for excessive force, failure to intervene, failure to provide medical attention, and retaliation. The Defendants implicated in one or more of these claims are Defendants Smith, Davis, and Thorson. Plaintiff contends that the Warden, Assistant Wardens, and Grievance Officer are responsible for the excessive force because Plaintiff had earlier filed grievances or told these Defendants about prior assaults by Defendant Smith and Davis. However, these allegations are too conclusory to plausibly state a claim that the Warden, Assistant Wardens, and Grievance Officer were actually aware of a substantial risk of serious harm to Plaintiff by Officers Smith and Davis. The attachments to Plaintiff's Complaint show that Plaintiff has made and continues to make frequent allegations of assault by many different officers at Pontiac. Allegations alone would not give the Warden, Assistant Warden, or Grievance Officer notice that Plaintiff was, in reality, at a substantial risk of future assault by officers.

         A review of Plaintiff's litigation history shows that Plaintiff has filed at least 15 cases in the Central District of Illinois since 2017, many of those cases involving alleged excessive force. Plaintiff is advised that costs may be assessed against him if Defendants win this case, which could affect Plaintiff's ability to proceed in forma pauperis in future cases until he has paid the costs. Sanctions may also be assessed if the Court determines that Plaintiff's allegations are knowingly false. Additionally, the Court cannot allow its time to be monopolized by one Plaintiff, given the Court's heavy caseload and hundreds of other prisoner civil rights cases also deserving attention.

         IT IS ORDERED:

         1) Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court finds that Plaintiff states plausible constitutional claims for excessive force, failure to intervene, failure to provide medical attention, and retaliation. The Defendants implicated in one or more of these claims are Defendants Smith, Davis, and Thorson. This case proceeds solely on the claims identified in this paragraph. Any additional claims shall not be included in the case, except at the Court's discretion on motion by a party for good cause shown or pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.

         2) All other claims and Defendants are dismissed without prejudice.

         3) This case is now in the process of service. Plaintiff is advised to wait until counsel has appeared for Defendants before filing any motions, in order to give Defendants notice and an opportunity to respond to those motions. Motions filed before Defendants' counsel has filed an appearance will generally be denied as premature. Plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the Court at this time, unless otherwise directed by the Court.

         4) The Court will attempt service on Defendants by mailing each Defendant a waiver of service. Defendants have 60 days from the date the waiver is sent to file an Answer. If Defendants have not filed Answers or appeared through counsel within 90 days of the entry of this order, Plaintiff may file a motion requesting the status of service. After Defendants have been served, the Court will enter an order setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.

         5) With respect to a Defendant who no longer works at the address provided by Plaintiff, the entity for whom that Defendant worked while at that address shall provide to the Clerk said Defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said Defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be used only for effectuating service. Documentation of forwarding addresses shall be retained only by the Clerk and shall not be maintained in the public docket nor disclosed by the Clerk.

         6) Defendants shall file an answer within 60 days of the date the waiver is sent by the Clerk. A motion to dismiss is not an answer. The answer should include all defenses appropriate under the Federal Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings shall be to the issues and claims stated in this Opinion. In general, an answer sets forth Defendants' positions. The Court does not rule on the merits of those positions unless and until a motion is filed by Defendants. Therefore, no response to the answer is necessary or will be considered.

         7) This District uses electronic filing, which means that, after Defense counsel has filed an appearance, Defense counsel will automatically receive electronic notice of any motion or other paper filed by Plaintiff with the Clerk. Plaintiff does not need to mail to Defense counsel copies of motions and other papers that Plaintiff has filed with the Clerk. However, this does not apply to discovery requests and responses. Discovery requests and responses are not filed with the Clerk. Plaintiff must mail his discovery requests and responses directly to Defendants' counsel. Discovery requests or responses sent to the Clerk will be returned unfiled, unless they are attached to and the subject of a ...


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