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Bohn v. Dugdale

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 12, 2018

JONATHAN W. BOHN, # 08570-025, Plaintiff,
LT. DUGDALE, and DR. SEARS, Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court for a preliminary merits review of the Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 16) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The original Complaint was dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (Doc. 7). Plaintiff then filed a First Amended Complaint (Doc. 10), but also submitted several piecemeal documents in an attempt to supplement his pleadings. (Docs. 6, 13). The Court gave Plaintiff an opportunity to re-plead his factual allegations in a single document (Doc. 14), and he timely filed his Second Amended Complaint in response. He also submitted motions requesting the Court to recruit counsel for him. (Docs. 18, 19).

         Plaintiff filed this action while he was an inmate in the FCI-Greenville (“Greenville”). He has since been transferred to the USP-Coleman in Florida. (Doc. 17).

         Under § 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         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 “no reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.” 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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts “should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements.” Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Applying these standards, the Court finds that Plaintiff's claim against one Defendant survives threshold review under § 1915A.

         The Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 16)

         While the original Complaint indicated that Plaintiff was attempting to bring a civil rights claim pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), as well as a Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) claim, the Second Amended Complaint contains no mention of a possible FTCA action. It shall therefore be considered as a Bivens claim only.

         Plaintiff claims that Lt. Dugdale and Dr Sears (Greenville psychologist) failed to secure his safety, because they did not find a razor which had been left in a Greenville suicide-watch room where Plaintiff was placed in August 22 and 23, 2017. (Doc. 16, pp. 5, 9). Plaintiff found the razor, and used it to slice his wrist 6 times.

         When Plaintiff was initially placed on suicide watch on August 22, 2017, he alleges that the room “was cleared and secured by Lt. Dugdale and Dr. Sears[.] The razor was in said watch room during and after the search.” (Doc. 16, p. 9). The next day (August 23), Lt. Dugdale performed another search of Plaintiff and the room. At that time Dugdale “overlooked the razor that was in plain view on top of the mattress, 2 feet from him.” Id. Dugdale then left the room and secured Plaintiff inside. Plaintiff notes that the search was recorded on video.

         Around 40 minutes later, Plaintiff used the razor to slice his wrist. Id. The attached incident report and health records note that Plaintiff's injuries were discovered within 15-20 minutes, and he was treated for “superficial” lacerations on his wrist and hand. (Doc. 16, pp. 11, 14).

         In his appeal of a disciplinary action arising from the suicide attempt, Plaintiff maintained that he did not bring the razor into the cell, but that it had been left there by someone else. (Doc. 16, p. 12).

         Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an order sending him to “a medical facility under psych care & evaluation.” (Doc. 16, p. 6).

         Included within the Second Amended Complaint is a page entitled “Motion, ” in which Plaintiff seeks an order releasing video footage of the incident and other related evidence which he has been unable to obtain. (Doc. 16, p. 8). The Clerk shall be ...

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