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Lockhart v. Baldwin

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

June 14, 2018

IAN LOCKHART, Plaintiff,
JOHN BALDWIN, et al., Defendants.



         The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, and currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center (“Pontiac”), was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The case is now before the court for a merit review of plaintiff's claims. The court is required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to “screen” the plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         In reviewing the complaint, the court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in the 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)(citation omitted). The court has reviewed the complaint and has also held a merit review hearing in order to give the plaintiff a chance to personally explain his claims to the court.

         Plaintiff filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that, while he was incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center, correctional officers harassed and intimidated him because he refused to act as a gang informant, that he was transferred to Pontiac in retaliation, and that the Adjustment Committee at Stateville violated his procedural due process rights.

         Plaintiff also alleges that, while at Pontiac, other inmates routinely attacked him with a liquid mixture of human waste and hair removal products. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Prentice, Corley, Pina, and Berlanga refused him showers and medical care after the attacks. Plaintiff alleges a six-day delay in receiving treatment, and, once examined, Defendant Ojelaide refused to order tests to test for disease. Defendant Ojelaide prescribed Tylenol and referred plaintiff to an eye care professional. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Baldwin, Melvin, Cox, Weaver and Knauer denied grievances, and Defendants Jane and John Does put plaintiff in administrative detention for 90 days. Plaintiff alleges administrative detention was just like segregation, but he does not describe the actual conditions.

         Plaintiff's claims against the Stateville officials should be severed and transferred to the Northern District of Illinois pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Plaintiff's claims against Stateville officials are separate claims that occurred entirely within that district.

         Plaintiff states a claim for inhumane conditions of confinement at Pontiac against Defendants Prentice, Corley, Pina, and Berlanga for the alleged exposure to human waste. Plaintiff arguably states a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need against Defendant Ojelade. Petties v. Carter, 836 F.3d 722, 729-30 (7th Cir. 2016) (en banc).

         Plaintiff does not state a claim against the John Doe Medical Director, nor does plaintiff state a claim for the alleged denial of grievances. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009) (no respondeat superior in § 1983 cases); George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 609 (7th Cir. 2007) (ruling against prisoner in a grievance does not, by itself, state a constitutional claim). Plaintiff does not provide enough information regarding the conditions he endured in administrative detention to state a claim.


         1. Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court finds that the plaintiff states an Eighth Amendment claims for conditions of confinement against Defendants Prentice, Corley, Pina and Berlanga, and for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need against Defendant Ojelade. 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. This case is now in the process of service. The plaintiff is advised to wait until counsel has appeared for the defendants before filing any motions, in order to give the 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. The plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the court at this time, unless otherwise directed by the court.

         3. The court will attempt service on the defendants by mailing each defendant a waiver of service. The defendants have 60 days from the date the waiver is sent to file an answer. If the defendants have not filed answers or appeared through counsel within 90 days of the entry of this order, the plaintiff may file a motion requesting the status of service. After the defendants have been served, the court will enter an order setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.

         4. With respect to a defendant who no longer works at the address provided by the 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.

         5. The 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 the defendants' positions. The court does not rule on the merits of those positions unless ...

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