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Luster v. Baldwin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 15, 2018

DONTAE LUSTER, #M2366, Plaintiff,
v.
DIRECTOR JOHN BALDWIN, ASSISTANT DEPUTY DIRECTOR ATKINS, JEFF DENNISON, ASSISTANT WARDEN CAMPBELL, ASSISTANT WARDEN WALKER, and UNKNOWN PARTY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HERNDON, DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Dontae Luster, an inmate at Shawnee Correctional Center (“Shawnee”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims his constitutional rights have been violated in various ways, including through unconstitutional conditions of confinement and an inadequate grievance procedure at Shawnee. (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). 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).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         The Complaint

          In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: on November 1, 2011, the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) Director Godinez signed a consent decree that designated Shawnee as a medium security facility. (Doc. 1, p. 6). “To this day, Shawnee C.C. is [run] as a ‘punishment prison' where the prisoner housed there is treated to harsher conditions of confinement to arbitrarily punish that Medium classified prisoner without legal right or justification by law.” Id. At Shawnee, prisoners are subjected to “harsher conditions of confinement.” Id.

         Shawnee does not have an E-file system in place to enable inmates' access to the federal courts. Id. “Prison policy is to make the prisoner spend as much money as possible on copies, postage, and writing supplies . . . to deter the First Amendment activity of seeking federal review of IDOC policies at Shawnee.” Id.

         “Yard time is denied and cut short” so that it falls below 5 to 7 hours per week. Id. Gym lines are also cut to thirty minutes per line. Id.

         The kitchen is dirty. (Doc. 1, p. 7). There are no steam tables on the serving line and no heaters to keep food hot. Id. There is also no hot water to wash trays, cups, and sporks used to feed the inmate population. Id. Food is also stored and served at room temperature. Id. Servers and cooks wear “dirty state blues” rather than “whites” and do not wear beard nets. Id. Food is served by hand by prisoner line workers. Id. The kitchen is run this way to retaliate and punish and “to impose harsher conditions of confinement on the prisoner population.” Id.

         Windows in certain units are broken and sealed shut with screws in the winter months, subjecting prisoners to cells with no ventilation. Id. Heaters ...


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