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Villagran v. Williams

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 19, 2018

MICHAEL ASAD VILLAGRAN, #834583, and Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Michāel Villāgrān, a detainee at Chester Mental Health Center (“CHMC”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that the defendants retaliated against him in violation of his First Amendment rights for statements he made to another detainee. (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 allow this case to proceed past the threshold stage.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his Complaint (Doc. 1): Plaintiff advised a patient, Jesse Morrise, that “it is not wise to continue speaking to certain (STA's) that work the modules.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). He used Defendant Bruce Williams as an example, claiming that he “becomes vindictive, belligerent, antagonizing, [and] harassing towards patients.” Id. Plaintiff stated that he has witnessed Williams being argumentative, annoying, and cranky, with bouts of aggression, child-like emotional behavior and manners, and weak intimidation tactics. Id. He also stated that Williams' supervisors and co-workers allow him to behave this way because he has had his job for approximately 20 years. Id.

         Williams was eavesdropping on this conversation during which Plaintiff told Morrise to “deal with problematic staff” by filing a complaint, keeping cool, remaining unaggressive, not being argumentative, and not letting them get to him. Id. Plaintiff told Morrise that the staff has “patients in a 4-point restraint when patients are most vulnerable, defenseless, [and] unable to protect themselves from retaliation, violence, attack, aggression, [and] corporal punishment from [staff] who become their tormenters.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). The rest of the staff turns a blind eye to this behavior, or allows it and laughs or smirks “like nothing serious has happened.” Id. “It is well known amongst them and patients alike that nothing will change.” Id. Plaintiff cited to “cover ups, denials, retaliation, [and] retribution if you dare speak out for patients and staff alike.” Id. He stated that the administration does not hold staff accountable for this behavior. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Bruce Williams and Will Miller retaliated against Plaintiff, D. Lawrence, and J. Morrise after Williams overheard Plaintiff's conversation with Morrise, in that “they only picked [their] 3 rooms to be shaken down and took items out of [their] rooms.” Id. They then sent Ms. Jama Klausin to speak with Plaintiff, Lawrence, and Morrise, and she tried to “mislead, undermine, intimidate, discourage, [and] discredit [them] on the true nature of the rules and from voicing [their] concerns.” Id.


         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to designate a single count in this pro se action. The parties and the Court will use this designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The ...

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