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Martin v. Lashbrook

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 21, 2018

FRANK MARTIN, #M52427, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Frank Martin, an inmate at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that the defendants failed to protect him from another inmate and harassed him in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (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 was moved into a cell with inmate Calvin Gaines, who was transferred to Menard after a history of inmate assaults at previous facilities. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Gaines told the sergeant who placed him in the cell that he was on single cell status. Id. The sergeant told him to “‘do him a favor” and let Plaintiff stay. Id. “From that day [Plaintiff] was living under threats of violence.” Id. Gaines was under psychiatric care for violence and “impossible to cell with despite everything [Plaintiff] tried to do to get along with him.” Id. Plaintiff asked for help repeatedly from multiple people. Id. Plaintiff told Defendant Pappas, and she told Plaintiff that she was familiar with Gaines and his history. Id. She recommended that Plaintiff stand up to Gaines. Id.

         Defendant Vasquez did a gallery tour and told Gaines that he put him in for a transfer. Id. He was not transferred, though, and his “his hostility and anger grew exponentially.” Id. Plaintiff told “psych doctor ‘Val'” about the situation, but he did not provide Plaintiff with any advice. Id.

         Plaintiff was called to “IA” about an incident on the ward. Id. IA Bridges conducted the interview. Id. Plaintiff told him about his cell situation and that he needed help. Bridges told Plaintiff that he could move him in about two weeks, and Plaintiff told him that he would try to “hold out that long.” Id. After that, “[c]onditions rapidly deteriorated. [Plaintiff] couldn't even get down from [his] bunk without a confrontation.” Id.

         Plaintiff sent a letter to Defendant Samuel on May 20, 2016. Id. Plaintiff also told Defendant Stineson what was going on and asked him to be moved. Id. Stineson told Plaintiff that he had to get into a fight with Gaines and be sent to segregation. Id. Plaintiff had two other visits with Pappas where he told her that he needed help with his situation, but she told him that she could not help. Id.

         On May 25, 2016, Gaines called Plaintiff a snitch. Id. Gaines packed up his property and told Plaintiff that he “wasn't going to live.” Id. Although corrections officers were unlocking cells for showers, Gaines told Plaintiff that he would not be going to the shower. Id. Gaines grabbed Plaintiff by the neck, pulled him off the top bunk, and slammed his head into the wall. Id. He then hit Plaintiff on the back of the head, rendering him unconscious and “busting [his] head open.” Id. Plaintiff regained consciousness as they were cuffing Gaines. Id. Plaintiff was in pain, dizzy, sick to his stomach, and incoherent. Id.

         Plaintiff was taken to the infirmary, and on the way, Defendant Johnson verbally abused him. Id. While in the infirmary, Plaintiff was subjected to verbal abuse by multiple corrections officers. Id. Plaintiff did not receive an X-ray or MRI. Id. Dr. Trost told the nurse that it was not necessary, despite the fact that Plaintiff knew he had a concussion. Id. Plaintiff told the medical staff that he was ...

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