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Brokaw v. Tucker

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 11, 2018

BENJAMIN JOHN BROKAW, #859107, Plaintiff,
v.
ERICH TUCKER, RUSSEL HECK, and DAVE HUNTER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Benjamin Brokaw, an inmate at Chester Mental Health Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. Specifically, Plaintiff claims the defendants subjected him to excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment and violated his due process rights. (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): in spring or early summer 2017, while he was incarcerated at Chester Mental Health Center, Plaintiff was “beaten in the stomach [and] penis while in four point restraints by Erich Tucker [and] Dave Hunter in violation of the Eighth Amendment.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). Russel Heck investigated the incident and took a statement and photographs that showed visible bruising. Id. Plaintiff's claim was found unsubstantiated nonetheless. Id. Plaintiff requests monetary damages. (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into 2 counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion regarding their merit.

Count 1 - Defendants Tucker and Hunter subjected Plaintiff to excessive force in spring or early summer 2017, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Count 2 - Defendant Heck took Plaintiff's statement and photographed his injuries after he was subjected to excessive force, and Plaintiff's claim was found unsubstantiated nonetheless, in ...

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