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Rice v. Poe

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 12, 2018

JEREMIAH RICE, Plaintiff,
v.
POE, OSBORNE, WINANS, MCCARTY, ROSENBERGER, STEPHANIE WAGGONER, MICHAEL REDMAN, and CHRISTOPHER WEABER Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Herndon, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Jeremiah Rice, an inmate in Danville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that occurred at Vandalia Correctional Center. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         However, review of Plaintiff's Complaint reveals that he has attempted to improperly join certain claims. Thus, prior to proceeding with review of this case pursuant to § 1915A, the Court will sever certain claims into a separate case pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 21 and George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007).

         The Complaint

         On April 1, 2017, Plaintiff had low blood sugar, which made him incoherent, lethargic, and unresponsive. (Doc. 1, p. 7). While transporting Plaintiff to the Health Care Unit (“HCU”), defendant Poe pushed Plaintiff from behind, and tightly handcuffed him, cutting off his circulation and causing numbness and pain. Id. Poe then took Plaintiff to the yard office, where he threw him down, placed his knee on Plaintiff's back, choked him, and yelled expletives. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Defendant Winans was present and failed to intervene. Id. Winans also told Plaintiff he would drug and bury Plaintiff in segregation if he reported the assault. Id.

         Plaintiff's family called the Vandalia Police Department and reported the April 1st assault. (Doc. 1, p. 12). The police department inquired at the prison, and immediately after, Plaintiff was taken to segregation, where he stayed from April 1, 2017 through June 28, 2017. Id. Defendant Osborne issued Plaintiff a disciplinary report because of the report made to the police department. (Doc. 1, pp. 12-13). This disciplinary report cited Plaintiff for interfering or impeding with an investigation and giving false information to an employee. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Plaintiff was denied the opportunity to be heard or present evidence at his May 5, 2017 adjustment committee hearing. Id. Defendant Redman found him guilty without calling any of Plaintiff's witnesses. Id. Plaintiff was sentenced to 90 days in segregation, 90 days of C-grade, and the revocation of 90 days good time credit, and a disciplinary transfer. Id. Plaintiff appealed, but the Warden denied his appeal. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Plaintiff alleges that defendant Waggoner refused to provide protection to Plaintiff after he filed a complaint against prison staff in retaliation for his First Amendment conduct. (Doc. 1, p. 16). As a result, Plaintiff was retaliated against. Id.

         On April 21, 2017, Plaintiff requested a jacket from Sgt. Rosenberger while he was being transported. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff expressed concern because it was cold. Id. In response, Rosenberger slammed Plaintiff down into the floor of the medical van, causing upper back and neck pain. Id. Defendant McCarty drove the van at high speeds while Plaintiff was face-down on the floor, causing further pain. Id.

         On May 10, 2017, Plaintiff was returning from the HCU, when he encountered Lt. Osborne. (Doc. 1, p. 14). Plaintiff stated “good job with the investigation.” Id. Osborne then wrote Plaintiff a false disciplinary report for intimidation, threats, and disobeying a direct order. Id. Plaintiff was found guilty by the adjustment committee on May 11, 2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 14-15). He was sentenced to revocation of 30 days of good time credit. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Plaintiff alleges that the guilty verdict was based on the officer's report without any testimonial evidence by any of the officers that allegedly witnessed the incident. Id.

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into 7 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 following claims will proceed together in this litigation:

Count 1 - Poe and Winans used excessive force and/or failed to intervene in the use of excessive force on Plaintiff on April 1, 2017 in violation of the Eighth Amendment;
Count 2 - Poe and Winans were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's injuries sustained during the excessive force incident and failed to secure him medical treatment on April 1, 2017 in violation of the Eighth Amendment;
Count 3 - Osborne, Redman, and Waggoner retaliated against Plaintiff for reporting the alleged April 1st assault by writing a false disciplinary ticket and finding him guilty in violation of the First Amendment;
Count 4 - Redman, Weaber, and Waggoner denied Plaintiff his due process rights during the hearings on his disciplinary tickets in ...

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