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Augusta v. Waggoner

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 24, 2018

QUENNEL T. AUGUSTA, #K-81797,, Plaintiff,
v.
STEPHANIE WAGGONER, JOHN DOE, JOHN BALDWIN, and BRUCE RAUNER,, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN, DISTRICT JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         Plaintiff Quennel Augusta brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-2680. His Second Amended Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. (Doc. 18). In it, Plaintiff alleges that he was injured at Vandalia Correctional Center (“Vandalia”) while moving property boxes onto a trailer. (Doc. 18, pp. 5-13). He blames the defendants for forcing him to move the boxes in wet conditions without any protective gear. Id. Plaintiff brings claims against them for cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment and for the denial of equal protection of the law under the Fourteenth Amendment. Id. He seeks monetary relief. (Doc. 18, p. 14).

         The Second Amended Complaint is now subject to review 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.

Id. 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 in the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009). Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint does not survive screening under this standard and shall be dismissed.

         Second Amended Complaint

         In September or October 2017, Plaintiff injured his leg at Vandalia. (Doc. 18, pp. 5-13). Several inmates were moving to the prison's work camp on a rainy day. Id. Stephanie Waggoner and another unknown staff member (“John Doe”) ordered Plaintiff to help the inmates move their property boxes onto a wet trailer. Id. While stepping off the trailer, Plaintiff slipped and fell on the rusted bumper. (Doc. 18, pp. 5-6). He lost a “chun[k] of meat” from his leg and “lots of blood.” Id.

         Plaintiff's injuries were treated without any alleged delay. (Doc. 18, pp. 6-7). He received ten stitches in his leg. (Doc. 18, p. 6). However, he continues to suffer from pain when walking. Id.

         Plaintiff blames Waggoner and Doe for his injuries. (Doc. 18, p. 6). He states that they denied him protective gear while forcing him to move heavy boxes in the rain. Id. Plaintiff characterizes their conduct as negligence, torture, cruel and unusual punishment, and a denial of equal protection. (Doc. 18, pp. 6-8).

         Discussion

         Plaintiff reasserts three of the four claims from his First Amended Complaint ...


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