United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
James Huff, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently
incarcerated at Western Illinois Correctional Center
(“Western”), brings this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff's
claims relate to his prior incarceration at Menard
Correctional Center (“Menard”). According to the
Complaint, officials violated Plaintiff's constitutional
rights by subjecting him to cruel and unusual conditions of
confinement and by acting with deliberate indifference to his
health and safety. More specifically, Plaintiff claims that
Menard's drinking water was contaminated with lead and
otherwise “tainted, ” endangering his present and
future health and safety.
matter is now before the Court for a preliminary 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
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.
was housed at Menard from approximately 1997 through December
2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 7, 9). According to the Complaint and
attached exhibits, at some point during his incarceration at
Menard, Plaintiff was suffering from recurring H. pylori
bacterial infections. (Doc. 1, pp. 9, 17). In approximately
November 2016, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Trost (not a
defendant in this action). Id. Dr. Trost told
Plaintiff his recurrent infections “came from the
tainted water and the lead piping system, which was
dissolving into the water.” (Doc. 1, p. 17). He also
told Plaintiff to try to avoid drinking Menard's water.
(Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff “immediately” filed an
emergency grievance; however, the grievance went unanswered.
(Doc. 1, pp. 9, 17). In November 2017, Plaintiff filed a
second grievance. Id. In that grievance, Plaintiff
inquired about that status of his first grievance and
reiterated concerns about contaminated water at Menard. (Doc.
1, p. 17). Approximately one month later, Plaintiff was
transferred to Western.
now claims that officials at Menard were deliberately
indifferent to his health and safety, as well as the health
and safety of all prisoners, “by failing to replace
their lead piping system where the lead is and has been for
decades, dissolving into the water.” (Doc. 1, p. 6).
Plaintiff claims that lead pipes were “banned in the
U.S. decades ago, ” violate the Environmental
Protection Agency's standards, and are known to cause
“cancers, bacterias [sic], viruses, infections,
diseases, and many other illnesses.” (Doc. 1, p. 8).
connection with this claims, Plaintiff has named the
Current and Former Wardens
• Jacqueline Lashbrook - Assistant Warden/Warden, 2014
to the present
• Kimberly Butler - Former Warden, 2014 - 2016
• John Does 1-3 - Unknown Former Wardens, “early
and mid 2000s”
• Page - Former Warden, 1990-2000
Current and Former IDOC Directors
• John Baldwin - IDOC Director
• Donald Stolworthy - Former IDOC ...