United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
currently incarcerated at Robinson Correctional Center
(“Robinson”), has brought this pro se
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His
claims arose in January 2017, while he was confined at
Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”). Plaintiff claims that
Defendants knowingly placed him in a cell with a hostile
cellmate, who then physically attacked him. This case is now
before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion
of the Complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks
for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 “no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.”
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. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on
its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations
as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th
Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or
implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a
plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574,
581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts “should not
accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a
cause of action or conclusory legal statements.”
Id. At the same time, however, the factual
allegations of a pro se complaint are to be
liberally construed. See Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d
742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
these standards, the Court finds that some of Plaintiff's
claims survive threshold review under § 1915A.
January 29, 2017, Plaintiff was returning to his cell from a
visit to the Health Care Unit, when he told Lt. Lawless that
he feared for his life. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff said that
his cellmate (Lyles) had been getting aggressive and
threatening to “kick [Plaintiff's] ass.”
Id. C/O Hiller told Plaintiff that he should pack up
his belongings so that he could be moved, and Hiller placed
Plaintiff back in the cell with Lyles. (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 14).
Hiller then walked away, leaving Plaintiff with no security.
Soon thereafter, Lyles attacked and beat Plaintiff.
Id. Plaintiff's injured lip required stitches,
and his right leg was hurt. (Doc. 1, p. 14).
claims that the John Doe #1 Placement Officer (who is not
listed as a Defendant) (Doc. 1, pp. 1-2) housed him in the
cell with Lyles, who was “violent and unstable.”
(Doc. 1, pp. 5-6).
further asserts that Pinckneyville officials have a policy or
practice of refusing to move inmates to a different cell or
into protective custody until the inmate has suffered
physical harm and/or incurred a disciplinary ticket. (Doc. 1,
p. 6). He claims that he put the C/O's named above as
well as the Pinckneyville warden on notice that he needed
protection from the cellmate because of the cellmate's
threats. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as
well as declaratory and injunctive relief. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
the following 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 as
to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the
Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice.
Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against
Lawless and Hiller, for failing to protect Plaintiff from the
January 29, 2017, attack by his cellmate;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim against
Jaimet, Love, and Lashbrook, for failing to protect Plaintiff
from the January 29, 2017, ...