United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
David H. Gharrett, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional
Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for deprivations of his constitutional rights that allegedly
occurred at Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”). In his First Amended Complaint,
Plaintiff claims the defendants failed to protect him from a
serious risk of harm at the hands of other inmates in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 7). This case is now
before the Court for a preliminary review of the First
Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Section 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a 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, must be
dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). 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). 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). 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).
careful review of the First Amended Complaint and any
supporting exhibits, the Court finds this case shall proceed.
First Amended Complaint
First Amended Complaint (Doc. 7), Plaintiff makes the
following allegations: on February 19, 2015, Plaintiff's
cellmate, Lason Elliot, told Plaintiff that if he did not
leave the cell, he would be “‘dealt' with by
him and others from his gang.” Id. That night,
Elliot told Plaintiff that when he left, “he better not
come back or something would be waiting on him.”
Id. Plaintiff immediately began to fear for his
safety and life. Id. Officer John Doe 5 came to get
Plaintiff for his psychiatrist appointment, and on the way,
Plaintiff told him about the threats Elliot had made.
Id. Plaintiff also requested protective custody.
Id. The officer told Plaintiff that he would look
into it during Plaintiff's appointment, but after the
appointment, John Doe 4 and John Doe 5 told Plaintiff that he
could go back to his cell or go to segregation. Id.
chose to go to segregation, and on the way, they encountered
John Doe 3 who gave Plaintiff the same ultimatum after being
informed of the situation. (Doc. 7, pp. 7-8). Plaintiff chose
segregation, and after serving his time there, he immediately
requested protective custody. (Doc. 7, p. 8). Plaintiff was
transferred to the Protective Custody Unit to await approval
of his request. Id. While he was waiting, he wrote
multiple letters to Warden Butler, advising her of his fears
for his life and safety because of Elliot's threats.
about a week, Plaintiff was interviewed by officer John Doe 1
and Jeannette Cowan. Id. They advised him that his
request for protective custody would be denied, despite the
threats made by Elliot. Id. They advised Plaintiff
that, despite the denial, they would make sure that he was
not placed in a cell with any gang members. Id.
Plaintiff was taken to a cell near where Elliot was housed
and noticed that the person in his new cell was a gang
member. (Doc. 7, pp. 8-9). Plaintiff immediately advised
Officer John Doe 6 that he had been told that he would not be
placed in a cell with a gang member, but John Doe 6 sent him
back onto the gallery. (Doc. 7, p. 9). On the way to his
cell, another gang member stated to him: “You know you
can't go in there with my king brother . . . if you go in
there your [sic] not coming out.” Id.
once again advised John Doe 6 of the threat he received.
Id. John Doe 6 placed Plaintiff into a holding cell
and told him that he would look into it. Id. He
later told Plaintiff that he would have to place him in
segregation if he refused to go to his cell. Id.
Plaintiff requested protective custody but instead was
transferred to segregation for disobeying a direct order.
Id. Upon his release from segregation, Plaintiff
again requested protective custody and was transferred to the
Protective Custody Unit to await approval. Id. About
a week later, Plaintiff was interviewed by officers John Doe
2 and Jeannette Cowan. Id. He told them about the
threats he had received from Elliot and the other gang
members, but they denied his request for protective custody
nonetheless. (Doc. 7, pp. 9-10). While he was waiting for
approval, Plaintiff once again sent multiple letters to
Butler seeking approval for protective custody and explaining
his fears. (Doc. 7, p. 10). Plaintiff received a protective
custody denial that was signed by Butler. Id.
filed a grievance about the denial and was seen by the
Administrative Review Board a few weeks later. Id.
Though he fully explained the situation to Jane Doe 7, he was
denied protective custody once again and released back into
the general prison population. Id. In October 2016,
Plaintiff was placed in a cell with another gang member.
Id. In November 2016, Plaintiff was violently
attacked by his cellmate. Id.
the attack, Plaintiff was transferred to the Health Care
Unit. (Doc. 7, p. 11). He was then transferred to an outside
hospital. Id. He received treatment and spent
approximately two weeks in Menard's Health Care Unit
before he was sent back to the same cell house where he was
attacked. Id. A few days after he returned to the
cell house, a cell house worker informed Plaintiff that
certain gang members were going to “[mess] him
up” if Plaintiff came out of his cell. Id. A
few hours later, a note was passed to Plaintiff from an
inmate who identified himself as a gang member. Id.
The note indicated that the inmate was ordered to
“handle the business” with Plaintiff and that
Plaintiff should go to protective custody to prevent it.
Id. Plaintiff wrote letters to Butler and the
internal affairs officers advising them of the constant
threats and previous attack. Id. He also wrote to
the cell house major and lieutenant explaining his situation.
Id. Plaintiff was finally approved for protective
seeks declaratory, monetary, and permanent injunctive relief.
(Doc. 7, p. 15).
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to designate a single count in this pro
se action. The parties and the Court will use this
designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The