United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
BILLY McDADE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
proceeding pro se, files a complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging that wardens and staff at the Pontiac
Correctional Center (“Pontiac”) have violated his
Eighth Amendment rights by refusing to place him in
protective custody. The case is before the Court for a merit
review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. In reviewing the
Complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true,
liberally construing them in Plaintiff's favor.
Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649-51 (7th Cir.
2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are
insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to “state a
claim for relief that is plausible on its face.”
Alexander v. United States, 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th
Cir. 2013)(citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
While the pleading standard does not require “detailed
factual allegations”, it requires “more than an
accusation.” Wilson v. Ryker, 451 Fed.Appx.
588, 589 (7th Cir. 2011) quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
alleges that Defendants have failed to protect him by denying
him protective custody placement. Plaintiff asserts that he
has a history of conflict with the “Vice Lords,
G-D's and Stones.” Plaintiff is not a gang member,
but on an unidentified date in 2012, gave a statement against
the gangs and “the conflict never ends.”
Plaintiff discloses that in 2012 he was attacked by three
inmates and was thereafter placed in protective custody.
Plaintiff does not disclose when he was released from
protective custody but asserts that Defendants are
deliberately indifferent for not returning him there.
alleges that on July 26, 2018 he was under investigative
status and, for reasons not particularly specified, wanted
that day, to fill out a protective custody request form. He
asked Defendant Counselor Keller to allow him to access his
property so he could provide identifying information as to
his known enemies. Defendant Keller refused to do so and told
Plaintiff to fill out the form as best he could and submit to
Internal Affairs. On August 28, 2018, Plaintiff met with
Internal Affairs Officer Hendrick who proceeded with the
protective custody interview, despite Plaintiff not having
his list of enemies. Plaintiff was denied protective custody
and asserts that this was due to Defendants Keller and
Hendrick not allowing him access to the necessary
alleges, without pleading any specific facts, that one or all
of the Wardens, Kennedy, Ruskin and French, denied him
protective custody. On September 24, 2018, Plaintiff met with
Defendant Amy Burtle of the Administrative Review Board
(“ARB”). He gave her a list of his known enemies
but does not believe that she recorded the information or
entered it into the computer. Plaintiff claims, furthermore,
that Ms. Burrell's report of the meeting was inaccurate
as she claimed that he feared for his life. Plaintiff pled,
“you do not have to fear for your life to get approved
protective custody. I never said, I fear for my life. Amy
just tries to shame a prisoner.” Plaintiff's real
fear is that if he is assaulted, he will be determined to be
a participant and will lose good time credit, postponing his
release. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Burtle did not do
her job when she refused him protective custody and when she
failed to accurately recount their interview.
support of his claim to risk of danger Plaintiff asserts only
the 2012 incident and an incident of more recent vintage. He
pleads that on September 4, 2018, inmates Steven Taylor and
Dominique Brown spit on him. Plaintiff does not provide any
other information and does not claim that either is a member
of the gangs with whom he claims to have issues. Furthermore,
this event took place some months after his July 2018 request
for protective custody placement.
recognized that prison officials have a duty to take
reasonable steps to protect inmates from a “substantial
risk of serious harm” at the hands of other inmates.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 833 (1994).
“But liability of a jail officer for failure
to protect an inmate only materializes if the officer knew
the inmate faced a ‘substantial risk of serious
harm' and ‘disregard[ed] that risk by failing to
take reasonable measures to abate it.'”
Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 777 (7th Cir.
2008). This is so even if, as here, no injury occurred.
Wright v. Miller, 561 Fed.Appx. 551, 555 (7th Cir.
2014). The threat, however, must be a “credible threat
to kill, or to inflict any other physical injury.”
Dobbey v. Ill. Dep't of Corr., 574 F.3d 443, 446
(7th Cir.2009). It is not enough if Plaintiff makes only
general claims and does not articulate a “specific
threat to his safety.” McGill v. Duckworth,
944 F.2d 344, 349 (7th Cir. 1991). See also, Dale v.
Poston, 548, 563, 569 (7th Cir. 2008)(inmate's vague
reports of threats were insufficient to support inference
that defendants were objectively aware of substantial risk).
complaint of having been attacked seven years prior is not
enough to support a credible on-going threat of serious harm.
This particularly, Plaintiff has clearly pled that he does
not fear for his life, but only fears that his sentence will
be lengthened if he is involved in a fight. As Plaintiff
fails to identify any facts to establish that Defendants were
aware of a credible risk to his safety and were deliberately
indifferent to it, his complaint is DISMISSED. He will be
given an opportunity, however, to replead within 30 days.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Plaintiff will have 30 days from the entry of this order in
which to replead his claims. The pleading is to be captioned
Amended Complaint and is to include all of Plaintiff's
claims without reference to a prior pleading. Failure to file