United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
S. BRUCE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the Court for merit review of the
Plaintiff's complaint. The Court is required by 28 U.S.C.
§1915A to “screen” the Plaintiff's
complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss
any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if
warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(1)
is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
a pro se prisoner, alleges Assistant Warden Robert Hamilton
and Officer Gaines violated his constitutional rights at the
East Moline Correctional Center. Plaintiff says on July 12,
2018, Inmate DP and two other inmates accused Plaintiff of
stealing Inmate DP's property. Plaintiff denied any
involvement. Plaintiff says Defendant Gaines escalated the
hostility between the inmates when he asked Plaintiff the
basis of his criminal conviction. Plaintiff responded
“theft, ” and Defendant Gaines said Plaintiff was
likely involved in taking Inmate DP's property.
was housed on a separate unit from Inmate DP and the two
other inmates. Plaintiff explains the two units are
“separated by two doors that are to be secured at all
times.” (Comp., p. 6). Nonetheless, Inmate Gaines was
observed allowing the three inmates into Plaintiff's
living unit later in the day.
DP and the two inmates approached Plaintiff and asked about
the property. Plaintiff claims the inmate's pushed him
into a room and assaulted him. The three inmates then
returned to their own housing unit.
attached grievance claims Plaintiff later reported the
incident to correctional officers and he was taken to
Internal Affairs. Plaintiff was placed in segregation under
Assistant Warden Hamilton walked through the segregation unit
a few days later on July 15, 2018. Plaintiff says he
“was unable to have him stop at my cell door, so I
yelled for him once he exited the building through my
window…” (Comp., p. 15). Plaintiff first asked
the Assistant Warden why he was still in segregation since
Plaintiff was the victim of the assault. Defendant Hamilton
explained even if Plaintiff did not start the incident and
even if Plaintiff struck another inmate in self-defense,
Plaintiff would still be guilty of fighting pursuant to
Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) rules.
next said he needed medical attention, and the Defendant told
Plaintiff to submit a sick call request. Plaintiff then
admitted he had seen two nurses, but he needed immediate
medical attention since he was “unable to move his hand
completely.” (Comp, p. 9, p. 15). Defendant Assistant
Warden Hamilton told Plaintiff if he needed immediate medical
attention, he would need to speak with a correctional officer
on his unit.
grievance indicates he was given Tylenol for pain at some
unspecified time although he claims it did not help.
Plaintiff's hand was x-rayed on July 17, 2018 revealing
his thumb was broken. (Comp., p. 16). Plaintiff was taken to
an orthopedic surgeon who performed surgery on July 20, 2018.
(Comp., p. 22).
has also attached a copy of a disciplinary report issued to
the Plaintiff for fighting. (Comp, p. 26). The Internal
Affairs investigation indicated Inmate DP snuck into
Plaintiff's living unit on July 12, 2018 and confronted
Plaintiff about some nude books he believed Plaintiff had
stolen. Two confidential informants stated the argument
“led to both inmates fighting” inside a cell.
(Comp., p. 26). Both inmates exchanged several punches and
each inmate was injured. The report also claims the Plaintiff
admitted fighting with Inmate DP. There is no mention of any
other inmates involved in the incident.
was found guilty of fighting and received one month of
c-grade status as well as one month in segregation. It is not
clear if Plaintiff also lost good time credits. (Comp., p.
has articulated a failure to protect claim against Defendant
Correctional Officer Gaines. While the Disciplinary Report
states Inmate DP snuck onto Plaintiff's housing unit,
Plaintiff claims he can demonstrate the Defendant
intentionally allowed Inmate DP and two others into his
housing unit. Plaintiff has attached affidavits from two
witnesses to support his claim. (Comp., p. 20, 21).
has not clearly articulated a claim against Defendant
Assistant Warden Hamilton. Plaintiff does not allege the
Defendant was personally involved in writing the disciplinary
ticket or the finding of guilt. More important, while
Plaintiff disagrees with the IDOC policy concerning fighting,
two confidential sources indicated Plaintiff threw punches at
Inmate DP and both inmates were injured. Plaintiff has not
alleged a violation of his due process rights, nor a
violation of any other constitutional right.
addition, Plaintiff has not articulated a claim based on
deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition
against the Defendant Hamilton. Plaintiff admits he was
yelling to the Defendant from his window after the Defendant
had exited the building. Therefore, Plaintiff does not claim
Defendant Hamilton could see his injury. The Assistant Warden
was not responsible for providing medical care, nor does
Plaintiff allege Defendant Hamilton would provide medical
care. Furthermore, Plaintiff admits he told Defendant
Hamilton he had already seen two nurses. In addition, the
Defendant did not prevent Plaintiff from receiving care, but
instead told Plaintiff how to request sick call or immediate
medical attention. The fact that Plaintiff chose to yell from
his window to the Assistant Warden who was outside the
building does not make the Defendant liable for problems with
his medical care. See Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d
592, 595 (7th ...