United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert United States District Judge.
Bertram Harrison, a federal inmate at the United States
Penitentiary located in Marion, Illinois
(“USP-Marion”), filed this pro se action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Plaintiff complains of overcrowding at USP-Marion that has
resulted in general delays in medical care, increased risk of
infection, and increased risk of assault. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-21).
Plaintiff is required to share his cell with two other
individuals. Id. at p. 6. He specifically
seeks removal of the third bunk from each cell and money
damages on behalf of inmates required to live in these
conditions. Id. at p. 7.
Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 1915A, the Court
is required to promptly screen prisoner complaints to filter
out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The
Court is required to 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). At this juncture, the factual
allegations of the pro se Complaint are liberally
construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv.,
577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
on the allegations summarized above, the Court finds it
convenient to designate a single count in this pro
Count 1: Defendants subjected Plaintiff to
unconstitutional conditions of confinement at USP-Marion by
housing him in a cell with two other inmates and exposing him
to the risk of medical delays, infection, and assault.
parties and the Court will use this designation in all future
pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial
officer of this Court. Any claim encompassed by the
allegations in the Complaint but not
addressed herein is considered dismissed without prejudice
as inadequately pled under
brings this action pursuant to both 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
28 U.S.C. § 1331. He seeks relief for violations of his
constitutional rights by federal officials. Section 1983
imposes tort liability on state actors, and
sometimes their employers, for violations of federal rights.
Belbachir v. County of McHenry, 726 F.3d 975, 978
(7th Cir. 2013). An action for damages for constitutional
torts against federal officials is governed by
Section 1331 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named
Agents of Fed'l Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388
(1971). Plaintiff's claims are appropriately brought
under Section 1331 and Bivens, not Section 1983.
that said, both actions are “conceptually identical and
further the same policies.” Green v. Carlson,
581 F.2d 669, 673 (7th Cir. 1978). Liability under both
hinges on personal responsibility for a constitutional
deprivation. Pepper v. Village of Oak Park, 430 F.3d
809, 810 (7th Cir. 2005) (Section 1983); Del Raine v.
Williford, 32 F.3d 1024, 1047 (7th Cir. 1994)
(Bivens). In both contexts, “an individual
defendant must have caused or participated in a
constitutional deprivation.” Id. And courts
often look to Section 1983 and its “decisional
gloss” for guidance in construing the scope of the
Bivens remedy. Green, 581 F.2d at 673.
for unconstitutional conditions of confinement, whether
brought pursuant to Section 1983 or Bivens, has an
objective and a subjective component. To satisfy the
objective component, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the
prison officials knowingly denied him the “minimal
civilized measure of life's necessities.”
Henderson v. Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 845 (7th Cir.
1999). These necessities include adequate shelter, clothing,
and medical care, among other things. Gillis v.
Litscher, 468 F.3d 488, 493 (7th Cir. 2006). To satisfy
the subjective component, a plaintiff must also demonstrate
that officials acted with deliberate indifference to his
health or safety. Ziglar v. Abbasi, __ U.S. __, 137
S.Ct. 1843, 1879 (2017) (citing Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825, 830, 834 (1994)).
Complaint satisfies neither component. Plaintiff's
general claims of overcrowding- which allegedly increases the
risk of illness, infection, and injury-is unsupported by
specific incidents when Plaintiff (or anyone else) was
subjected to one of these deprivations. The allegations also
offer no suggestion that the defendants responded to
Plaintiff's complaints about the conditions with
deliberate indifference. He names the United States,
USP-Marion, and Warden True as defendants. However, the
United States and USP-Marion are not proper defendants under
Bivens. See Ziglar v. Abbasi, 137 S.Ct. at
1860 (Bivens claim is brought against the individual
official for his or her own acts and not the acts of others);
Sterling v. United States, 85 F.3d 1225, 1228-29
(7th Cir. 1996) (“[T]he point of Bivens was to
establish an action against the employee to avoid the
sovereign immunity that would block an action against the
United States.”). The allegations also articulate no
plausible claim against Warden True, who had knowledge of the
general conditions impacting inmates at the prison but no
knowledge of a particular deprivation Plaintiff suffered. He
identified no action or inaction on the part of this
defendant that gives rise to liability. The Bivens
claim in Count 1 shall be dismissed with prejudice against
the United States and USP-Marion and without prejudice
against Warden True.
Complaint shall be dismissed without prejudice, and Plaintiff
shall have an opportunity to replead his claim in an amended
complaint. If Plaintiff chooses to amend, he should list the
defendants who deprived him of his constitutional rights in
the case caption. He should then “[s]tate . . . as
briefly as possible, when, where, how, and by whom [his]
constitutional rights were violated” by each defendant.
(Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff should attempt to include the facts
of his case in chronological order, inserting each
defendant's name where necessary to identify the actors
and the conduct giving rise to this action. Failure to comply
with the instructions or deadline in this Order shall result
in dismissal of this action with prejudice. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 41(b).
IS ORDERED that the Complaint is
DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
IS ORDERED that COUNT 1 is
DISMISSED with prejudice against Defendants
UNITED STATES and
USP-MARION and DISMISSED
without prejudice against Defendant WILLIAM
TRUE. The Clerk of Court i s