United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
YANDLE, DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is now before the Court for preliminary review of the
Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 38) filed by Plaintiff Deandre
Bradley, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections
("IDOC") currently incarcerated at Menard
Correctional Center ("Menard"). Plaintiff asserts
an Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim, alleging
excessive cell illumination that lasts twenty hours per day.
(Doc. 38, pp. 1-4). He seeks an order requiring Acting Warden
Frank Lawrence to either move him to a different cell or
install an electric light switch in his current cell.
Second Amended Complaint is now before the Court for
preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
requires the Court to screen prisoner Complaints to filter
out non-meritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § l9l5A(a). Any
portion of a Complaint that is legally frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or requests
money damages from an immune defendant must be dismissed. 28
U.S.C. § l9l5A(b). At this juncture, the factual
allegations are liberally construed. Rodriguez v.
Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir.
on the allegations in the Second Amended Complaint, the Court
finds it convenient to designate a single Count at issue in
this pro se action:
Count 1:Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claim against Acting Warden Frank Lawrence for
subjecting Plaintiff to unconstitutional conditions of
confinement in the form of excessive cell lighting that
aggravated his mental and physical health conditions.
other claim that is mentioned in the Second Amended Complaint
but not addressed herein should be
considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled
originally filed a pro se Complaint and an Amended
Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. When the Court
dismissed the Amended Complaint, counsel was recruited to
represent Plaintiff going forward. Plaintiffs Counsel
prepared and filed the Second Amended Complaint pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 but labeled it a "Petition for
Writ of Mandamus, Due to Violation of Prisoner's Civil
Rights to Reasonable But Not Excessive Lighting, Which
Excessive Lighting Sickens Prisoner." (Doc. 38, p. 1).
different federal statutes govern Writs of Mandamus, and
Plaintiff cited neither. See 28 U.S.C. § 1361
and 28 U.S.C. § 1651. Regardless, federal courts have no
authority to grant mandamus relief against state officials.
Rather, federal mandamus jurisdiction is limited to actions
against "an officer or employee of the United States or
any agency thereof." See 28 U.S.C. § 1361.
Section 1651 also does not vest the Court with jurisdiction
to issue writs of mandamus against state officials.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a). Thus, this Court lacks
jurisdiction to issue a Writ of Mandamus against Acting
said, Plaintiff filed the action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 in order to obtain injunctive relief, and the plain
language of that statute authorizes such relief. Therefore,
this case will proceed as a § 1983 civil rights action.
respect to the asserted Eighth Amendment claim against Warden
Lawrence, a two-part inquiry is used to evaluate such claims.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). To
satisfy the objective component of the claim, the Court must
determine whether the complained-of condition is sufficiently
serious. Id. To satisfy the subjective component,
the Court must determine whether the defendant responded to
the serious risk of harm posed to the plaintiffs health or
safety with deliberate indifference. Id.
alleges he has been exposed to excessive cell illumination.
Standing alone, this condition does not constitute cruel and
unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, even
when exposure to lighting is constant. See, e.g., Vasquez
v. Frank, 290 Fed.Appx. 927, 929 (7th Cir. 2008)
(24-hour lighting using a single 9-watt bulb not the type of
extreme deprivation which supports an Eighth Amendment
claim); Allen v. Hardy, 11 C 4147, 2012 WL 5363415,
at *8 (N.D. Oct. 26, 2012) (dismissing plaintiffs claim based
on "cell house lights . . . beaming on high beams 24
hours a day" where his only injury was minor sleep
deprivation). Although Plaintiff alleges the lighting
aggravates his health problems, he offers no details in that
regard. As such, his allegations do not satisfy the objective
component of the claim.
Second Amended Complaint also falls short of alleging
deliberate indifference on the part of Acting Warden
Lawrence. Section 1983 liability hinges on personal
responsibility for a constitutional deprivation and the
doctrine of respondeat superior is inapplicable to
§ 1983 claims. Colbert v. City of Chicago, 851
F.3d 649 (7th Cir. 2017). Thus, prison officials cannot be
liable for inhumane conditions of confinement unless they
know of and disregard an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety posed by the conditions. Farmer, 511 U.S. at
837-38. Count 1 will therefore be dismissed without
will be given one final opportunity to re-plead this claim
according to the deadline and instructions set forth below.
Plaintiff should indicate whether he seeks money damages
and/or injunctive relief therein. If Plaintiff believes
interim relief is necessary, he should file a separate motion
pursuant to Federal Rule ...