United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Lee Price, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections who is currently incarcerated at Lawrence
Correctional Center (“Lawrence”), brings this
civil rights action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-58). Plaintiff alleges that
Lawrence's staff housed him with a cellmate who sexually
assaulted him on March 24, 2019. (Id.). Plaintiff
seeks money damages against Acting Warden Deanna Brookhart
for failing to protect him from this harm in violation of the
Eighth Amendment. (Id. at p. 5).
Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 1915A, the
Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out
non-meritorious claims. 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). At this juncture, the factual allegations of the
pro se Complaint are to be liberally construed.
Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816,
821 (7th Cir. 2009).
Complaint, Plaintiff makes the following allegations:
Plaintiff claims that he was sexually assaulted by his
cellmate at Lawrence. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-54). On March 24, 2019,
Plaintiff's cellmate sat down on the bunkbed next to him.
(Id. at p. 4). While fondling himself and rubbing
Plaintiff's stomach, the cellmate asked Plaintiff if he
“want[ed] some of this.” (Id.). Only then
did Plaintiff realize his cellmate was gay. (Id.).
Prison staff members were allegedly aware of his
cellmate's status when they placed the two inmates in the
same cell ten days earlier. (Id.). Plaintiff claims
that Acting Warden Brookhart failed to protect him from this
on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to designate the following count in this pro
Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against
Brookhart for failing to protect Plaintiff from a known risk
of serious harm to his health and safety by placing him in a
cell with a gay inmate who sexually assaulted him on March
parties and the Court will use this designation in all future
pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by this
Court. Any claim in the Complaint that is not
addressed herein should be considered
dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under
Eighth Amendment governs Plaintiff's claim against
Defendant Brookhart. The amendment imposes an obligation on
prison officials to take reasonable steps to guarantee the
safety of inmates, and this includes the duty to protect
inmates from violence at the hands of other inmates.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832-35 (1994). A
failure-to-protect claim arises where a plaintiff shows that
he was incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial
risk of serious harm, and the defendant acted with deliberate
indifference toward his health or safety. Id.
Complaint does not survive screening against Brookhart.
Plaintiff does not mention this defendant in the statement of
his claim. Collins v. Kibort, 143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th
Cir. 1998) (“A plaintiff cannot state a claim against a
defendant by including the defendant's name in the
caption.”). And he cannot pursue relief against
Brookhart based solely on her supervisory role at the prison.
Respondeat superior liability is not recognized
under Section 1983. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 US. 662,
676 (2009). Liability instead requires personal involvement
in or responsibility for a constitutional deprivation.
Knight v. Wiseman, 590 F.3d 458, 462-63 (7th Cir.
2009). Because Plaintiff failed to mention Brookhart in the
statement of his claim, the Court cannot discern what role
she played in the deprivation of his constitutional rights.
exhibits offer little additional insight into his claims
against this defendant. The Court found only two documents
that were signed by Brookhart-a Memorandum dated March 24,
2019 (Doc. 1, p. 12) and an Adjustment Committee Report dated
April 15, 2019 (Id. at pp. 24-25). According to
these documents, Brookhart notified Plaintiff that his Prison
Rape Elimination Act complaint was investigated and deemed
unsubstantiated. (Id. at p. 12). Brookhart also
approved the Adjustment Committee's decision to punish
Plaintiff for threatening his cellmate following the events
of March 24, 2019. (Id. at pp. 24-25). Although
these documents suggest that Brookhart had some involvement
in this matter, her involvement occurred after the assault.
Plaintiff makes no claim that Brookhart played a role in his
cell placement decision before the assault or that she failed
to protect him following the assault. Count 1 shall be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted against Brookhart.
Plaintiff brings no other claims in this action, the Court
shall dismiss the Complaint without prejudice. Plaintiff will
have an opportunity to file a First Amended Complaint, if he
wishes to proceed with this matter. If he chooses to do so,
Plaintiff must comply with the deadline and instructions set
forth in the below Disposition.