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Bonner v. Stover

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 19, 2019

JULIAN BONNER, # K96664, Plaintiff,
v.
JESSICA D. STOVER, JASON C. HAHS, DANIEL Q. SULLIVAN, and JOHN R. BALDWIN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Julian Bonner, who is committed at Big Muddy River Correctional Center (“Big Muddy”) as a “sexually dangerous person” (“SDP”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as denial of accommodations in violation of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act (“RA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 794–94e. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief.

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Persons like Plaintiff who are civilly committed under the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 205/0.01 et seq.) in Illinois are subject to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) (28 U.S.C. § 1915 et setq.). Kalinowski v. Bond, 358 F.3d 978, 978-79 (7th Cir. 2004). Therefore, the Complaint shall be screened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         Under Section 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 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).

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges the following: Plaintiff was placed in the SDP Program in 2002. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He is currently diagnosed with a paraphilic disorder and a personality disorder, and was “historically” diagnosed with learning and speech disorders. (Id., pp. 4-5).

         Plaintiff states that his literacy and learning disabilities have not been addressed by staff and that he “has never been offered individualized treatment to assist him to effectively learn treatment concepts.” (Id., p. 9). Additionally, he alleges that the entire SDP program is deficient and is not calculated to actually treat any of its participants, but is instead simply a prison term by another name-there is no established curriculum, progress is judged solely by the subjective judgment of staff, and staff persist with ineffective treatment to the extent of failing to use any professional judgment. (Id., pp. 9-11).

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Stover, the lead therapist in the SDP program, is abusive and “refused to return personal property of the Plaintiff[].” (Id., pp. 5-6). He alleges that Defendant Hahs, a Correctional Counselor at Big Muddy, has constructively denied him access to the administrative grievance procedure by failing to respond to them, and that Stover retaliates against participants who use the grievance process in their semi-annual evaluations. (Id.. pp. 6-7, 12). Plaintiff also asserts that Defendant Baldwin, as his court-appointed legal guardian, has failed to acquit his duties in that role. (Id., pp. 7-8).

         For clarity, the Court has divided the complaint into five distinct claims as follows:

Count 1: Fourteenth Amendment claim for failure to adequately treat his paraphilia and related disorders;
Count 2: ADA and RA claim against Baldwin for failure to accommodate Plaintiff’s learning and intellectual disabilities;
Count 3: Fourteenth Amendment claim against Stover for failing to return personal property;
Count 4: First Amendment claim against Stover and Hahs for preventing access to the grievance system and retaliating against Plaintiff ...

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