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Jenkinss v. Lawrence

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 11, 2019




         Plaintiff Leroy Jenkins, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges Defendants kept him in a cell that was too small to house two inmates, lacked heat and hot water, and had a leaky toilet. He asserts claims against the defendants under the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Complaint 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).

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff makes the following allegations: While at Menard, Plaintiff was housed in a cell in North 2. The cell had constant running water, which was cold not hot, and a leaking toilet. (Doc. 1, p. 8). When Plaintiff would flush the toilet, it would leak and squirt water on him. (Id. at pp. 8, 11). From October 30, 2018 until March 22, 2019, there was no heat in the cell and Plaintiff was forced to put on three shirts, two pairs of pants, a wool cap, and three pairs of socks to keep warm. (Id. at p. 8). He informed Jacqueline Lashbrook about the conditions of his cell, and she told him that the building was old. (Id.). Propane tanks were later brought in for three to four days and placed outside of the cells to heat the area. (Id.). The tanks put out dangerous fumes, which Plaintiff inhaled and caused his breathing to be painful.

         Plaintiff's cell was also small and housed two inmates. (Doc. 1, p. 8). He informed both Lashbrook and Frank Lawrence about the size of his cell as two people could not stand on the floor at the same time. The cell was fifty square feet and had only five steps from the cell door to the toilet. (Id. at pp. 9, 11). Plaintiff had heart surgery in 2017 and was directed to participate in walking exercises, but the cell was too small for Plaintiff to adequately exercise. (Id.). Although Frank Lawrence informed Plaintiff that the North 2 cellhouse would soon be single man cells, during the time that Plaintiff was housed in the cell, it was a double man cell. (Id. at p. 9). At the time he filed his Complaint, he had been in the cell for approximately nine months. (Id. at p. 11).


         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to designate a single count in this pro se action:

Count 1: Jacqueline Lashbrook and Frank Lawrence were deliberately indifferent under the Eighth Amendment to Plaintiff's conditions of confinement in his North 2 cell.

         The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under the Twombly pleading standard.[1]

         The Court finds that Plaintiff states a claim for deliberate indifference to his conditions of confinement for the small cell size, lack of heat and hot water, and a leaky toilet. Townsend v. Fuchs, 522 F.3d 765, 773 (7th Cir. 2008); Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 652-53 (7th Cir. 2013). Thus, Count 1 will proceed against Jacqueline Lashbrook and Frank Lawrence.


         For the reasons set forth above, Count 1 shall proceed against Jacqueline Lashbrook and Frank Lawrence.

         The Clerk of Court shall prepare for Defendants Jacqueline Lashbrook and Frank Lawrence: (1) Form 5 (Notice of a Lawsuit and Request to Waive Service of a Summons), and (2) Form 6 (Waiver of Service of Summons). The Clerk is DIRECTED to mail these forms, a copy of the Complaint, and this Memorandum and Order to the defendants' place of employment as identified by Plaintiff. If a defendant fails to sign and return the Waiver of Service of Summons (Form 6) to the Clerk within 30 days from the date the forms were sent, the Clerk shall take appropriate steps to effect formal service on that ...

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