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Wright v. Melvin

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

November 8, 2019

JAMES EARL WRIGHT, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL MELVIN, et al., Defendants.

          MERIT REVIEW ORDER

          MICHAEL M. MIHM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff pro se, James Earl Wright, Jr., who is imprisoned at Pontiac Correctional Center (“Pontiac”), filed a complaint [1] under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion seeking this Court's assistance in recruiting counsel [5] as provided by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1).

         I. THE SCREENING STANDARD

         Plaintiff's complaint is before the Court for merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915A, which requires the Court to “screen” Plaintiff's complaint, and through such process, identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1)-(2). In reviewing the complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to “state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Alexander v. United States, 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).

         II. PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS

         A. Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical Need

         On August 22, 2017, Plaintiff ate a portion of his lunch meal when he noticed a dead mouse on his meal tray. At various times that day, Plaintiff asked Defendants Allen, Beyers, James Blackard, Mrozek, Sellers, and Justine Skinner to go to the healthcare unit “to get some antibiotics or penicillin just to be safe, ” but each person refused his request. (ECF 1: p. 7.)

         “The Eighth Amendment protects a detainee not only from deliberate indifference to his or her current serious health problems, but also from deliberate indifference to conditions posing an unreasonable risk of serious damage to future health.” Board v. Farnham, 394 F.3d 469, 479 (7th Cir. 2005) (emphasis in original)). An inmate who seeks damages for future injury must “show ‘to a degree of reasonable medical certainty' that he actually faced an increased risk of injury.” Gray v. Hardy, 826 F.3d 1000, 1007 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting Henderson v. Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 851 (7th Cir. 1999)).

         The Court concludes that as pleaded, Plaintiff's allegations do not state a claim against the identified defendants. Plaintiff filed his complaint almost two years after the alleged incident occurred, but he does not provide any facts to infer that he suffered an injury or faced an increased risk of harm thereafter as a result of not receiving medical care in August 2017.

         B. Retaliation

         As a consequence of Plaintiff's refusal to surrender his lunch tray, Defendant Skinner issued Plaintiff an “Offender Disciplinary Report” for disobeying a direct order. (1-1: p. 15.) Plaintiff claims that Defendants Blackard, Punke, and Skinner retaliated against him by filing the disciplinary report.

         “To prevail on a First Amendment retaliation claim, [a plaintiff] must show: (1) he engaged in protected activity; (2) he suffered a deprivation likely to deter future protected activity; and (3) his protected activity was a motivating factor in the defendants' decision to retaliate.” Daugherty v. Harrington, 906 F.3d 606, 610 (7th Cir. 2018).

         Plaintiff fails to state a retaliation claim because he acknowledges that Skinner issued the ticket as a result Plaintiff's defiance, which is not a protected activity. Plaintiff also does not provide any facts showing personal involvement by Blackard and Punke. See Mitchell v. Kallas, 895 F.3d 492, 498 (7th Cir. 2018) (“For a defendant to be liable under section 1983, she must be personally responsible for the alleged deprivation of the plaintiff's constitutional rights.”)

         C. ...


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