United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JAMES E. WALKER, #R02343, Plaintiff,
KIM BUTLER, R. HARRINGTON, S. GODINEZ, J.R. BALDWIN, A. JOHNSON, Y. JOSEPH, K. ALLSUP, V. PAYNE, B. SPILLER, B. BRAMLET, T. KNUST, C/O ELLIS, DANA, J. CLENDENIN, C/O HANKS, C/O BERRY, C/O BEST, C/O MCCARTY, C/O ROWALD, JOHN DOE 1, JOHN DOE 2, JOHN DOE 3, JOHN DOE 4, JOHN DOE 5, JOHN DOE 6, JOHN DOE 7, JOHN DOE 8, JOHN DOE 9, and C/O SMOLAK, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
James Walker, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently
incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this
civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations
of his constitutional rights while he was at Menard
Correctional Center (“Menard”). Walker's
original Complaint was dismissed for failure to state claim.
(Doc. 9). He was granted leave to file an amended complaint,
which he filed on August 23, 2019. Before the Court conducted
a preliminary review of the First Amended Complaint (Doc.
13), Walker filed a Motion for Leave to File an Amended
Complaint in order to add defendants to his First Amended
Complaint. (Doc. 14). Walker also filed another Motion for
Leave to File an Amended Complaint on October 2, 2019. (Doc.
16). Along with this second motion for leave to amend, he
submitted to the Court a proposed amended complaint.
appears that Walker wishes to proceed with the latest version
of the purposed amended complaint, the Court will deny the
first Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint (Doc.
14), grant Walker's second Motion for Leave to Amend
(Doc. 16), and conduct a preliminary review of the proposed
amended complaint filed with the Court on October 2, 2019,
now designated the “Second Amended Complaint.”
Walker's Motion for Extension of Time (Doc. 12) to file
an amended complaint will be denied as moot.
Second Amended Complaint is now before the Court for
preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under
Section 1915A, any portion of a complaint that is legally
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or requests 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).
Second Amended Complaint, Walker repeatedly claims that
Salvador Godinez and John Baldwin, former directors of IDOC,
Harrington and Butler, former wardens of Menard, and A.
Johnson, an assistant warden at Menard “each are
legally responsible for the operations of Menard Correctional
Center and the conduct of…” various defendant
employees. But Walker cannot pursue a claim against a
defendant based solely upon his or her supervisory role. The
doctrine of respondeat superior does not apply to
Section 1983 actions. Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266
F.3d 724, 740 (7th Cir. 2001) (quoting Chavez v. Ill.
State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir. 2001). Section
1983 liability requires personal responsibility for the
deprivation of a constitutional right and attempting to
assert personal liability by repeating the same statement
that Godinez, Baldwin, Harrington, Butler, and Johnson
“endorsed” such practice is not enough to suggest
personal involvement. See Palda v. General Dynamic
Corp., 47 F.3d 872, 875 (7th Cir. 1995). Therefore,
claims against these defendants based on their supervisory
positions are dismissed.
extent that Walker is attempting to allege Godinez,
Harrington, and Butler are liable because they concurred in
the denial of his grievances, this claim also fails.
“Prison officials who simply processed or reviewed
inmate grievances lack personal involvement in the conduct
forming the basis of the grievance.” Owens v.
Evans, 878 F.3d 559, 563 (7th Cir. 2017). Furthermore,
the Seventh Circuit has rejected the idea that liability
extends to every prison official who is aware of an
inmate's complaints. Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d
592, 595 (7th Cir.2009). Therefore, the claim of liability
based solely on the denial of his grievance is also dismissed
against Godinez, Harrington, and Butler.
there are no further claims against them, Godinez, Baldwin,
and Harrington will be dismissed from this action.
Joseph and Spiller will also be dismissed. Against Joseph,
Walker claims that he made it difficult for Walker to: (1)
use the institutional system to receive legal mail; (2)
receive grievances in a timely manner; and (3) access the law
library and legal exchange. These claims do not assert a
constitutional violation and are not enough to show that
Walker is entitled to relief. As to Spiller, Walker does not
assert any allegations against him in the statement of claim.
See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Accordingly, Joseph and
Spiller, and any claims against them, will be dismissed.
See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Second Amended Complaint, Walker alleges the following:
During his time at Menard he was denied access to the courts
by the conduct of various staff members, his grievances were
repeatedly mishandled, and his legal mail opened without him
2013 to 2016, Defendants Bramlet, Knust, and Clendenin of the
law library did not provide Walker with legal assistance,
proper copies of grievances or court documents, paper and
pens, and adequate access to the law library so that he could
conduct research in order to prepare for various motions and
responses in his other court cases. Because of the lack of
access to the law library and assistance, he missed court
deadlines, and his habeas petition and defendants from other
civil lawsuits were dismissed.
on one occasion while using the law library, he was forced to
leave by Defendant Ellis in order to use the bathroom in his
cell and was not allowed to return to the library to continue
his work. Walker was only allowed ten sheets of paper, two
pens, and three large envelopes once a month, and Defendants
Dana, Bramlet, and Knust denied his requests for additional
John Doe 1 of the mailroom mishandled his mail on several
occasions causing Walker to miss court deadlines and pay
extra postage fees to mail documents a second time.
2014, Walker submitted a Freedom of Information
(“FOIA”) request for records regarding lockdowns
at Menard, which was denied. His requested a “legal
exchange” to access documents in his excess property
box so that he could prepare and seek review of the denial.
Defendant Smolak denied his request, and he was not allowed a
legal exchange until after the deadline to request a review.
In November, Walker made additional requests to access
“legal exchange, ” but his requests were denied
by John Doe 2.
February 2015, Walker did not receive copies of two motions
he requested and was forced to rewrite both motions. Around
the same time, he was scheduled for a legal exchange because
he had a pending court deadline of March 13, 2015. His legal
exchange was canceled and requests to schedule a new date
denied. He missed the court deadline and had to file a motion
for an extension. Walker missed another court deadline in
2016, after placing a request to access the law library and
legal exchange to retrieve exhibits. Both requests were
ignored until after the deadline had passed.
2016, Clendenin denied Walker access to administrative
directive rules in retaliation for Walker filing a grievance
about privacy problems. His repeated requests for legal
exchange to access his legal documents were denied by John
on the allegations in the Second Amended Complaint, the Court
designates the following seventeen Counts:
Count 1: First Amendment access to courts
claim against Butler, Bramlet, Knust, and John Doe 1 for
hindering Walker's ability to file a habeas petition and
appeal in 2013 and 2014.
Count 2: First Amendment access to courts
claim against John Doe 1 for withholding and untimely mailing
Walker's legal documents in July and August 2013.
Count 3: First Amendment access to courts
claim against Bramlet, Knust, and Ellis for denying Walker
access to the law library to research in 2013.
Count 4: First Amendment access to courts
claim against Bramlet and Knust for not providing Walker
legal materials and adequate access to the law library in
January, May, and June 2014.
Count 5: First Amendment access to courts
claim against Dana, Bramlet, and Knust for denying Walker
paper, pens, and envelopes in June 2014.
Count 6: First Amendment access to courts
claim against Smolak for denying Walker's requests for a
legal exchange to ...