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Brough v. Shawnee Correctional Center

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 12, 2019

MAURICE BROUGH, Plaintiff,
v.
SHAWNEE CORRECTIONAL CENTER, SGT. MARVIN, and WARDEN OF SHAWNEE C.C., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL Chief U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Maurice Brough, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights while he was at Shawnee Correctional Center (“Shawnee”). In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges Sergeant Marvin was deliberately indifferent to his conditions of confinement in violation of 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

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint: On May 2, 2018, he was sent to segregation at Shawnee and placed in a cell without a light and that lacked running water (Doc. 1, p. 6). Because the cell lacked running water, he was forced to wash himself with toilet water. (Id.). Plaintiff was in the cell for a number of weeks; he informed Sergeant Marvin and other employees about his conditions, but they did not fix the conditions.

         Discussion

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

         Count 1: Sergeant Marvin was deliberately indifferent to the conditions of Plaintiff's segregation cell in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         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]

         Preliminary Dismissals

         To the extent that Shawnee Correctional Center is listed as a party in the caption, the correctional center is not a proper party. The Supreme Court has held that “neither a State nor its officials acting in their official capacities are ‘persons' under § 1983.” Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). See also Wynn v. Southward, 251 F.3d 588, 592 (7th Cir. 2001) (Eleventh Amendment bars suits against states in federal court for money damages); Billman v. Ind. Dep't of Corr., 56 F.3d 785, 788 (7th Cir.1995) (state Department of Corrections is immune from suit by virtue of Eleventh Amendment); Hughes v. Joliet Corr. Ctr., 931 F.2d 425, 427 (7th Cir.1991) (same); Santiago v. Lane, 894 F.2d 219, 220 n. 3 (7th Cir.1990) (same). Thus, Plaintiff cannot maintain his claim against Shawnee because it is a division of the Illinois Department of Corrections, a state government agency. Based on this authority, Shawnee is not a “person” within the meaning of the Civil Rights Act and shall be dismissed from this action. See Will, 491 U.S. at 71.

         Plaintiff also has identified the Warden of Shawnee Correctional Center as a defendant, but he fails to allege that the Warden violated his constitutional rights. There are no allegations in the Complaint to suggest that the Warden was made aware of the condition of Plaintiff's cell. Thus, Plaintiff fails to state a claim against the Warden, and this defendant is DISMISSED without prejudice.

         Count 1

         At this stage, the allegations in the Complaint state a viable claim for deliberate indifference against Sergeant Marvin. Townsend v. Fuchs, 522 F.3d 765, 773 (7th Cir. 2008); Dixon v. Godinez,114 F.3d 640, 643 (7th Cir.1997) (not only severity but ...


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