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Jones v. Quick

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 20, 2019

REGINALD JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
S. QUICK, C. WALL, and FRANK LAWRENCE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

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

         Plaintiff Reginald Jones, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights at both Menard and Pinckneyville Correctional Centers (“Pinckneyville”). In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges C. Wall used excessive force against him and S. Quick and Frank Lawrence denied him access to the grievance process.[1] He asserts claims against the defendants under the First and Eighth Amendments. Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief, monetary damages, and injunctive relief.

         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 his Complaint (Doc. 6): On July 15, 2019, Plaintiff assaulted a staff member at Pinckneyville and was restrained by a number of officers including Wall. Wall pepper sprayed Plaintiff. He and three other officers then restrained and handcuffed Plaintiff. Wall sat on Plaintiff's back and tightened the handcuffs stating, “Here, take these with you!” (Id. at p. 42). The tightened handcuffs caused lacerations on his wrists and the lacerations burned from the pepper spray. The lacerations are still visible to this day, and Plaintiff still suffers from numbness and shooting pain (Id. at pp. 42-43).

         After the assault, Plaintiff was transferred to Menard. Upon his arrival he was assaulted by fifteen Menard staff members and the two transferring officers (Doc. 6, p. 32). Plaintiff received a grievance form from Quick on August 7, 2019, and he submitted the grievance on August 12, 2019 regarding the staff assault. The grievance was labeled an emergency and submitted to the warden, but Lawrence deemed the grievance not an emergency. Plaintiff then submitted the grievance to Quick (Id.).

         On August 18, 2019, Plaintiff sent Quick a request for two more grievance forms. Quick replied that Plaintiff would be put on a list for more forms (Doc. 6, p. 33). He never received them. On August 25, 2019, he submitted another letter to Quick for grievance forms and money vouchers because his deadline for submitting a grievance on Wall's use of excessive force was approaching, but he did not receive a response from Quick. Because Quick did not provide him with grievance forms, Plaintiff was forced to submit his grievance to the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) on regular paper (Id. at p. 37). The ARB has never acknowledged the receipt of his grievances (Id. at p. 39). He informed Lawrence of Quick's failure to provide grievance forms, but Lawrence did not respond (Id. at pp. 37 and 44). Plaintiff alleges that Quick's failure to provide grievance forms impaired his ability to properly exhaust his administrative remedies and to pursue his current lawsuit (Id. at pp. 34 and 36). Plaintiff also alleges that Quick's actions were in retaliation for Plaintiff filing his grievance about the staff assault at Menard. Since submitting that grievance to Quick, he has been unable to obtain additional grievance forms (Id. at p. 40).

         Preliminary Dismissals

         In Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 6) he notes that he was denied medical care for his injuries after the use of excessive force at Pinckneyville (Doc. 6, p. 42). He also discusses an assault by staff upon his arrival at Menard (Id. at p. 32). He fails, however, to associate either of these potential claims with any of the named Defendants. He only discusses the assault in relation to the grievances he attempted to file. Accordingly, to the extent Plaintiff seeks to raise these claims in his Complaint, he fails to state a claim, and those claims should be considered DISMISSED without prejudice.

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following three counts:

Count 1:Wall used excessive force on Plaintiff in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Count 2:Quick and Lawrence retaliated against Plaintiff by failing to provide him with grievance forms in violation of the First Amendment.
Count 3:Quick interfered with Plaintiff's access to the courts by denying him grievance forms in violation of ...

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