United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
David Bentz, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently
incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center, brings this civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for
deprivations of his constitutional rights. Bentz claims that
he was issued a false disciplinary ticket and placed in
segregation for filing lawsuits against certain defendants.
He seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.
Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review
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). At this juncture, the
factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to
be liberally construed. Rodriquez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
makes the following allegations: On June 14, 2018, Allsup
issued Bentz a false disciplinary ticket for forgery and
giving false information to an employee in retaliation
against Bentz for filing a lawsuit against her. (Doc. 1, p.
7). As a result, he was “deadlocked” within his
cell from June 14, 2018, until June 27, 2018, and was denied
showers, yard exercise, chow line movements, use of the
commissary, hygene indigent kits, law library access, legal
exchange, and other general population activities.
(Id.). On June 27, 2018, he went before the
Adjustment Committee. (Id. at p. 10). Bentz asked
for (1) the recusal of Adjustment Committee Members Brookman
and Hart on the basis of bias because he is suing them in
another civil lawsuit; (2) the identification of the internal
affairs officer mentioned in the disciplinary ticket and that
such officer be called as a witness; and (3) the incident
report and other documents regarding the disciplinary ticket.
All of his requests were denied. (Id. at pp. 10, 11,
17). He was found guilty and moved to segregation.
(Id. at p. 11).
June 27, 2018, and July 11, 2018, Bentz was placed in
punitive segregation in unconstitutional conditions.
(Id. at pp. 8, 9). He was housed in dirty cells
without running water, cleaning supplies, writing supplies,
hygiene items, ice or ice water, linens, including towels,
change of clothes, or access to laundry services, showers, or
exercise time. Bentz's mattress and pillow were soiled,
and he had no light switch and so the lights were off at all
times. He was also exposed to excessive heat with no
ventilation. (Id. at pp. 8, 9).
June 14, 2018, until July 11, 2018, he was denied access to
legal storage to access court documents and the law library.
(Id. at pp. 7, 8, 9, 15). On July 14, 2018, Bentz
was again denied access to his legal storage. (Id.
at p. 11).
January 31, 2019, the Administrative Review Board expunged
Bentz's charge of giving false information to an
employee. (Id. at p. 13).
addition to listing twenty-nine unidentified John/Jane Doe
defendants, Bentz identifies a group of defendants as
“unidentified John/Jane Does, ” in the case
caption and asserts claims against this group throughout the
statement of claim. While a plaintiff may use the “John
Doe” designation to refer to specific individuals whose
names are unknown, a plaintiff will run afoul of the pleading
standards in Iqbal and Twombly by merely
asserting that a group of Menard correctional officers and
staff has violated his constitutional rights. See Brooks
v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 580 (7th Cir. 2009) (finding the
phrase “one or more of the Defendants” did not
adequately connect specific defendants to illegal acts, and
thus failed to adequately plead personal involvement). When a
plaintiff does nothing but state that a group of staff harmed
him without providing more, all he has done is establish that
there is a “sheer possibility” that someone in
that group harmed him. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Bentz may not know the name of
individual defendants, but he must make plausible allegations
against individuals, describing the “who, what, why,
where, and how” that form the basis of the claim
against that person. See Fed R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). To
allow otherwise would be effectively allowing Bentz to amend
his Complaint further at will without review of this Court, a
result contrary to both the local rules and § 1915A.
Accordingly, “unidentified John/Jane Does” and
any claims against them are dismissed without prejudice as
also names John Doe, personal property officer,
Lashbrook, John/Jane Doe #13, John Doe #14, and John Doe #15
in the case caption, but he does not assert any allegations
against them in the “statement of facts” section.
Because he has failed to associate any claims against these
Defendants, they also shall be dismissed without prejudice.
See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (2007); Fed.R.Civ.P.
in the statement of facts, Bentz asserts allegations against
Clark, Scandland, Cleavland, John Doe #30, John Doe #31, John
Doe #32, John Doe #33, John Doe #34, John Doe #35, John Doe #
36, John Doe #38, and John Doe #39, but these individuals are
not listed in the case caption. The Court will not treat
parties not listed in the caption as defendants, and any
claims against them are considered dismissed without
prejudice. See Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d 551,
551-52 (7th Cir. 2005).
on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to designate the following eleven Counts:
Count 1: First Amendment claim against
Allsup for issuing Bentz a false disciplinary ticket and
causing him to be deadlocked in his cell and placed
segregation in retaliation for naming her in a lawsuit.
Count 2: First Amendment claim against
Brookman, Hart, and Walker for finding Bentz guilty at the
adjustment committee hearing in retaliation for filing
Count 3: First Amendment claim against
Brumley for denying Bentz hygiene kits in July 2018 in
retaliation for filing grievances and lawsuits.
Count 4: First Amendment claim against
Brumley and Evoldie for denying Bentz access to his legal
documents on July 14, 2018, in retaliation for filing
Count 5: Eighth Amendment claim of cruel and
unusual punishment against Qualls, Brumley, Elvesizer,
Bramlet, Yankey, Martin, John Doe #4, John Doe #5, John Doe
#22, and John Doe #23 for subjecting Bentz to
unconstitutional conditions of confinement while he was on