United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
William C. Griesbach, United States District Court Chief
Plaintiff Brandon Crockett, who is currently serving a state
prison sentence at Dane County Jail and representing himself,
filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that
his civil rights were violated. This matter comes before the
court on Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without
prepaying the full filing fee and to screen Plaintiff's
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee
is required to pay the $400.00 filing fee for this action,
which includes a $350.00 statutory filing fee and a $50.00
administrative fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
If a prisoner does not have the money to pay the filing fee,
he can request leave to proceed without prepayment of the
full filing fee. In that case, the prisoner plaintiff
proceeding in forma pauperis is required to pay the
full amount of the $350.00 statutory filing fee but not the
$50.00 administrative fee. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(1). Plaintiff has filed a certified copy of his
prison trust account statement for the six-month period
immediately preceding the filing of his complaint, as
required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2), and has been
assessed and paid an initial partial filing fee of $60.00.
Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepaying
the filing fee will be granted.
of the Complaint
court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the
prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous
or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b). A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992); Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Hutchinson ex
rel. Baker v. Spink, 126 F.3d 895, 900 (7th Cir. 1997).
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter “that
is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The court accepts
the factual allegations as true and liberally construes them
in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729
F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 2013). Nevertheless, the
complaint's allegations “must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted).
of the Complaint
alleges that, on June 4, 2017, he was transported from the
Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois to the Dane County Jail
in Madison, Wisconsin by defendants Randall and Clayton. Once
the transport vehicle reached Racine County, Wisconsin,
Randall turned the air conditioning off in the back passenger
compartment of the vehicle. Plaintiff claims that once the
vehicle stopped at the Racine County Jail, he was not allowed
to use the restroom or get a drink of water. He asked Clayton
if he could escort Plaintiff to the vehicle because he did
not want to be alone with Randall. Clayton refused
Plaintiff's request. He asserts Randall
“forcefully” removed him from the Racine County
Jail intake area and shoved him in the back of the van,
causing injury to his back, left bicep, ankles, and waist.
asserts that Randall violated his constitutional rights by
using excessive force against him. Because Plaintiff was a
pretrial detainee at the time of the alleged events, his
excessive force claim is governed by the Fourteenth
Amendment's Due Process Clause, rather than the Eighth
Amendment. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 395 n.10
(1989). A pretrial detainee is entitled to “at least as
great as the Eighth Amendment protections available to a
convicted prisoner.” City of Revere v. Mass. Gen.
Hosp., 463 U.S. 239, 244 (1983); see also Cavalieri
v. Shepard, 321 F.3d 616, 620 (7th Cir. 2003).
Therefore, the court applies the same legal standards to
claims brought under either the Eighth or Fourteenth
Amendments. Minix v. Canarecci, 597 F.3d 824, 831
(7th Cir. 2010).
Eighth Amendment prohibits the “unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain” on prisoners. Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 5 (1992). The Supreme Court has
held that the core judicial inquiry in an excessive force
claim is “whether force was applied in a good-faith
effort to maintain or restore discipline, or maliciously and
sadistically to cause harm.” Id. at 6.
Although significant injury is not required to sufficiently
allege an excessive force claim, “a claim ordinarily
cannot be predicated upon a de minimis use of physical
force.” DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 620
(7th Cir. 2000) (citing Hudson, 503 U.S. at 9-10).
“Not every push or shove, even if it may later seem
unnecessary in the peace of a judge's chambers”
violates a prisoner's constitutional rights.
Hudson, 503 U.S. at 9 (citing Johnson v.
Glick, 481 F.2d 1028, 1033 (2d Cir. 1973)).
Randall's simple act of shoving Plaintiff into the back
of the transport vehicle is the type of de minimis use of
force that does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
While this brief use of force may have resulted in temporary
pain and discomfort, Plaintiff's allegations are
insufficient to demonstrate a constitutional violation.
failure to protect claim against Clayton necessarily fails as
well. Plaintiff asserts Clayton failed to protect him from
Randall. To state a failure to protect claim, Plaintiff must
allege that a guard failed to act despite knowledge of an
impending harm that was readily preventable. Gibbs v.
Franklin, 49 F.3d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir. 1995). A prison
official acts with deliberate indifference if he “knows
of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety; the official must both be aware of the facts from
which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of
serious harm exists, and he must also draw the
inference.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
834 (1994). Plaintiff has not alleged that he suffered
serious harm, and Clayton therefore had no obligation to
protect Plaintiff from a harm that never occurred.
Accordingly, Plaintiff fails to state a claim against
Plaintiff asserts that his inhumane travel conditions
violated the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, he claims the
lack of air conditioning in the back passenger compartment
made it hard for him to breathe. Based on the allegations in
the complaint, there is no basis for finding that the
defendants violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights
while transporting him to Madison, Wisconsin. “Prison
conditions may be harsh and uncomfortable without violating
the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishment.” Dixon v. Godinez, 114 F.3d 640,
642 (7th Cir. 1997). “[O]nly those deprivations denying
the minimal civilized measure of ...