United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER SCREENING AMENDED COMPLAINT (DKT. NO.
PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Rufus West is a prisoner representing himself. He filed a
complaint alleging that the defendants violated his
constitutional rights. Dkt. No. 1. The court screened the
complaint, found that it violated federal procedural rules
because it tried to bring unrelated claims in a single case,
and directed the plaintiff to file an amended complaint if he
wanted to proceed. Dkt. No. 14 at 7-9. The plaintiff has
filed an amended complaint, which this order screens under 28
Screening the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint
Federal Screening Standard
requires the court 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 if the plaintiff raises
claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious,
” that fail to state a claim upon which the court can
grant relief, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant
who is immune that relief. 28 U.S.C. §1915A(b).
state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, “that is plausible on its
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility
when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows a court
to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983, a plaintiff must
allege that 1) someone deprived him of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States; and 2) that person
was acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore v.
Cty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009)
(citing Kramer v. Vill. of N. Fond du Lac, 384 F.3d
856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Gomez v. Toledo,
446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The court gives a pro se
plaintiff's allegations, “however inartfully
pleaded, ” a liberal construction. See Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).
The Plaintiff's Allegations
plaintiff in custody at the Green Bay Correctional
Institution (GBCI). Dkt. No. 15 at 1. He has sued GBCI
Security Director John Kind, GBCI Warden Scott Eckstein, Pete
Ericksen, Corrections Complaint Examiner Brad Hompe,
Department of Corrections Secretary Cindy O'Donnell,
Officer Buhle and John and Jane Doe. Id.
plaintiff alleges that in 1995 he embraced Islam.
Id. at 2. He states that Islamic law prohibits him
from exposing his nakedness to anyone except his wife.
Id. The plaintiff also states that under Islamic
law, “males and females are identified and determined
by the sex that Allah (i.e., the Creator) created them with
at birth.” Id. He alleges that he has been in
prison since 1994, and has never been strip searched by a
female staff member. Id. at 3.
to the plaintiff, prison staff will forcibly strip-search a
prisoner who refuses to voluntarily comply; they restrain the
prisoner, cut off his clothes, and examine his naked body by
touching him everywhere-“including under his penis,
around his testicles, and in between his buttocks by
spreading them.” Id. On the other hand, a
prisoner who complies with a strip search receives
instructions to remove his clothes and follow commands, such
as “[o]pen your mouth. Show me your armpits. Show me
behind your ears. Lift your penis. Now lift your sack (i.e.,
testicles). Alright turn around and bend over at the waist
and spread your butt cheeks. Now show me the bottoms of your
feet and wiggle your toes.” Id.
plaintiff says that on July 2, 2016, after a visit with a
friend, he went to the strip search area to be strip searched
under a policy that requires all prisoners to submit to a
strip-search after a contact visit. Id. Several
officers were conducting strip searches. Id.
According to the plaintiff, when it was his turn to be strip
searched, defendant Buhle, a female correctional officer,
approached him and ordered him to strip. Id. The
plaintiff states that he asked defendant Buhle how she was
able to do that and she responded, “I'm a
dude.” Id. The plaintiff says he looked at the
other correctional officers, “to see if this was a
prank, ” but that they avoided eye contact with him.
Id. He alleges that at this point, he “started
to panic because he knew that Officer Buhle was a female
based on her female features (breasts, face, voice and
demeanor) and that exposing his nakedness to her would be in
violation of his Islamic beliefs, and also that if he refused
to comply with the strip search he would be subjected to the
“abuse and humiliation” of a non-compliance
strip-search. Id. at 3-4. The plaintiff says that he
repeated his question to defendant Buhle, that she answered
the same way and his “panic intensified.”
Id. at 4. The plaintiff alleges that he asked the
nearby male officers if one of them would strip search him,
“which one of them did, while she looked on and
plaintiff indicates that “[i]t was later brought to
[his] attention that Officer Buhle is a female claiming to be
a male and therefore is afforded all of the duties that the
male officers perform without discrimination.”
Id. at 4.
plaintiff alleges that in anticipation of another encounter
with defendant Buhle, he wrote defendants Kind and Eckstein
and requested an “[e]xemption from exposing my
nakedness to the opposite sex [ . . . ] because it is against
Islam.” Id. On ...