United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge
plaintiff, Daimon Jackson (“Jackson”), is
incarcerated at Waupun Correctional Institution
(“Waupun”). He filed a pro se complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that his civil rights
were violated by the defendant, Randall Bouzek
(“Bouzek”), a correctional sergeant at Waupun.
(Docket #1). Jackson has paid the full civil filing fee.
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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. Id. §
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); Gladney v. Pendelton Corr. Facility, 302
F.3d 773, 774 (7th Cir. 2002). The Court may, therefore,
dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual
contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S.
at 327; Gladney, 302 F.3d at 774. “Malicious,
” although sometimes treated as a synonym for
“frivolous, ” “is more usefully construed
as intended to harass.” Lindell v. McCallum,
352 F.3d 1107, 1109 (7th Cir. 2003); Paul v.
Marberry, 658 F.3d 702, 705 (7th Cir. 2011).
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). It is not
necessary for the plaintiff to plead specific facts; his
statement need only “‘give the defendant fair
notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)); Christopher v. Buss, 384
F.3d 879, 881 (7th Cir. 2004). However, a complaint that
offers “‘labels and conclusions'” or
“‘formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause
of action will not do.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). To state a claim, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, “‘that is plausible on its
face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The complaint
allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555; Christopher, 384 F.3d at 881.
considering whether a complaint states a claim, courts should
first “identif[y] pleadings that, because they are no
more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Legal
conclusions must be supported by factual allegations.
Id. If there are well-pleaded factual allegations,
the Court must “assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.” Id.
state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege that: (1) he was deprived of a right
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and
(2) the deprivation was visited upon him by a person or
persons acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore
v. Cty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009);
Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The Court
is obliged to give Plaintiff's pro se
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)).
alleges that Bouzek failed to protect him from being beaten
by another inmate. Specifically, Jackson alleges that on
December 11, 2018, he and another inmate, Alberto Galvan
(“Galvan”), were involved in a physical
altercation with a third inmate, Sean Flowers
(“Flowers”). (Docket #1 at 1). All three men were
placed in restricted housing as punishment. Id. Upon
release from restricted housing, Flowers and Jackson were
placed on the same side of the northwest cell hall.
Id. at 1-2. Galvan was placed in the same cell hall,
but on a different side. Id. at 1.
February 14, 2019, Jackson learned that numerous inmates were
planning to “seek revenge” on him because of the
fight he had with Flowers. Id. at 2. That day,
Jackson told Bouzek that he heard inmates in the cell hall
were planning to attack him, and that he feared for his
safety because he and Flowers were on the same side of the
cell hall. Id. Bouzek told Jackson he did not care,
that Jackson should not have started something he could not
finish, and that he would not move Jackson from his place on
the cell block. Id.
later went to the chow hall where another inmate, Clyde Scott
(“Scott”), approached him and hit him in the
face. Id. Jackson tried to defend himself, and two
other inmates joined the fight to assist Scott. Id.
Jackson backed away, but Scott grabbed a knife and attempted
to stab Jackson. Id. Guards arrived on the scene and
took Jackson and Scott to restricted housing. Id. As
a result of the incident with Scott, Jackson had headaches, a
painful and swollen jaw, and eye problems. Id. at 3.
these allegations, Jackson seeks to bring an Eighth Amendment
claim against Bouzek for his failure to protect Jackson from
a substantial risk of harm posed by the inmates he said were
threatening him. Id. at 3.
Eighth Amendment protects prisoners against the infliction of
cruel and unusual punishment. Mayoral v. Sheahan,
245 F.3d 934, 938 (7th Cir. 2001). “Because officials
have taken away virtually all of a prisoner's ability to
protect himself, the Constitution imposes on officials the
duty to protect those in their charge from harm from other
prisoners.” Id. But the Eighth Amendment is
not violated every time an inmate gets attacked by another
inmate; prisons, after all, are dangerous places by their
nature. Dale v. Poston, 548 F.3d 563, 569 (7th Cir.
2008). And so, “an inmate has no claim ‘unless
the official knows of and disregards an excessive risk to
inmate health or safety; the official must both be aware of
facts from which the inference could be drawn that a
substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also
draw the inference.'” Id. (quoting
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994)). Once a
prison official knows about a serious risk of harm, he has an
obligation “to take reasonable measures to abate
it.” Id. (quoting Borello v. Allison,
446 F.3d 742, 747 (7th Cir. 2006)). An official's
response may be reasonable even if it does not prevent the
complaint passes the low bar of screening to state a claim
against Bouzek for deliberate indifference to the risk that
Jackson would be harmed by other inmates on his cell block.
Factual development might reveal that Bouzek did not have
actual knowledge of impending harm, see
Dale, 548 F.3d at 569 (“[A]s the vagueness of
a threat increases, the likelihood of actual knowledge of
impending harm decreases.”) (quotation omitted), or an
ability to respond, see Id. (“The ultimate
measure of the adequacy of the response is therefore
reasonableness in light of the surrounding
circumstances.”). Those issues must be left for
Jackson shall be permitted to proceed on a claim of
deliberate indifference to a serious risk to his safety, in
violation of the Eighth ...