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Al-Kassar v. Bureau of Prisons

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

May 24, 2018

MONZER AL-KASSAR, Plaintiff,
v.
BUREAU OF PRISONS, S. JULIAN Warden, FCC-Terre Haute, FNU RIGSBY Captain, FCC Terre Haute, M. SAMPLE, CLINT SWIFT Manager, FCC-Terre Haute, CMU, EVELYN KELLER Intelligence Research Specialist, FCC-Terre Haute CMU, FNU RODRIGUEZ Lieutenant, FCC-Terre Haute, ROBERT ROLOFF Chaplain, FCC-Terre Haute, FNU MCCOY C/O, FCC-Terre Haute, FNU DUBBINS C/O, FCC-Terre Haute, CORY MILLER C/O, FCC- Terre Haute, FNU SULLIVAN C/O, FCC-Terre Haute, FRANK HART C/O, FCC-Terre Haute, UNKNOWN PARTY Correctional Officers, FCC-Terre Haute, D. MATTHEWS FCC-Terre Haute, N. COLE FCC-Terre Haute, AMY ADAMS Recreation Supervisor, FCC-Terre Haute, Defendants.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING COMPLAINT, DISMISSING INSUFFICIENT CLAIMS, AND DIRECTING SERVICE OF PROCESS

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         I. Screening

         Plaintiff Monzer Al-Kassar is a federal inmate formerly incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Complex at Terre Haute, Indiana (“FCC-TH”). Because the plaintiff is a “prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(h), this Court has an obligation under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) to screen his complaint before service on the defendants. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court must dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. In determining whether the complaint states a claim, the Court applies the same standard as when addressing a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th Cir. 2006). To survive dismissal,

[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. 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.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         Allegations

         The complaint, Dkt. No. 1, was transferred to this Court from the Southern District of Illinois. Mr. Al-Kassar has paid the filing fee.

         Mr. Al-Kassar names sixteen (16) defendants, in addition to seven (7) “Unknown Correctional Officers.” He seeks injunctive relief (in the form of expunging a disciplinary report), and nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages. Because the plaintiff is a federal inmate, his civil rights claims are brought under the theory of Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bur. of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).

         Mr. Al-Kassar is a 72 year old man allegedly serving a 360 month sentence for various conspiracy offenses and money laundering. He alleges that he has ties to the Syrian government and that after he was incarcerated, he refused to assist the United States government in their efforts to overthrow the government of Syria. He alleges that this led to him being tortured by staff at the FCC-TH.

         Mr. Al-Kassar's first claim is that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) violated his due process rights and the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”) when it found him guilty of a disciplinary charge without allowing him to make a statement or call witnesses. He alleges that he was not denied any good time credits.

         Mr. Al-Kassar's second claim is that from September 16, 2016, through October 20, 2016, defendants S. Julian, FNU Rigsby, M. Sample, Clint Swift, Evelyn Keller, FNU Rodriguez, Robert Roloff, FNU McCoy, FNU Dubbins, Cory Miller, FNU Sullivan, Frank Hart, and Amy Adams were aware that he was being held in a hotbox or sweatbox consisting of a 7' x 9' windowless room with no access to natural light that was not cooled or ventilated while the outdoor temperature exceeded 90 degrees. The floor of the room was so hot that he could not stand on it during the daytime. The room was filthy, infested with insects, and had water constantly dripping into it from an upstairs cell. A machine outside the room made constant screeching noises, making sleep and conversation impossible. Dkt. No. 1, p. 32. He further alleges that he asked each of these defendants for medical treatment because he needed prescriptions for high blood pressure and diabetes, but such treatment was deliberately withheld. These claims arise out of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

         Mr. Al-Kassar's third claim is that Evelyn Keller retaliated against him for seeking legal advice from his attorney when she wrote up two false incident reports against him, authorized the use of force and ordered the denial of medical care. These claims arise out of the First and Eighth Amendments.

         Mr. Al-Kassar's fourth claim is brought against Unknown Correctional Officers for entering his cell at midnight on October 19, 2016, physically picking him up off the concrete slab he slept on, shackling him while naked, and walking him through the prison with the intent to humiliate and inflict pain.

         His fifth claim is also against Unknown Correctional Officers for transporting him, after he was dressed, in a 2' x 4' box with a chair and no ...


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