Sturgeon v. Woodford County, IL Jail et al
MERIT REVIEW ORDER entered by Judge James E. Shadid on 11/16/2020. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED: 1) Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and as a violation of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules o f Civil Procedure. 2) Plaintiff must file an amended complaint in compliance with this order within 21 days or on or before December 8, 2020. If Plaintiff fails to file his amended complaint on or before December 8, 2020, or fails to follow the Court's directions, his case may be dismissed. 3) The Clerk is to provide Plaintiff with a blank complaint form to assist him and reset the internal merit review deadline within 21 days. SEE FULL WRITTEN ORDER.(SAG, ilcd)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
WOODFORD COUNTY JAIL, et. al.,
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
JAMES E. SHADID, U.S. District Judge:
This cause is before the Court for merit review of the Plaintiff’s complaint. The
Court is required by 28 U.S.C. §1915A to “screen” the Plaintiff’s complaint, and through
such process to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if
warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant
who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §1915A.
Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, has identified three Defendants including Graham
Correctional Center, the Mason County Jail, and the Woodford County Jail. . Plaintiff
says he wishes to file a lawsuit because each location is “dirty,” “staff conduct is
dangerous,” and he now has a skin disease. (Comp, p. 2, 7). There are several problems
with Plaintiff’s complaint.
First, Plaintiff cannot combine his claims against different individuals at different
facilities in one complaint. See George v Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007)(“multiple
claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be
Monday, 16 November, 2020 03:14:46 PM
Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
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joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2). Instead, Plaintiff must file three
separate lawsuits and pay three separate filing fees if he wishes to pursue litigation
concerning his stay at all three institutions.
Second, Plaintiff cannot sue a jail or a correctional center because they are
buildings and not a person capable of being sued pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. See White
v. Knight, 710 F. App'x 260, 262 (7th Cir. 2018); Laughman v. Baker, 2020 WL 5653397, at
*1 (S.D.Ind. Sept. 23, 2020). Plaintiff must instead identify the specific individuals who
violated his constitutional rights.
For instance, to hold a person liable under Section 1983, Plaintiff must “show that
the defendants were personally responsible for the deprivation of their rights.” Wilson v.
Warren Cty., Illinois, 2016 WL 3878215, at *3 (7th Cir. 2016). “A defendant is personally
responsible ‘if the conduct causing the constitutional deprivation occurs at his direction
or with his knowledge and consent.’” Id. quoting Gentry v. Duckworth, 65 F.3d 555, 561
(7th Cir. 1995). In addition, the mere fact that a defendant was a supervisor is
insufficient to establish liability because the doctrine of respondeat superior (supervisor
liability) does not apply to actions filed under 42 USC §1983. See Smith v. Gomez, 550
F.3d 613, 616 (7th Cir. 2008)(supervisor liability not permitted under § 1983); Pacelli v.
DeVito, 972 F.2d 871, 877 (7th Cir. 1992)( Supervisors are not liable for the errors of their
Third, Plaintiff must provide more than a general statement of his claims and
instead must provide a brief factual basis. Factual allegations in a complaint must
provide enough detail to give “‘fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon
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which it rests.’” EEOC v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007),
quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)(add'l citation omitted). For
instance, if Plaintiff believes the living conditions at the Woodford County Jail violated
his constitutional rights, he should state when he was at the jail, what cell or housing
unit he was in, and describe the conditions as well as the impact those conditions had
on him. In addition, Plaintiff should name Defendants who knew about the conditions,
but chose not to do anything.
Plaintiff is also reminded before he can pursue any claim in Federal Court, he
must be able to demonstrate he exhausted all available administrative remedies. See 42
U.S.C. §1997e(a). In other words, if a facility had a grievance procedure and Plaintiff
was able to use it, then Plaintiff must demonstrate he filed a grievance concerning his
allegations and filed the necessary appeals.
The Court also notes Plaintiff has submitted separate filings which includes
various exhibits. [4, 10]. The filings do not clarify his intended claims and include
unrelated information concerning his arrest. Plaintiff must instead clearly state his
claims in his complaint and should not attach exhibits.
Therefore, Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted and as a violation of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. The Court will allow Plaintiff additional time to file an amended complaint
in compliance with this order. Plaintiff must decide if he wishes to pursue his claims
against Graham Correctional Center or the Mason County Jail or the Woodford County
Jail in this lawsuit. Any claims must be limited to the institution Plaintiff chooses. The
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amended complaint must stand on its own, include all claims and Defendants, and not
refer to any previous complaint or filing.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
1) Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted and as a violation of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
2) Plaintiff must file an amended complaint in compliance with this order within
21 days or on or before December 8, 2020. If Plaintiff fails to file his amended
complaint on or before December 8, 2020, or fails to follow the Court’s directions,
his case may be dismissed.
3) The Clerk is to provide Plaintiff with a blank complaint form to assist him and
reset the internal merit review deadline within 21 days.
ENTERED this 16th day of November, 2020.
s/James E. Shadid
JAMES E. SHADID
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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