Mattix v. DeWitt County et al
MERIT REVIEW OPINION. The Court will attempt service on Defendants. Clerk is directed to add DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner and DeWitt County Jail Administrator Betty Smith as Defendants and to enter the standard qualified protective order pursuant to HIPAA. Rule 16 Deadline is 12/12/2016. SEE WRITTEN OPINION. Entered by Judge Sue E. Myerscough on 10/11/2016. (SKN, ilcd)
Tuesday, 11 October, 2016 02:39:53 PM
Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
DEWITT COUNTY, et al.,
MERIT REVIEW OPINION
SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiff proceeds pro se from his incarceration in the Cook
County Jail. His Complaint is before the Court for a merit review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. This section requires the Court to
identify cognizable claims stated by the Complaint or dismiss
claims that are not cognizable.1 In reviewing the complaint, the
Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing
them in Plaintiff's favor and taking Plaintiff’s pro se status into
account. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013).
However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient.
A prisoner who has had three prior actions dismissed for failure to state a claim or as frivolous or malicious can
no longer proceed in forma pauperis unless the prisoner is under “imminent danger of serious physical injury.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g).
Page 1 of 7
Enough facts must be provided to "'state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face.'" Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th
Cir. 2013)(quoted cite omitted).
Plaintiff alleges that he was transferred from the Cook County
Jail to the DeWitt County Jail in January 2015 without a court
order. Plaintiff was strip searched on his arrival at the DeWitt
County Jail. Only detainees who transfer in from Cook County Jail
are strip searched at the DeWitt County Jail. Federal detainees and
other detainees are not strip searched.
Strip searches of detainees entering the general population of
a jail are constitutional if supported by legitimate security concerns,
but the strip searches must be conducted in a professional manner
and be applied uniformly. Florence v. Burlington County, 132 S.Ct.
1510 (2012)(finding constitutional strip searches of all detainees
before placement in general population). A strip search of only
some but not other detainees may be unconstitutional. Fonder v.
Kankakee County, 823 F.3d 1144 (7th Cir. 2016)(reversing summary
judgment where evidence allowed inference that strip search policy
was selectively enforced). At this stage, Plaintiff has stated a
Page 2 of 7
plausible claim that the strip search conducted of him was
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28
U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court finds that Plaintiff states a claim that he
was strip searched unconstitutionally at the DeWitt County Jail.
This case proceeds solely on the claims identified in this paragraph.
Any additional claims shall not be included in the case, except at
the Court’s discretion on motion by a party for good cause shown or
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.
This case is now in the process of service. Plaintiff is
advised to wait until counsel has appeared for Defendants before
filing any motions, in order to give Defendants notice and an
opportunity to respond to those motions. Motions filed before
Defendants' counsel has filed an appearance will generally be
denied as premature. Plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the
Court at this time, unless otherwise directed by the Court.
The Court will attempt service on Defendants by mailing
each Defendant a waiver of service. Defendants have 60 days from
the date the waiver is sent to file an Answer. If Defendants have not
Page 3 of 7
filed Answers or appeared through counsel within 90 days of the
entry of this order, Plaintiff may file a motion requesting the status
of service. After Defendants have been served, the Court will enter
an order setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.
With respect to a Defendant who no longer works at the
address provided by Plaintiff, the entity for whom that Defendant
worked while at that address shall provide to the Clerk said
Defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said
Defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be used
only for effectuating service. Documentation of forwarding
addresses shall be retained only by the Clerk and shall not be
maintained in the public docket nor disclosed by the Clerk.
Defendants shall file an answer within 60 days of the
date the waiver is sent by the Clerk. A motion to dismiss is not an
answer. The answer should include all defenses appropriate under
the Federal Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings shall be
to the issues and claims stated in this Opinion. In general, an
answer sets forth Defendants' positions. The Court does not rule
on the merits of those positions unless and until a motion is filed by
Page 4 of 7
Defendants. Therefore, no response to the answer is necessary or
will be considered.
This District uses electronic filing, which means that,
after Defense counsel has filed an appearance, Defense counsel will
automatically receive electronic notice of any motion or other paper
filed by Plaintiff with the Clerk. Plaintiff does not need to mail to
Defense counsel copies of motions and other papers that Plaintiff
has filed with the Clerk. However, this does not apply to discovery
requests and responses. Discovery requests and responses are not
filed with the Clerk. Plaintiff must mail his discovery requests and
responses directly to Defendants' counsel. Discovery requests or
responses sent to the Clerk will be returned unfiled, unless they are
attached to and the subject of a motion to compel. Discovery does
not begin until Defense counsel has filed an appearance and the
Court has entered a scheduling order, which will explain the
discovery process in more detail.
Counsel for Defendants is hereby granted leave to depose
Plaintiff at his place of confinement. Counsel for Defendants shall
arrange the time for the deposition.
Page 5 of 7
Plaintiff shall immediately notify the Court, in writing, of
any change in his mailing address and telephone number.
Plaintiff's failure to notify the Court of a change in mailing address
or phone number will result in dismissal of this lawsuit, with
If a Defendants fails to sign and return a waiver of service
to the clerk within 30 days after the waiver is sent, the Court will
take appropriate steps to effect formal service through the U.S.
Marshal's service on that Defendant and will require that Defendant
to pay the full costs of formal service pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 4(d)(2).
Within 10 days of receiving from Defendants' counsel an
authorization to release medical records, Plaintiff is directed to sign
and return the authorization to Defendants' counsel.
The clerk is directed to add DeWitt County Sheriff
Jered Shofner and DeWitt County Jail Administrator Betty
Smith as Defendants.
The clerk is directed to enter the standard order
granting Plaintiff's in forma pauperis petition and assessing an
Page 6 of 7
initial partial filing fee, if not already done, and to attempt
service on Defendants pursuant to the standard procedures.
The Clerk is directed to enter the standard qualified
protective order pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability
and Accountability Act.
FOR THE COURT:
s/Sue E. Myerscough
SUE E. MYERSCOUGH
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Page 7 of 7
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?