Teen v. Smith
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the COMPLAINT, including COUNTS 4 and 5, is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, should he wish to proceed with this case, Plaintiff shall fi le his First Amended Complaint within 28 days of the entry of this order. Should Plaintiff fail to file his First Amended Complaint within the allotted time the entire case shall be dismissed with prejudice for failure to comply with a court order and/or for failure to prosecute. (Amended Pleadings due by 12/6/2017). Signed by Judge J. Phil Gilbert on 11/7/2017. (tjk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
ANTRELL A. TEEN,
Case No. 17-cv-916-JPG
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
GILBERT, District Judge:
In Teen v. St. Clair County Jail et al., Case No. 17-cv-594-JPG (S.D. Ill. June 5, 2017)
(“Original Action”), Plaintiff Antrell A. Teen, an apparent pretrial detainee incarcerated at St.
Clair County Jail (“Jail”), brought suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his
constitutional rights that allegedly occurred at St. Clair County Jail. Pursuant to George v. Smith,
507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007), two conditions of confinement claims pertaining to boil orders
issued at the Jail in February 2016 (Count 4 directed against unspecified parties) and February
2017 (Count 5 directed against Smith) were severed from that initial action to form the basis for
this action, Case No. 17-cv-916-JPG.
This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of that claims pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
(a) Screening – The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any
event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a
prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a
(b) Grounds for Dismissal – On review, the court shall identify
cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.
An action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.”
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers
to a claim that any reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 102627 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not
plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross “the line
between possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the
pro se Complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577
F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
After fully considering the relevant allegations in Plaintiff’s Complaint, the Court
concludes that this action is subject to summary dismissal.
The allegations in Plaintiff’s Complaint (Doc. 2) relevant to this severed action are as
On February 18-19, 2016, St. Clair County had a boil order in effect. (Doc. 2, p. 4).
Plaintiff was not notified that the water was unsafe to drink, and he did not receive fresh water
until the last day of the boil order after he complained. Id. There were no announcements made
or signs placed instructing inmates not to drink the water. Id. Plaintiff put in sick call forms to
the nurse on February 18 for nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and vomiting, but he was never seen
by medical. Id. Plaintiff asked C.O. Riley Rilo about procedures during boil orders, but he was
unresponsive. Id. Plaintiff believes the supervisors and administrators on duty at the time are at
fault for knowing of the boil order and not acting. Id.
On February 2, 2017, there was another boil order in effect for St. Clair County. Plaintiff
was not notified that the water was unsafe to drink. Id. Plaintiff became aware of the order while
watching the news. Id. At that point, he began to complain, and requested bottled water from
Nurse Barbara, though she denied his request. Id. C.O. Smith then told Plaintiff that the boil
order was not for “this county” and that the water was safe to drink. Id. Plaintiff relayed what he
had just heard on the news and requested to speak to a supervisor. Id. C.O. Smith left the area.
Id. C.O. Green then came on the intercom and told inmates not to drink the water. Id. Fresh
water was later brought to Plaintiff’s cell block. Id. Plaintiff’s “medical issues were not treated.”
In its Severance Order (Doc. 1), the Court designated the following counts to be severed
into this pro se action. The parties and the Court will continue to use this designation in all future
pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court.
Count 4 –
Unconstitutional conditions of confinement claim against unspecified
parties for subjecting Plaintiff to health risks from water under a boil order
at the Jail in February 2016.
Count 5 -
Unconstitutional conditions of confinement claim against Smith for
subjecting Plaintiff to health risks from water under a boil order at the Jail
in February 2017.
The allegations in Count 4 are not associated with any specific defendant. Plaintiffs are
required to associate specific defendants with specific claims, so that defendants are put on
notice of the claims brought against them and so they can properly answer the complaint. See
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007);
FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2). Thus, in order to pursue Count 4, Plaintiff must specifically identify, by
name or Doe designation, the individual or individuals associated with this claim. Plaintiff has
not done this. Accordingly, Count 4 shall be dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a
The applicable legal standard for Plaintiff's claim depends on his status as a pretrial
detainee or prisoner. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment governs the claims
of a pretrial detainee, and the Eighth Amendment applies to claims of prisoners. See Smith v.
Dart, 803 F.3d 304, 312 (7th Cir. 2015) (citing Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 135 S. Ct. 2466, 2475
(2015); Budd v. Motley, 711 F.3d 840, 842 (7th Cir. 2013)). Although a convicted prisoner is
entitled to freedom from conditions that amount to “cruel and unusual punishment,” a pretrial
detainee is entitled to be free from conditions that constitute “punishment.” Bell v. Wolfish, 441
U.S. 520, 535 (1979); Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). Plaintiff, it appears, was a
pretrial detainee during the relevant time period.
There is little practical difference between the standards that are applicable to pretrial
detainees and convicted prisoners for claims involving the conditions of confinement. Claims
brought under the Fourteenth Amendment are “appropriately analyzed under the Eighth
Amendment.” Dart, 803 F.3d at 310 (citing Smego v. Mitchell, 723 F.3d 752, 756 (7th Cir.
2013) (“[T]he protection afforded under [the Due Process Clause] is functionally
indistinguishable from the Eighth Amendment's protection for convicted prisoners.”)).
A prison official's deliberate indifference to an inmate's health or safety may violate the
Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 834, 114 S.Ct. 1970, 128 L.Ed.2d 811 (1994). The inmate must allege both an objective and
a subjective component of the claim. To satisfy the objective component, the alleged deprivation
must be “sufficiently serious”; that is, it must expose the inmate to a “substantial risk of serious
harm.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). To satisfy the subjective element, the prison
official must have acted with deliberate indifference to the inmate's 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. at 837, 114 S.Ct. 1970. With
respect to claims related to contaminated water, “[j]ust as correctional officers cannot deprive
inmates of nutritional food, they cannot deprive inmates of drinkable water.” Smith v. Dart, 803
F.3d 304, 313 (7th Cir. 2015).
Plaintiff has failed to satisfy both components of his deliberate indifference conditions of
confinement claim. With respect to the objective component, Plaintiff claims he learned about
the boil order when he was watching the news. (Doc. 1, p. 4). He asked Nurse Barbara for
bottled water, but she refused his request. Id. Plaintiff claims that C.O. Smith then indicated that
the boil order was not for “this county” and the water was safe to drink. Id. Plaintiff relayed what
he heard on the news and asked to speak to a supervisor. Id. C.O. Smith left and C.O. Green
subsequently made an announcement telling the inmates not to drink the water. Id. After the
announcement, fresh water was delivered to Plaintiff’s cell block. Id. Plaintiff claims that his
“medical issues were not treated.” Id.
The Court finds that the situation Plaintiff describes is not so objectively egregious as to
rise to the level of a denial of the “minimal civilized measure of life's necessities” that would
create a substantial risk to his health. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834, 114 S.Ct. 1970,
128 L.Ed.2d 811 (1994). Instead, he experienced the type of “occasional discomfort” that is “part
of the penalty that criminal offenders pay for their offenses against society.” Lunsford v. Bennett,
17 F.3d 1574,1581 (7th Cir. 1994) (quoting Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981)). He
does not describe his “medical issues” in any detail. He also does not allege that he actually
drank contaminated water or, if he did, that it caused him any lasting problems. Further,
according to the Complaint, Plaintiff received fresh drinking water shortly after bringing the
issue to C.O. Smith’s attention. As such, the Court finds the objective component unsatisfied for
With respect to the subjective component, Plaintiff claims that initially C.O. Smith did
not believe the boil order was for “this county” and told the inmates the water was safe to drink.
This suggests that C.O. Smith was simply mistaken; it does not imply that he acted maliciously,
with the intent to harm Plaintiff, or even with any knowledge that potential harm could result.
Moreover, shortly after Plaintiff relayed additional information to C.O. Smith, an announcement
was made directing the inmates not to drink the water and fresh water was delivered tot Plaintiff.
These allegations fall far short of suggesting Smith was deliberately indifferent toward Plaintiff.
For these reasons, Count 5 shall be dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the COMPLAINT, including COUNTS 4 and 5, is
DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, should he wish to proceed with this case, Plaintiff
shall file his First Amended Complaint, stating any facts which may exist to support his
conditions of confinement claims pertaining to boil orders at the jail in February 2016 and
February 2017, within 28 days of the entry of this order (on or before December 6, 2017). Should
Plaintiff fail to file his First Amended Complaint within the allotted time or consistent with the
instructions set forth in this Order, the entire case shall be dismissed with prejudice for failure to
comply with a court order and/or for failure to prosecute. FED. R. APP. P. 41(b). See generally
Ladien v. Astrachan, 128 F.3d 1051 (7th Cir. 1997); Johnson v. Kamminga, 34 F.3d 466 (7th Cir.
1994); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Such dismissal shall count as one of Plaintiff’s three allotted
“strikes” within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
Should Plaintiff decide to file a First Amended Complaint, it is strongly recommended
that he use the forms designed for use in this District for such actions. He should label the form,
“First Amended Complaint,” and he should use the case number for this action (i.e. 17-cv-916JPG). The pleading shall present each claim in a separate count, and each count shall specify, by
name, each defendant alleged to be liable under the count, as well as the actions alleged to have
been taken by that defendant. Plaintiff should attempt to include the facts of his case in
chronological order, inserting each defendant’s name where necessary to identify the actors.
Plaintiff should refrain from filing unnecessary exhibits. Plaintiff should include only related
claims in his new complaint. Claims found to be unrelated to the deliberate indifference claim
will be severed into new cases, new case numbers will be assigned, and additional filing fees will
An amended complaint supersedes and replaces the original complaint, rendering the
original complaint void. See Flannery v. Recording Indus. Ass’n of Am., 354 F.3d 632, 638 n.1
(7th Cir. 2004). The Court will not accept piecemeal amendments to a complaint. Thus, the First
Amended Complaint must stand on its own, without reference to any previous pleading, and
Plaintiff must re-file any exhibits he wishes the Court to consider along with the First Amended
Complaint. The First Amended Complaint is subject to review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
No service shall be ordered on any defendant until after the Court completes its § 1915A review
of the First Amended Complaint.
Plaintiff is further ADVISED that his obligation to pay the filing fee for this action was
incurred at the time the action was filed, thus the filing fee of $350.001 remains due and payable,
regardless of whether Plaintiff elects to file a First Amended Complaint. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1); Lucien v. Jockisch, 133 F.3d 464, 467 (7th Cir. 1998).
Finally, Plaintiff is ADVISED that he is under a continuing obligation to keep the Clerk
of Court and each opposing party informed of any change in his address; the Court will not
independently investigate his whereabouts. This shall be done in writing and not later than
7 days after a transfer or other change in address occurs. Failure to comply with this order will
cause a delay in the transmission of court documents and may result in dismissal of this action
for want of prosecution. See FED. R. CIV. P. 41(b).
In order to assist Plaintiff in preparing his amended complaint, the Clerk is DIRECTED
to mail Plaintiff a blank civil rights complaint form.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: November 7, 2017
s/J. Phil Gilbert
U.S. District Judge
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1914, effective May 1, 2013, an additional $50.00 administrative fee is also to
be assessed in all civil actions, unless pauper status has been granted.
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