Garrett v. Pinckneyville Correctional Center et al
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Complaint (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that C. BROWN and JANE DOE are DISMISSED from this action without prejudice for fail ure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that PINCKNEYVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER is DISMISSED from this action with prejudice for the reasons stated above. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, should he wish to proceed with this case, Plaintiff shall file a First Amended Complaint, stating any facts which may exist to support a cognizable § 1983 claim, within 28 days of the entry of this order. Should Plaintiff fail to file his First Amended Complaint within the a llotted 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 his claims. (Amended Pleadings due by 5/14/2018). Signed by Judge David R. Herndon on 4/16/2018. (tjk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
Case No. 18 cv–616 DRH
C. BROWN, and
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, District Judge:
Plaintiff Tony Garrett, an inmate in Dixon Correctional Center, brings this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights
that allegedly occurred at Pinckneyville Correctional Center. In his Complaint,
Plaintiff claims the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical
issues in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 1). This case is now before
the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint 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 governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal – On review, the court shall identify
cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the
complaint, if the complaint–
(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, 1026-27 (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.
Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the
Court finds that the Complaint is subject to summary dismissal.
In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations:
1993, he had shrapnel in his knee from a bullet. (Doc. 1, p. 5). It tore ligaments
in his right knee, causing lasting injuries.
While he was incarcerated in
Pinckneyville in 2016, Plaintiff began experiencing severe pain, so he requested
medical attention. Id. He was given ibuprofen for his pain, though he told the
nurse that he could not ingest ibuprofen due to a medical procedure. Id. Because
he could not take the medicine he was given, Plaintiff continued experiencing
pain. Id. He requested medical assistance again and was told that they could
only give him ibuprofen. Id. Plaintiff requested to see a physician, but he “was
denied by HCUS.” Id. He was told to put in for sick call, but “sick call can only
give [Plaintiff] ibuprofen.” Id. There “was no physician at Pinckneyville to help”
Plaintiff with his pain. Id.
Plaintiff requests monetary damages from the defendants. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
The Court need not dig deeply into the merits of Plaintiff’s claims, because
he failed to include specific allegations against any of the named defendants in the
body of his Complaint. 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 (2007); FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2). Where a
plaintiff has not included a defendant in his statement of claim, the defendant
cannot be said to be adequately put on notice of which claims in the complaint, if
any, are directed against him.
Furthermore, merely invoking the name of a
potential defendant is not sufficient to state a claim against that individual. See
Collins v. Kibort, 143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th Cir. 1998). And in the case of those
defendants in supervisory positions, the doctrine of respondeat superior is not
applicable to § 1983 actions. Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 740 (7th Cir.
2001) (citations omitted).
Further, Plaintiff’s claims against Pinckneyville Correctional Center are
otherwise barred because IDOC, as a state agency, is not a “person” that may be
sued under § 1983. Thomas v. Illinois, 697 F.3d 612, 613 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing
Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 70–71 (1989)); see also 42 U.S .C.
§ 1983 (“Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation,
custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects,
or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within
the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an
action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress . . . .”). For
the same reason, Plaintiff cannot maintain a suit for damages against
Pinckneyville Correctional Center, as it is a division of IDOC.
Based on the foregoing, Brown and Jane Doe will be dismissed from this
action without prejudice, and Pinckneyville Correctional Center will be dismissed
With no defendants remaining, the Complaint will also be
dismissed without prejudice.
This matter is before the Court to consider Plaintiff’s motion for
appointment of counsel (Doc. 3). There is no constitutional or statutory right to
appointment of counsel in federal civil cases. Romanelli v. Suliene, 615 F.3d 847,
851 (7th Cir. 2010). Federal District Courts have discretion under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(1) to request counsel to assist pro se litigants. Id. When presented with
a request to appoint counsel, the Court must consider: “(1) has the indigent
plaintiff made a reasonable attempt to obtain counsel or been effectively
precluded from doing so; and if so, (2) given the difficulty of the case, does the
plaintiff appear competent to litigate it himself [.]” Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647,
654 (7th Cir. 2007).
With regard to the first step of the inquiry, Plaintiff claims that he contacted
the Center for Health Justice and another legal aid organization and that he has
received no response. (Doc. 3). Plaintiff has not attached any documentation of
these requests, however, so the Court is unable to determine whether Plaintiff’s
attempts at requesting counsel were reasonable. Concerning the second step of
the inquiry, “the difficulty of the case is considered against the plaintiff’s litigation
capabilities, and those capabilities are examined in light of the challenges specific
to the case at hand.” Pruitt, 503 F.3d at 655. In this case, Plaintiff’s claims do not
appear to be that factually complex. He claims he was in a great deal of pain and
that the medical providers at Pinckneyville failed to adequately treat him.
From a legal standpoint, the litigation of any constitutional claim falls in the
complex range. Even so, Plaintiff’s Complaint adequately articulates his claims,
though he has failed to specifically associate any defendants with them thus far.
Plaintiff also claims that he has received some college education, and he did not
indicate that his ability to speak, write, and/or read English is limited. (Doc. 3).
Based on the foregoing, this Court concludes that Plaintiff appears to be
competent to litigate his case on his own at this time. Future developments in
this case may alter the Court’s decision, but at this early stage in the litigation,
Plaintiff’s motion for appointment of counsel will be DENIED without prejudice.
Plaintiff may choose to re-file this motion at a later stage in the litigation.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Complaint (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED
without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that C. BROWN and JANE DOE are
DISMISSED from this action without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that PINCKNEYVILLE CORRECTIONAL
CENTER is DISMISSED from this action with prejudice for the reasons stated
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, should he wish to proceed with this case,
Plaintiff shall file a First Amended Complaint, stating any facts which may exist to
support a cognizable § 1983 claim, within 28 days of the entry of this order.
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 his claims.
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)
because Plaintiff has thus far failed to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted in this case.
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. 18-cv-616-DRH).
The pleading shall
present each claim in a separate count, and each count shall specify, by name, the
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 one another will be severed into new cases, new case numbers will
be assigned, and additional filing fees will be assessed.
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 $350.00
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
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.
United States District Judge
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