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ROSCOM v. CITY OF CHICAGO

November 3, 1982

EVANGELINE ROSCOM, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Evangeline Roscom ("Roscom") has sued the City of Chicago ("City") and certain of its officials (collectively "City defendants") and the County of Cook ("County") and certain of its officials ("individual County defendants") under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"), charging an allegedly unlawful "strip search." City defendants and individual County defendants*fn1 have both moved under Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 12(b)(6) to dismiss Roscom's Amended Complaint (the "Complaint"). For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, City defendants' motion is granted and individual County defendants' motion is denied. However the claim for punitive damages against County itself is stricken.

Facts*fn2

In April 1980 Roscom was arrested on a Chicago streeteorner by Chicago police officers Demetrio Pascual ("Pascual") and Diane Thompson ("Thompson"). Her arrest was pursuant to a warrant charging her with deceptive practices (writing dishonored checks).

Roscom was brought to a police station, questioned on the charges, fingerprinted and placed in a lock-up. Several hours later she experienced severe chest pains and was taken to a hospital emergency room for examination. Upon release from the hospital, Roscom was taken to Cook County Jail, where her admission was processed and she was placed in a cell.

Some time later Roscom was led from the cell with several other female detainees and placed in a room. There she and the others were told to remove all their clothing and bend over in a line before an unidentified sheriff's matron ("Doe").*fn3 Without touching Roscom, Doe conducted a visual search of Roscom's body while Roscom was naked and bent over in a squat position. Roscom seeks $100,000 compensatory and $100,000 punitive damages. She does not seek equitable relief.

City Defendants

Complaint ¶¶ 4-5 allege only that Pascual and Thompson arrested Roscom and Pascual questioned her. Roscom does not challenge the lawfulness of her arrest. More importantly, Roscom does not connect Pascual or Thompson in any way to the assertedly unconstitutional strip search. That gap is fatal to Roscom's claims against City defendants.

In this respect the case is controlled by the principle recently reconfirmed in Crowder v. Lash, 687 F.2d 996, 1005 (7th Cir. 1982):

  To recover damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
  plaintiff must establish defendants' personal
  responsibility for the claimed deprivation of a
  constitutional right.

There is no nexus, either directly or inferentially, between Pascual and Thompson and the claimed constitutional deprivation-the strip search at the County Jail.*fn4

It necessarily follows Roscom has also failed to state a claim against Police Captain John Ryle ("Ryle") or Police Superintendent Richard Brzeczek ("Brzeczek") or City itself. Because no Chicago police officer has been connected to the strip search, no factual predicate exists for potential liability of his or her supervisors (Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371, 96 S.Ct. 598, 604, 46 L.Ed.2d 561 (1976)) or of City (Monell, 486 U.S. at 694-95, 98 S.Ct. at 2037-38).

In sum Roscom's Complaint must be dismissed as to all ...


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