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JOHNSON v. LANE
October 29, 1984
MAURICE JOHNSON, PLAINTIFF,
MICHAEL LANE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bua, District Judge.
Plaintiff, formerly incarcerated at Stateville Correctional
Center, brings this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff charges six prison employees with violation of
his constitutional rights in connection with the issuance of an
order disapproving plaintiff's wife and another individual as
visitors. Plaintiff alleges that defendants' conduct was
racially motivated. Before the Court is the motion to dismiss
of Michael P. Lane, Director of the Illinois Department of
Corrections, and Richard DeRobertis, Warden of Stateville
Correctional Center during the period in which plaintiff's
claims arose.*fn1 For the reasons set forth herein, the
motion is granted.
In order for liability to arise under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must establish a defendant's direct personal
responsibility for the claimed deprivation of a constitutional
right. Duncan v. Duckworth, 644 F.2d 653, 655 (7th Cir.
1981). In the instant case, plaintiff seeks to hold Lane liable
for allegedly unconstitutional visitation restrictions on the
ground that Lane is responsible for the actions of his
subordinates. But Lane's supervisory responsibility is
insufficient to constitute personal involvement and therefore
liability will not be imposed vicariously upon a theory of
respondeat superior. Id.
The exhibits plaintiff has submitted in support of his
complaint do not cure the defect. It appears from the exhibits
that plaintiff provided Lane with copies of grievances
plaintiff had filed with the Institutional Inquiry Board and
with defendant Assistant Warden Michael O'Leary. That Lane may
have been apprised of the claimed misconduct of subordinates
does not, however, subject him to personal liability. The
Seventh Circuit, in Crowder v. Lash, 687 F.2d 996, 1006 (7th
Cir. 1982), rejected such a broad theory of liability that
would "hold any well informed Commissioner of Corrections
personally liable for damages flowing from any constitutional
violation occurring at any jail within that Commissioner's
jurisdiction." Id. (Emphasis in original.) The court stated
that such a theory of liability would be "inconsistent with the
personal responsibility requirement. . . ." Id.
Plaintiff likewise has failed to allege sufficiently personal
involvement on the part of DeRobertis. Plaintiff merely alleges
that DeRobertis was apprised of the matter but failed to
intervene. The complaint and exhibits give no indication that
DeRobertis participated personally in the challenged actions or
that the alleged misconduct occurred at his direction or with
his express consent. See Crowder, supra, 687 F.2d at 1006.
Nothing in the complaint or exhibits suggests that DeRobertis'
position in the prison hierarchy imposed upon him a duty to
Accordingly, the motion to dismiss as to defendants Lane and
DeRobertis is granted.
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