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LANDFAIR v. SHEAHAN

February 22, 1995

ALBERT LANDFAIR, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL SHEAHAN, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARVIN E. ASPEN

 MARVIN E. ASPEN, District Judge:

 Plaintiff Albert Landfair brings this pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 against Michael Sheahan, Sheriff of Cook County, J.W. Fairman, Executive Director of the Cook County Department of Corrections, Ernesto Velasco, Superintendent of Cook County Jail, Officer Yvette Houser and Paramedic Marla Flood (collectively "Defendants"). Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint, and for the reasons set forth below their motion is granted in part and denied in part.

 I. Background

 Landfair was a pretrial detainee at the Cook County Jail ("CCJ") in 1993-94. He claims in his original and amended complaint that various conditions at the CCJ were so atrocious as to violate his constitutional rights. First, he claims that although his tier was designed for only forty persons, as many as ninety-five inmates have been housed there at one time. Such crowding has led authorities to place up to three inmates into a cell, and forced Landfair to sleep on the floor. Plaintiff also asserts that CCJ officials have failed to provide "the minimum amount of medical care, towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrush or a means to even wash the soiled or smelly clothing" he is given to wear, presumably because of the crowded conditions at CCJ.

 Third, plaintiff alleges that Paramedic Flood refused to provide him with a prescribed foot soak medication, as well as aspirin or cold tablets. Also with regard to defendant Flood, plaintiff complains that on two occasions his prescription contained the wrong date and one other time it did not contain a physician's signature. *fn2"

 Fourth, plaintiff complains that the food served at the CCJ is unsanitary, and that the restroom and dayroom of his tier contained exposed electrical wires. However, Landfair admits that the wires were repaired in May 1994.

 Fifth, he claims that defendant Houser took revenge on him for complaining about her failure to allow a paramedic to enter the tier by (1) restricting television viewing, (2) not turning the showers on, (3) restricting phone privileges, and (4) "shaking-down" all the inmates, and informing them that Landfair's complaint was the reason for this treatment. Plaintiff also complains that he was the last person in his tier to be served a meal, and he was prevented from receiving visitors or shopping at the commissary during the week prior to his transfer to the Joliet Correctional Center in May 1994, all as part of his punishment for filing the grievance. *fn3" He seeks both injunctive and monetary relief for these alleged violations.

 Defendants have moved to dismiss Landfair's complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Plaintiff has responded with a brief in opposition and an affidavit reaffirming the allegations of his complaint. Believing that this affidavit transforms defendants' motion into one for summary judgment, Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b), *fn4" plaintiff has also moved under Rule 56(f) to "stay the proceedings until discovery can be conducted.". However, because defendants' motion attacks the legal sufficiency of plaintiff's complaint we need not consider his affidavit in deciding that issue. Rather, in keeping with the spirit of Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652, 92 S. Ct. 594 (1972), we will consider his pleadings amended by the additional allegations in his affidavit. Consequently, we deny plaintiff's Rule 56(f) motion and consider the merits of defendants' motion.

 II. Discussion

 A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) should not be granted "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claims which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957); Johnson v. Martin, 943 F.2d 15, 16 (7th Cir. 1991). At this stage in the litigation, we take plaintiff's version of the facts alleged in the complaint to be true and construe all reasonable inferences in his favor. Bane v. Ferguson, 890 F.2d 11, 13 (7th Cir. 1989). While complaints drafted by pro se litigants are not held to the same standards as those written by practicing attorneys, Kelley v. McGinnis, 899 F.2d 612, 616 n.8 (7th Cir. 1990), complaints based on unsupported conclusions of fact and conclusions of law are not sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. Cushing v. Chicago, 3 F.3d 1156, 1160-61 n.5 (7th Cir. 1993); Watters v. Harris, 656 F.2d 234, 240 (7th Cir. 1980).

 Conditions of confinement claims brought by pretrial detainees are evaluated under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects against the imposition of "punishment" prior to an adjudication of guilt. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535, 60 L. Ed. 2d 447, 99 S. Ct. 1861 (1979). Analysis of a pretrial detainee's claims are two-pronged: (1) prison officials must act with deliberate indifference--intentional or with criminally reckless conduct--in order for the subjective component to be satisfied, Salazar v. Chicago, 940 F.2d 233, 237-39 (7th Cir. 1991), and (2) the alleged deprivations must be sufficiently serious to offend the objective component of the Due Process Clause. Hines v. Sheahan, 845 F. Supp. 1265, 1267 (N.D. Ill. 1994); see also Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 115 L. Ed. 2d 271, 111 S. Ct. 2321 (1991). With regard to conditions of confinement claims, the objective prong is essentially the same as the inquiry ...


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