services were refused suffices to allege their personal involvement.
Defendants protest that "it is well settled in this District that letters or grievances sent to prison officials are insufficient to establish personal involvement." Def. Mem. at 4. Opinions of district judges are not precedential, and there are opinions to the contrary. See Gordon v. Sheahan, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3508, 96 C 1784, 1997 WL 136699 (N.D. Ill. 1997) (Manning, J.); Isaac v. Fairman, 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1828, 92 C 3875, 1994 WL 63219 (N.D. Ill. 1994)(Aspen, J.); Walton v. Fairman, 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4157, No. 92 C 1618, 1993 WL 96427 (N.D. Ill. 1993) (Williams, J.). The Seventh Circuit has stated that an executive could be liable because he "knew of the actions of his subordinates which resulted in a constitutional violation" and "failed to take any preventive action." Smith v. Rowe, 761 F.2d 360, 369 (7th Cir. 1985) (quoted in Black v. Lane, 22 F.3d 1395, 1401 (7th Cir. 1994)). Although Crowder v. Lash, 687 F.2d 996, 1005 (7th Cir. 1982), held that informing the Director of the Department of Corrections of a constitutional violation in one of the prisons under his supervision did not establish personal liability, this is a different situation; defendant Sheahan supervises only one institution. See Radick v. Hardiman, 588 F. Supp. 932, 935-36 (N.D. Ill. 1984) (Marshall, J.). If a supervisor knows of a constitutional violation, has the power to correct it, and has no reason to suppose that his subordinates will correct it, he should be liable if he fails to act.
We agree, however, with the defendants that both the complaint and the amended complaint fail to properly allege claims against them in their official capacities. A claim against a public employee is his or her official capacity is in effect a claim against his or her employer, in this case Cook County. As such, it must be based on some policy or custom of Cook County. Lanigan, 110 F.3d at 478-79. The complaint does not allege a policy. The closest Alexander comes to alleging any kind of official or unofficial policy with respect to Islamic services is his statement that he was told by Chaplain Smith that "numerous divisions within the Cook County Jail did not provide any type of Islamic Services" and that "refusal to provide Islamic Services throughout the Cook County Jail was widespread." Amd. Cmplt. PP10-11. It is not reasonable to infer that because Islamic Services are unavailable in many -- but apparently not all -- units of the Jail that there is a Cook County policy prohibiting such services. Although Sheriff Sheahan, unlike unit superintendent Russell, is a policymaking official for Cook County, his refusal to intervene in an individual case, without more, does not represent policymaking action that would render Cook County liable. See Hirsch v. Burke, 40 F.3d 900, 904 (7th Cir. 1994).
Accordingly, the motion to dismiss the initial complaint is granted without opposition, and Alexander may proceed on the amended complaint as to claims against the defendants in their individual capacities only. The prayer for prospective relief is stricken. The defendants are directed to answer the First Amended Complaint within thirty days of this order.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
HARRY D. LEINENWEBER, Judge
United States District Court
DATED: March 16, 1998
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