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ANTON v. SHERIFF OF DUPAGE COUNTY

May 5, 1999

STANLEY ANTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE SHERIFF OF DUPAGE COUNTY, ILLINOIS, JOHN ZARUBA, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY, DEPUTY KRETOVIC, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY, DEPUTY ZAMORA, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY, AND COUNTY OF DUPAGE, ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS.



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

    MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Stanley Anton, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Kretovic and Zamora, two DuPage County Sheriff's Office Deputies; Defendant Zaruba, Sheriff of DuPage County, Illinois; and the County of DuPage, Illinois. Anton alleges that, as a pretrial detainee, he was subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement at the DuPage County Jail. He also claims that Kretovic and Zamora conspired to interfere with his civil rights by withholding medical attention and adequate heat. Finally, Anton claims that Sheriff Zaruba and the County of DuPage, Illinois, are liable for any judgment against Kretovic and Zamora pursuant to the Illinois Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act ("Tort Immunity Act"). 745 ILCS 10/9-102. Currently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss Anton's claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. RELEVANT FACTS

The facts recited below are taken from Anton's pleadings, which the Court assumes to be true for purposes of this opinion.

On August 24, 1998, while a pretrial detainee at the DuPage County Jail, Anton tried to commit suicide and was placed on suicide watch. Anton's clothing was removed and he was placed in a rubberized cell. Pursuant to the suicide watch, Guards Kretovic and Zamora checked on Anton every 15 minutes. While in the cell, Anton alleges he became extremely cold and complained of the cold to the guards, renewing his complaints each time they checked on him. Anton claims that Kretovic and Zamora responded to his complaints with laughter and ridicule.

After a few hours passed he requested an emergency visit from a nurse, and Kretovic and Zamora told him a nurse would be notified. Anton alleges that only after he informed Kretovic and Zamora that failure to provide medical attention to an inmate is a felony — approximately two hours after he first requested medical attention — did the guards notify a nurse regarding Anton's complaints. Two nurses arrived and, after discovering Anton's body temperature was three degrees below normal, gave Anton a blanket. But when the nurses left, Kretovic and Zamora removed the blanket. Later, when Anton broke into sobs they gave him a different blanket. Still later, a maintenance worker arrived to take a reading of the cell temperature and, based upon this reading, placed a fan in the open doorway of Anton's cell to remove the cold air. Anton alleges it took four hours for the cell temperature to return to normal.

In Count I of his complaint, Anton claims that the defendants violated his constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, Anton alleges that Kretovic and Zamora deprived him of adequate medical attention and subjected him to an unlawfully cold cell. In Count II, Anton alleges that Kretovic and Zamora conspired to interfere with his Fourteenth Amendment rights by conspiring to withhold adequate heat and medical care. In Count III, Anton seeks to impose liability for Kretovic and Zamora's torts on the DuPage County Sheriff's Office pursuant to the Tort Immunity Act. Count IV is identical to Count III, except that Anton names the County of DuPage, Illinois. Anton sues Kretovic, Zamora, and Sheriff Zaruba both in their individual and official capacities.

Defendants seek dismissal of Anton's complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing first that Anton has failed to adequately allege the deprivation of any constitutional right. Further, Kretovic and Zamora assert a qualified immunity defense. Sheriff Zaruba seeks dismissal of the claims against him on the ground that Anton did not allege his personal involvement in the alleged deprivations, and § 1983 does not permit respondeat superior liability. Finally, the Sheriff and the County of DuPage assert that the Tort Immunity Act does not impose liability on them for the acts of Kretovic and Zamora.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS*fn1

When considering a motion to dismiss, the Court views all facts alleged in the complaint, as well as any inferences reasonably drawn therefrom, in a light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Lashbrook v. Oerkfitz, 65 F.3d 1339, 1343 (7th Cir. 1995). However, the Court need not accept as true conclusory legal allegations. Baxter v. Vigo County Sch. Corp., 26 F.3d 728, 730 (7th Cir. 1994). Defendants' motion to dismiss should be granted only if "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957); Cushing v. City of Chicago, 3 F.3d 1156, 1159 (7th Cir. 1993).

DuPage County filed a motion to dismiss both Anton's claims against it, arguing it cannot be held liable under any circumstances for the alleged misconduct of DuPage County Sheriff's Deputies. The doctrine of respondeat superior (supervisory liability) does not apply to actions filed under § 1983, Pacelli v. deVito, 972 F.2d 871, 877 (7th Cir. 1992), and the County cannot be liable under the Tort Immunity Act, Ryan v. County of DuPage, 45 F.3d 1090, 1092 (7th Cir. 1995) ("It is plain that the county was properly dismissed; Illinois sheriffs are independently elected officials not subject to control [by] the county."). Anton has agreed to dismiss DuPage County from Counts I and IV, but has requested that the Court grant the motion without prejudice. Accordingly, DuPage County is dismissed without prejudice.

III. ANALYSIS

Anton's complaint presents four theories of relief: a due process claim against Kretovic, Zamora and Sheriff Zaruba; a conspiracy claim against Kretovic and Zamora; a claim under the Tort Immunity Act against the Sheriff's Office; and a claim under the Act against Du Page County. As stated, Anton agrees to dismiss his claims the County. We analyze the remaining claims below.

A. Due Process Claims

States have an affirmative duty to provide for inmates' basic human needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and reasonable safety. See DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dep't of Soc. Servs., 489 U.S. 189, 200, 109 S.Ct. 998, 103 L.Ed.2d 249 (1989); see also Tesch v. County of Green Lake, 157 F.3d 465, 472 (7th Cir. 1998). The ...


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