and believed to be affiliated with the Vice Lords gang, was
killed. (Id. at ¶ 15.) The following day, during a prison riot
in Tier B, another inmate named Allen Fields was stabbed to
death. Mr. Fields was believed to be associated with the
Disciples gang, a gang hostile to the Vice Lords. (Id. at ¶
Twenty-seven inmates were initially interviewed regarding the
death of Allen Fields. Seven of these inmates were removed from
Tier B, inspected and interviewed by detectives and employees of
the Cook County Jail. (Id. at ¶ 18.) Five of the seven inmates
removed from Tier B had blood stains on their clothing and shoes.
Of these five inmates, four were Hispanic and believed to be
associated with the Disciples. During their interviews with the
investigators, these five inmates claimed that Terrance Love and
three other individuals were responsible for killing Allen
Fields. (Id. at ¶ 19.)
Based on the accusations by the five aforementioned prisoners,
on May 29, 1995, Love was transferred from Tier B to the Division
10 segregation unit of the Cook County Jail. (Id. at ¶ 21.)
Love was confined to a cell, which was ten square feet with
concrete walls and no windows to the outside. The cell's metal
door had a six-inch square window which looked into the interior
corridor. Love was kept in this cell for periods of 23
consecutive hours, sometimes longer. He was allowed a maximum of
one hour each day out of his cell, during which time he was
shackled and prohibited from talking to other inmates or
pre-trial detainees. (Id. at ¶ 23.) Love's confinement in the
Division 10 segregation unit of the Cook County Jail lasted for
more than two and one-half years.
Subsequent to Love's confinement, the five prisoners who
allegedly identified Love as one of the men connected to the
killing of Allen Fields recanted their statements implicating
Love. (Id. at ¶ 25.) Both Love and his attorney filed
grievances and wrote letters to each of the Defendants seeking an
explanation of his detention and seeking release into the general
population at the Cook County Jail. However, they did not receive
any response to the inquiries. (Id. at ¶ 29-30.) Love never
received a hearing at any time during his segregation.
On February 20, 1998, Love and the three other inmates charged
with Allen Fields' murder were brought to trial on those charges.
The trial judge dismissed all charges against Love and his
co-defendants. (Id. at ¶ 34.) Love was released from
segregation at that time.
Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint Pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Essentially:
Defendants move to dismiss with prejudice Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint in its entirety as to Defendants in their official and
individual capacities, for lack of jurisdiction over the subject
matter and/or for failure to state a claim for which relief can
I. STANDARD OF REVIEW
On a motion to dismiss, the court takes all of the well-pleaded
factual allegations as true and draws all reasonable inferences
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See, e.g.,
Wilczynski v. Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Co., 93 F.3d 397, 401
(7th Cir. 1996). A complaint will not be dismissed on a motion to
dismiss unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of the claim that would entitle
him or her to relief. Id. A complaint need not set forth all
relevant facts or recite the law. All that is required is a short
and plain statement showing that the party is entitled to relief.
FED.R.CIV.P. 8(a); Doherty v. City of Chicago, 75 F.3d 318, 322
(7th Cir. 1996). A plaintiff in a suit in federal court need not
plead facts. Conclusions may be pleaded as long as the defendant
has at least minimal notice of the claim. FED. R.CIV.P. 8(a)(2);
Jackson v. Marion County, 66 F.3d 151, 153-54 (7th Cir. 1995).
The Seventh Circuit has recently held:
Under the federal rule of notice pleading, "`all the
Rules require is a short and plain statement of the
claim that will give the defendant fair notice of
what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon
which it rests.'" Leatherman v. Tarrant County
Narcotics Intelligence & Coordination Unit,
507 U.S. 163, 113 S.Ct. 1160, 122 L.Ed.2d 517 (1993) (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2
L.Ed.2d 80 (1957) (footnote and citation omitted))
(emphasis added). For fair notice to be given, "a
complaint must at least `include the operative facts
upon which a plaintiff bases his claim.'" Lucien v.
Preiner, 967 F.2d 1166, 1168 (7th Cir. 1992)
(quoting Rodgers v. Lincoln Towing Service, Inc.,
771 F.2d 194, 198 (7th Cir. 1985)). A plaintiff "need
not plead facts; he can plead conclusions. [However,]
the conclusions must provide the defendant with at
least minimal notice of the claim." Jackson v.
Marion County, 66 F.3d 151, 153-54 (7th Cir. 1995).
The issue we review is whether "sufficient facts
[have been] pleaded to allow the district court to
understand the gravamen of the plaintiff's
complaint." Doherty v. City of Chicago,
75 F.3d 318, 326 (7th Cir. 1996).
Kyle v. Morton High School, 144 F.3d 448, 454-55 (7th Cir.
1998); See also Bennett v. Schmidt, 153 F.3d 516, 518 (7th Cir.
II. LACK OF JURISDICTION
A. Statute of Limitations
Defendants contend that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint should be
dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because a portion of the time
period that Plaintiff was housed in segregation, from May 29,
1995 through February 22, 1997, is barred by the statute of
limitations. Defendants maintain that the only time period not
barred by the statute of limitations is Plaintiff's remaining
segregation from February 23, 1997 through February 20, 1998.
Defendants correctly point out that § 1983 claims brought in
Illinois are subject to a two-year limitations period. Section
1983 itself does not contain a statute of limitations. Therefore,
reference must be made to the limitations period prescribed by
the state in which the litigation arose. 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1988).
In Illinois, where this litigation arose, the applicable statute
of limitations for a personal injury action is two years. 735
ILCS 5/13-202. The Seventh Circuit has held that the two-year
limitations period provided in 735 ILCS 5/13-202 controls
Illinois-based § 1983 actions. Farrell v. McDonough,
966 F.2d 279, 280-82 (7th Cir. 1992); Kalimara v. Illinois Dept. of
Corrections, 879 F.2d 276, 277 (7th Cir. 1989).
The parties disagree as to when the two-year statute of
limitations began to run. Defendants contend that the portion of
the time period that Plaintiff was housed in segregation, from
May 29, 1995 through February 22, 1997, is barred by the statute
of limitations. Defendants' position is premised on the general
rule that a prisoner's pro se § 1983 complaint is deemed filed
when it is delivered to prison officials for transmittal to the
court. Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 270, 108 S.Ct. 2379, 101
L.Ed.2d 245 (1988). The Defendants state that the relevant date,
then, is February 22, 1999. Thus, Defendants apply the two-year
statute of limitations from February 22, 1999 and conclude that
Plaintiffs allegations regarding his time in segregation prior to
February 22, 1997 are time barred.
Seeking to counter the above facts and law, Plaintiff argues
that the alleged tortious act in this case is a "continuing
violation," and therefore, the statute of limitations does not
begin to run until the alleged tortious act(s) ceased (i.e.,
until Plaintiff was released from segregation). Plaintiff relies
on Edmondson v. Coughlin, 21 F. Supp.2d 242, 246 (W.D.N Y
1998), in which Plaintiff Edmunson brought a § 1983 claim
alleging due process violations arising from the fact that he was
housed in administrative segregation for eight months. The court
there determined that "Plaintiff's claims are based on his
continuous [administrative segregation] confinement between July
17, 1990 and March 22, 1991. Plaintiff thus asserts a continuing
violation of his rights for statute of limitations purposes.
Cornwell v. Robinson, 23 F.3d 694, 703 (2d Cir. 1994).
Plaintiff contends that his claims accrued, and the statute began
to run at the time of his release from [administrative
segregation], March 22, 1991. Id."
The Edmonson and Abiff*fn1 cases cited by Plaintiff are
District Court cases outside this Circuit. In the Seventh
Circuit, "[c]ivil rights claims . . . accrue when the plaintiff
knows or should know that his or her constitutional rights have
been violated." Wilson v. Giesen, 956 F.2d 738, 740 (7th Cir.
1992). Plaintiff did not bring this action until February 22,
1999. Plaintiff was placed in segregation on May 29, 1995. The
Plaintiff clearly knew or should have known of the alleged
constitutional civil rights violation of which he claims well
before the trigger date of February 22, 1997. Accordingly,
Plaintiff's claim for the period from May 29, 1995 through
February 22, 1997 is barred by the statute of limitations.
B. Res Judicata
Defendants have also moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint on the grounds that the instant case is barred by the
doctrine of res judicata.
"Under the federal common law of res judicata, a subsequent
suit is barred if the claim on which it is based arises from the
same incident, events, transactions, circumstances, or other
factual nebula as a prior suit that had gone to final judgment."
Okoro v. Bohman, 164 F.3d 1059, 1062 (7th Cir. 1999). See also
Wilson v. City of Chicago, 120 F.3d 681, 687 (7th Cir. 1997);
Andersen v. Chrysler Corp., 99 F.3d 846, 852-53 (7th Cir. 1996)
(citations omitted). Only a "`judgment on the merits'" can have
res judicata effect. Okoro, 164 F.3d at 1063 (emphasis added).
Defendants' claim that Plaintiff's case is barred based on the
fact that Plaintiff's earlier Federal Court Complaint (case
number 97 C 6119), which also alleged that Plaintiff was being
unlawfully detained in administrative detention, was subsequently
dismissed. Defendants argue that the instant case arose from the
same factual situation and evidence as in the earlier case, 97 C
6119. In other words, Plaintiff maintained, in both cases, that
he was unlawfully housed in administrative segregation and was
not allowed sufficient time out of his cell. Respectfully,
Defendants' argument is misplaced.
Plaintiff has correctly pointed out that Judge Castillo's Order
dismissing the 1997 case with prejudice was entered pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915.*fn2 Section 1915 was enacted as part of the
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 which gave courts
discretionary power to dismiss frivolous or malicious suits
brought in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The United
States Supreme Court, in Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 112
S.Ct. 1728, 118 L.Ed.2d 340, held that "[b]ecause a §
is not a dismissal on the merits, but rather an exercise of the
court's discretion under the in forma pauperis statute, the
dismissal does not prejudice the filing of a paid complaint
making the same allegations."*fn4 Accordingly, Plaintiff's claim
is not barred by res judicata.
C. Collateral Estoppel
Defendants also contend that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint
should be dismissed on the grounds that the instant case is
barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. Collateral
estoppel or issue preclusion does not apply unless:
(1) the issue that one side seeks to preclude is
identical to an issue involved in a prior action, (2)
the issue was actually litigated in the prior action,
(3) determination of the issue was essential to final
judgment in the prior action, and (4) the party
precluded from relitigating the issue was represented
in the prior action.
Rymer Foods, Inc. v. Morey Fish Co., 1997 WL 358870, *5 (7th
Cir. 1997). See La Preferida, Inc. v. Cerveceria Modelo, S.A. de