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DORSEY v. COOK COUNTY SHERIFF SHEAHAN

February 23, 2004.

EARL DORSEY, JR., Plaintiff
v.
COOK COUNTY SHERIFF MICHAEL SHEAHAN, OFFICER A. BROWN, JOHN MAUL, CHIEF S. VIVADO and SGT. KAZKOFF, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge Page 2

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Defendants' motion to dismiss. For the reasons stated below, we grant the motion to dismiss.

BACKGROUND

  Plaintiff Earl Dorsey, Jr. ("Dorsey") is an inmate at the Cook County Jail. Dorsey alleges that on April 1, 2003 a fight broke out amongst the inmates in his cell block. He contends that after the fight ended the guards ordered all the inmates out of their cells. According to Dorsey, he was putting his shirt on as he exited his cell and Defendant "A, Brown" ("Brown") struck Dorsey in the jaw. Dorsey claims that the fight was over by that point and he in no way provoked Brown. Dorsey claims that afterwards his jaw was swollen and painful and that he was Page 3 taken to the hospital. After the incident Dorsey claims that Defendant Sergeant Robert Krauskopf ("Krauskopf") threatened to retaliate against Dorsey if he filed a complaint or civil suit regarding the incident. Dorsey alleges that Krauskopf told him that if he "filed any complaints or court action that the county would give me a case for fighting a officer even thought I had nothing to do with anything." [sic.]. Dorsey also alleges that the medical staff at the jail were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. He filed the instant complaint pro se alleging that Defendants violated his constitutional rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983").

  LEGAL STANDARD

  In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court must draw all reasonable inferences that favor the plaintiff, construe the allegations of the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and accept as true all well-pleaded facts and allegations in the complaint. Thompson v. Illinois Dep't of Prof'l Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002); Perkins v. Silverstein, 939 F.2d 463, 466 (7th Cir. 1991). The allegations of a complaint should not be dismissed for a failure to state a claim "unless 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 (1957). Nonetheless, in order to withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint must allege the "operative facts upon which each claim is based, Kyle v. Morton High School, 144 F.3d 448, 444-45 (7th Cir. 1998); Lucien v. Preiner, 967 F.2d 1166, 1168 (7th Cir. 1992), The plaintiff need not allege all of the facts involved in the claim and can plead conclusions. Higgs v. Carter, 286 F.3d 437, 439 (7th Cir. 2002); Kyle, 144 F.3d at 455. However, any conclusions pled must Page 4 "provide the defendant with at least minimal notice of the claim," Id., and the plaintiff cannot satisfy federal pleading requirements merely "by attaching bare legal conclusions to narrated facts which fail to outline the bases of [his] claim." Perkins, 939 F.2d at 466-67. Complaints filed by pro se litigants are to be construed liberally and are not to be held to the same standard as those drafted by attorneys. Me Cormick v. City of Chicago, 230 F.3d 319, 325 (7th Cir. 2000).

  DISCUSSION

  Defendants seek to dismiss claims against the various Defendants both in their individual capacities and in their official capacities.

 I. Official Capacity Claims

  Defendants seek to dismiss all claims against Defendants in their official capacities. A suit against an individual defendant in his official capacity is the equivalent of a suit against the governmental entity the individual represents, Gossmeyer v. McDonald, 128 F.3d 481, 494 (7th Cir. 1997). Therefore, to the extent that Dorsey seeks to sue Defendants in their official capacity Dorsey is in essence suing Cook County. The doctrine of respondeat superior cannot be utilized to hold local governmental units liable for Section 1983 violations "unless the deprivation of constitutional rights is caused by a municipal policy or custom." Kujawski v. Board of Comm'rs. Of Bartholomew County, Indiana, 183 F.3d 734, 737 (7th Cir. 1999) (stating that county could not be held liable unless violation was caused by county policy); Gossmeyer, 128 F.3d at 494,

  Defendants argue that Dorsey merely complains about the officer hitting him and the Page 5 other officer threatening to retaliate against him and Dorsey fails to allege that any County policy or custom caused him harm. We agree that Dorsey's complaint is focused on the alleged wrongdoing by Brown and the alleged retaliation by Krauskopf. He does not allege that any County policy or custom is responsible for the alleged misconduct. Therefore, we grant the motion to dismiss all official capacity claims.

 II. individual Capacity Claims

  Defendants also seek to dismiss all individual capacity claims because: some of the Defendants were not personally involved in the alleged misconduct, some of the Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity, Dorsey failed to exhaust his ...


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