United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
July 7, 2005.
TONYA MELENDEZ, Plaintiff,
WHITE COUNTY JAIL, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: PHILIP FRAZIER, Magistrate Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Before the Court is defendants' motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 13).
In this § 1983 action for damages, plaintiff challenges the conditions of
her pre-trial detention in the White County jail, claiming that she was
harassed and deprived of medication and personal items (Doc. Nos. 1, 5). The
motion is unopposed.
Summary judgment is proper where "the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with
the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). To
determine whether there is a genuine issue of material fact,
courts construe all facts in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and draw all reasonable and justifiable
inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).
State pretrial detainees are protected under the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits the State
from punishing detainees prior to an adjudication of guilt. Bell
v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 (1979). The standard set by the
Fourteenth Amendment is very close to that set by the Eighth
Amendment, which forbids deliberate indifference to basic human needs. Henderson v. Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 845 n. 2 (7th Cir.
1999). Detention that interferes with a person's desire to live
comfortably and free from restraint is not unconstitutional.
Rapier v. Harris, 172 F.3d 999, 1003 (7th Cir. 1999).
The evidence on file shows that plaintiff was received by the
White County Jail on November 26, 2002. She was processed by
Ralph Hall, who detained her on a warrant issued for the arrest
of Tonya Crockett. Hall detained plaintiff for approximately
seventeen minutes before releasing her on bond. During this time,
plaintiff made no physical complaints; sought no medical
assistance, medical treatment or medication; and demonstrated no
need for such assistance. She had no contact with defendant
Billie Blazier Smith, who did not work at the White County Jail
at that time.
Statute of Limitations. The defendants may be arguing that
plaintiff's due process claim is barred by the applicable statute
of limitations. Section 1983 claims are subject to the statute of
limitations for personal injury actions in the state in which the
alleged injury occurred. Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276-80
(1985). Such claims are governed by the two-year statute of
limitations applicable to personal injury actions in Illinois.
735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-202; Hileman v. Maze, 367 F.3d 694,
696 (7th Cir. 2004).
Plaintiff filed her Complaint on July 10, 2003. Because she
initiated her claim within two years of the date she was
detained, any statute of limitations defense should be rejected.
Deliberate Indifference. White County Jail argues that the
facts could not support a finding that jail personnel were
deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's serious medical needs. A
jail official acts with deliberate indifference when he or she
knows about inhumane conditions of confinement and disregards an
excessive risk to inmate health or safety. Farmer v. Brennan,
114 S. Ct. 1970, 1979 (1994). In order to succeed on her § 1983
claim against White County Jail, plaintiff must prove that the
jail embraced an unconstitutional policy or custom. Monell v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691-92 (1978). Because no facts suggest that White
County Jail adopted a policy of disregarding inhumane conditions
of detention, this defendant is entitled to judgment in its favor.
Defendant Blazier argues that he was not deliberately
indifferent to plaintiff's health or safety. Because no facts
suggest that this defendant had any conduct affecting the nature
of plaintiff's detention, Blazier's involvement in a
constitutional deprivation has not been proved. See Black v.
Lane, 22 F.3d 1395, 1401 (7th Cir. 1994) (An official is
personally involved if the conduct causing a constitutional
deprivation occurs at his direction or with his knowledge and consent).
IT IS RECOMMENDED that defendants' motion for summary judgment
(Doc. No. 13) be GRANTED. Judgment should be entered in favor of
the defendants and against the plaintiff.
© 1992-2005 VersusLaw Inc.