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Melton v. Walenhauff

August 24, 2006

RICHARD D. MELTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BRAD WALENHAUFF, GAIL SIMMERS, OFFICER WOODS, AND OFFICER JONES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Murphy, Chief District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, formerly an inmate in the Marion County Jail, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff previously was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and he has tendered his initial partial filing fee as ordered.

In this action, Plaintiff states that from his arrival at the jail, he was harassed and threatened by another inmate, Raymos Sanders. He alleges that he informed Defendants Simmers, Jones, and Wood of these threats, and he asked to be assigned to a different cell-block due to his fear of assault by Sanders. His requests were not honored and, on November 27, 2004, he was assaulted by Sanders. From these allegations, Plaintiff makes two claims. First, he asserts that Simmers, Jones, and Woods were deliberately indifferent to his safety by failing to move him to another cell-block; he also alleges that Defendant Walenhauff is equally liable due to his policies allowing systematic deficiencies in staffing and supervision and inadequate methods of classifying inmates. His second claim is against all Defendants for negligence under Illinois state law.

In Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994), the Supreme Court held that "prison officials have a duty . to protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other prisoners." Id. at 833 (internal citations omitted); see also Luttrell v. Nickel, 129 F.3d 933, 935 (7th Cir. 1997). However, not every harm caused by another inmate translates into constitutional liability for the corrections officers responsible for the prisoner's safety. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. In order for a plaintiff to succeed on a claim for failure to protect, he must show that he is incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm and that the defendants acted with "deliberate indifference" to that danger. Id.; Reed v. McBride, 178 F.3d 849, 852 (7th Cir. 1999). A plaintiff also must prove that prison officials were aware of a specific, impending, and substantial threat to his safety, often by showing that he complained to prison officials about a specific threat to his safety. Pope v. Shafer, 86 F.3d 90, 92 (7th Cir. 1996). In other words, Defendants had to know that there was a substantial risk that those who attacked Plaintiff would do so, yet failed to take any action. Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 733-34 (7th Cir. 2001).

Applying these standards to the allegations in the complaint, the Court is unable to dismiss any portion of this action at this point in the litigation. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL (DOC.3)

Pending in this action is Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel. There are five factors which a district court should consider in ruling on a request to appoint counsel. Those factors are (1) whether the merits of the claim are colorable; (2) the ability of the indigent to investigate crucial facts; (3) whether the nature of the evidence indicates that the truth will more likely be exposed where both sides are represented by counsel; (4) capability of the indigent to present the case; and (5) the complexity of the legal issues raised by the complaint. See Merritt v. Faulkner, 697 F.2d 761 (7th Cir. 1983), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 986 (1983); McKeever v. Israel, 689 F.2d 1315 (7th Cir. 1982); Maclin v. Freake, 650 F.2d 885 (7th Cir. 1981); Wilson v. Duckworth, 716 F.2d 415 (7th Cir. 1983).

After examining the documents submitted to this Court by Plaintiff, it appears that Plaintiff is more than capable of presenting his case and handling the issues involved. Therefore, applying these standards to the instant case, the Court finds that appointment of counsel is not warranted at this time. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED. DISPOSITION

The Clerk is DIRECTED to prepare Form 1A (Notice of Lawsuit and Request for Waiver of Service of Summons) and Form 1B (Waiver of Service of Summons) for all named Defendants. The Clerk shall forward those forms, USM-285 forms submitted by Plaintiff, and sufficient copies of the complaint to the United States Marshal for service.

The United States Marshal is DIRECTED, pursuant to Rule 4(c)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to serve process on all named Defendants in the manner specified by Rule 4(d)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Process in this case shall consist of the complaint, applicable Forms 1A and 1B, and this Memorandum and Order. For purposes of computing the passage of time under Rule 4(d)(2), the Court and all parties will compute time as of the date it is mailed by the Marshal, as noted on the USM-285 form.

With respect to former employees of the Marion County Jail who no longer can be found at the work address provided by Plaintiff, the County shall furnish the Marshal with the Defendant's last-known address upon issuance of a Court order which states that the information shall be used only for purposes of effectuating service (or for proof of service, should a dispute arise), and any documentation of the address shall be retained only by the Marshal. Address information obtained from the County pursuant to such Order shall not be maintained in the Court file nor disclosed by the Marshal.

The United States Marshal shall file returned waivers of service, as well as any requests for waivers of service that are returned as undelivered, as soon as they are received. If a waiver of service is not returned by a defendant within THIRTY (30) DAYS from the date of mailing the request for waiver, the United States Marshal shall:

! Request that the Clerk prepare a summons for that defendant who has not yet returned a waiver of service; the Clerk shall then prepare such summons as requested.

! Personally serve process upon that defendant pursuant to Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 28 U.S.C. § 566(c).

! Within ten days after personal service is effected, the United States Marshal shall file the return of service for that defendant, along with evidence of any attempts to secure a waiver of service of process and of the costs subsequently incurred in effecting service on said defendant. Said costs shall be enumerated on the USM-285 form and shall include the costs incurred by the Marshal's office for photocopying additional copies of the summons and complaint and for preparing new USM-285 forms, if required. Costs of service will be taxed against the ...


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