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Krigbaum v. Sangamon County Illinois Sheriff's Dep't

August 6, 2007

KARL KRIGBAUM, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SANGAMON COUNTY ILLINOIS SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, CARL BENNETT, CHUCK EALEY, JOE HOLLINGSHEAD, THOMAS ANSELL, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS EMPLOYEES FOR THE SANGAMON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeanne E. Scott, U.S. District Judge

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (d/e 10) filed by Defendants Sangamon County, Illinois Sheriff's Department (Sheriff's Department), Thomas Ansell, Carl Bennett, Chuck Ealey, and Joe Hollingshead. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Dismiss is allowed, in part, and denied, in part.

PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On October 13, 2006, Plaintiff Karl Krigbaum filed a three-count Complaint (d/e 1) against the Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Neil Williamson, and John Doe/Jailers and Officers, alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on injuries resulting from alleged deprivations of his federal constitutional rights that occurred on or about October 16, 2004.*fn1 On February 26, 2007, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint and Add Additional Parties (d/e 7) (Motion to File), seeking to file an amended complaint based on the fact that, at the time of the filing of the original Complaint, Plaintiff lacked knowledge of the identities of the Defendants listed as "John Doe/Jailers, Officers" in the original Complaint. Motion to File, ¶ 2; see Complaint, ¶ 8. Plaintiff specifically sought leave to add Carl Bennett, Chuck Ealey, Joe Hollingshead and Thomas Ansell (collectively, the individual Defendants) as parties to this action.*fn2 The Defendants did not object to the Motion to File. This Court accordingly allowed the substitution of the four individual Defendants in place of John Doe/Jailers and Officers. See Text Order entered February 26, 2007.

In his nine-count Amended Complaint (d/e 8), Plaintiff does not allege any claims against Sheriff Williamson; neither does the caption of the Amended Complaint name Sheriff Williamson as a Defendant in this action. It thus appears that Plaintiff no longer wishes to maintain this action against Sheriff Williamson. The Court accordingly directs the Clerk of the Court to terminate Defendant Neil Williamson as a Defendant in this action.

For purposes of the Motion to Dismiss, the Court must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations contained in the Complaint and draw all inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Hager v. City of West Peoria, 84 F.3d 865, 868-69 (7th Cir. 1996); Covington Court Ltd. v. Village of Oak Brook, 77 F.3d 177, 178 (7th Cir. 1996). The following facts are taken from the allegations of the Amended Complaint.

On or about October 16, 2004, Plaintiff attended a social gathering at the residence of his relative, Brandy Botaw, in Pawnee, Illinois. At the social gathering, Plaintiff became involved in a verbal altercation, which required the assistance of the Pawnee Police Department. When police officers from the Pawnee Police Department arrived at the Botaw residence, they arrested Plaintiff for domestic battery after investigating the incident. Plaintiff was consequently transported to the Sheriff's Department. When Plaintiff arrived at the Sheriff's Department, he was placed in a cell. Shortly thereafter, "the Plaintiff and correctional officers employed by the Sangamon County[,] Illinois Sheriff's Department exchanged words at which time Carl Bennett obtained a pepper ball gun that was a device capable of shooting a propellant or powder with a burning projectile." Amended Complaint, ¶ 16. A correctional officer then brought Plaintiff out of his jail cell at which time Bennett repeatedly fired the pepper ball gun at Plaintiff's chest, face, throat, back, arms and legs. While this occurred, Plaintiff was surrounded by Defendants Ealey, Hollingshead, and Ansell, all of whom condoned Defendant Bennett's action. In order to protect himself, Plaintiff remained on the ground in a fetal position. According to the Amended Complaint, the individual Defendants "engaged in a joint venture as they assisted each other in performing the various actions [against Plaintiff] and lent their physical presence and support to each other during the attack on Plaintiff . . . ." Id. at ¶ 19.

The Amended Complaint alleges that the individual Defendants violated Plaintiff's rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution by using excessive force against him when he was detained at the jail. The individual Defendants are sued in their official and individual capacities. Specifically, Count I alleges that the Sheriff's Department deprived Plaintiff of his constitutional rights under the Fourth and the Fourteenth Amendments through one or more of the following acts or omissions:

(a) Failed to adequately or properly train Defendant Carl Bennett, in the use of the pepper ball device that would not result in the use of excessive force and violate Constitutional and protected rights and/or

(b) Tolerated a pattern of practice of abuse which showed a deliberate indifference on the part of [the Sheriff's Department] to correctional officer[s] Carl Bennett, Chuck Ealey, Joe Hollingshead and Thomas Ansell's persistent and widespread practice of violating suspects civil rights in the jail and/or

(c) Was aware of prior incidence wherein correctional officers Carl Bennett, Chuck Ealey, Joe Hollingshead and Thomas Ansell, violated a detainee[']s civil rights and failed to take remedial action against them.

Count I of Amended Complaint, ¶ 2.

Counts II and III allege claims against Carl Bennett in his official and individual capacity respectively for violations of Plaintiff's constitutional rights when he repeatedly shot Plaintiff with a pepper ball gun. Counts IV and V allege claims against Chuck Ealey in his official and individual capacity respectively for violations of Plaintiff's constitutional rights when he assisted Bennett in using excessive force against Plaintiff. Counts VI and VII allege claims against Joe Hollingshead in his official and individual capacity respectively for violations of Plaintiff's constitutional rights when he assisted Bennett in using excessive force against Plaintiff. Counts VIII and IX allege claims against Thomas Ansell in his official and individual capacity respectively for violations of Plaintiff's constitutional rights when he assisted Bennett ...


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