Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Perks v. County of Shelby

August 31, 2009

CRYSTAL PERKS, AS SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF JASON WAYNE COX, SR., DECEASED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF SHELBY, AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, D/B/A SHELBY COUNTY JAIL, SHERIFF MICHAEL MILLER, TERRY B. HEIMAN, ADAM D. SMITH, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER RYAN MOORE (STAR NO. 408), CHERYL ANNE WOODS AND VAL RHODES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, U.S. District Judge

OPINION

This case is before the Court on the motion [d/e 25] filed by Defendant Cheryl Anne Woods to dismiss Count I of the Plaintiff's complaint. Pending also is the motion [d/e 29] to dismiss Counts I, II, IV, V and VI of the Plaintiff's complaint filed by Defendants Val Rhodes, County of Shelby, Michael Miller, Terry B. Heiman, Adam D. Smith and Ryan Moore.

I. BACKGROUND

This is a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, wherein the Plaintiff asserts various claims under the Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The Plaintiff also seeks damages against the Defendants under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and under the common law of Illinois for the negligent spoliation of evidence.

Plaintiff Crystal Perks is the Special Administrator of the Estate of Jason Wayne Cox, Sr. According to the complaint, Cox was convicted of the misdemeanor offense of criminal trespass to property and was sentenced in the Circuit Court of Shelby County to a six month term of incarceration. Perks also alleges that Cox was charged with contempt of court, though the court did not adjudicate his guilt. Thereafter, Cox began his term of incarceration in the Shelby County Jail in Shelbyville, Illinois.

The Defendants include the following: (1) Shelby County, Illinois; (2) Sheriff Michael Miller, the duly elected law enforcement official representing the county; (3) Terry B. Heiman, a correctional officer employed by the county at the Shelby County Jail; (4) Adam D. Smith, a county correctional officer; (5) Ryan Moore, also a county correctional officer; (6) Cheryl Anne Woods, a licensed clinical social worker employed by Shelby County; and (7) Val Rhodes, a supervising correctional officer employed by the county at the Shelby County Jail.*fn1

The complaint alleges that when he was incarcerated, Cox was very agitated, uncooperative and he had to be forcibly subdued. Smith, the correctional officer, recommended that Cox be further evaluated. On June 11, 2008, Cox advised Moore that he lacked close family and friends in the community, had a prior psychiatric history, had a history of drug abuse, and had attempted to commit suicide in January 2008. Moore observed that Cox, who was bi-polar and suffered from depression, showed signs of or reported mental distress. The complaint further alleges that although Moore was required to make and arrange an appropriate referral to a competent medical professional, he failed to do so.

Perks also alleges that on or about June 13, 2008, Cox advised Woods, the licensed clinical social worker, about a prior suicide attempt approximately one year prior to his incarceration. Cox also told Woods that he had abused narcotics, experienced visual and auditory hallucinations, did not know "if he could stand incarceration," and requested that his medication be increased. According to the complaint, the Defendants did not contact a physician in order to have Cox's medication increased and/or modified. On June 21, 2008, the Defendants failed to make the statutory periodic inspection of Cox, who committed suicide on that date while in his jail cell.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Legal standard

To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must include sufficient facts "to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Justice v. Town of Cicero, F.3d, 2009 WL 2477644, at *1 (7th Cir. Aug. 14, 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, U.S., 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. The Court "construe[s] the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accepting as true all well-pleaded facts alleged, and drawing all possible inferences in her favor." Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).

B. Woods's motion to dismiss Count I

In Count I, the Plaintiff asserts that several Defendants, including Woods, violated her substantive due process rights. Specifically, Perks alleges that Woods acted with deliberate indifference to the serious psychiatric, psychological, and/or medical needs of Cox, by failing to classify him as a suicide risk, when she knew or should have known of several factors which made him such a risk. Moreover, Woods acted with deliberate indifference to the serious psychiatric, psychological and/or medical needs of Cox by failing to make a specific recommendation for supervision intensity.

Count III includes a claim for cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which is directed at Woods and other Defendants. Citing Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422 (7th Cir. 1996), Woods contends that this Court must make a preliminary determination what status--pretrial detainee or prisoner--is properly attributed to the decedent during the time of his detainment when his rights were allegedly violated. See id. at 1427 n.2. The text of the Eighth Amendment prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment" of a prisoner. The Due Process Clause prohibits punishment of a pretrial detainee. See Antonelli, 81 F.3d at 1427.

Woods asserts that the allegations in the complaint show that Cox was a prisoner in the jail. In paragraph 5, Perks alleges that the decedent was convicted of an offense and sentenced to a six-month term of incarceration on June 11, 2008. Other allegations in the complaint refer to events after his incarceration for his ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.