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Jackson v. Kane County

January 26, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: James F. Holderman Chief Judge, United States District Court



Pro se plaintiff Andre Jackson ("Jackson"), a former prisoner at the Kane County Jail, filed this lawsuit on July 10, 2009 against defendants Kane County and Kane County Sheriff Patrick Perez ("Perez") (collectively referred to as "Defendants") under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The allegations of Jackson's complaint, which arise out of his incarceration at the Kane County Jail, can be divided into three distinct areas of claims: (1) claims based on the conditions of his confinement; (2) claims alleging inadequate healthcare; and (3) claims alleging failure to provide access to the courts. Currently pending before the court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Jackson's Complaint. (Dkt. No. 19.) For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is granted as to all of Jackson's allegations. Certain of Jackson's allegations can perhaps be corrected on repleading. Therefore, Jackson is granted leave to file a First Amended Complaint, consistent with this order, as to Count One's allegations regarding ventilation and Count Three's allegations as to access to the courts on or before March 1, 2010. Count Two is dismissed with prejudice and may not be repleaded. If no First Amended Complaint is filed on or before March 1, 2010, Counts One and Three will be dismissed with prejudice.


Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint generally need only include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The complaint must have enough detail to give the defendants "fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 493 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Additionally, the factual allegations in the complaint must "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The pleading standard does not require "detailed factual allegations," but it demands more than "labels and conclusions." Id. "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief . . . [is] a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009).

In reviewing the pending motion to dismiss, the court must accept the facts pleaded in Jackson's complaint as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of Jackson. Johnson v. Rivera, 272 F.3d 519, 520 (7th Cir. 2001). Additionally, pro se pleadings are held to a lesser standard than pleadings prepared by counsel, and the court must liberally construe a pro se complaint. Anderson v. Hardman, 241 F.3d 544, 545 (7th Cir. 2001).


1. Count One - Conditions of Confinement

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Jackson must allege that "(1) [he] had a constitutionally protected right, (2) [he] was deprived of that right in violation of the Constitution, (3) the defendant intentionally caused that violation, and (4) the defendant acted under the color of state law." Cruz v. Safford, 579 F.3d 840, 843 (7th Cir. 2009).

Although Jackson does not specify the constitutional provision under which he is bringing his § 1983 claims, the court will infer that Jackson is bringing his conditions of confinement claims under the Eighth Amendment. See Hart v. Sheahan, 396 F.3d 887, 891 (7th Cir. 2005). To state a claim of an Eighth Amendment violation, Jackson must allege that: (1) the conditions in the prison were objectively "serious enough to be considered cruel and unusual" and (2) the "defendants [subjectively] acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind." McNeil v. Lane, 16 F.3d 123, 125 (7th Cir. 1993).

To establish that the conditions in Kane County Jail were "cruel and unusual," Jackson must plead either that the conditions resulted in "unquestioned and serious deprivations of basic human needs" or that the conditions "depriv[ed] [Jackson] of the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities." Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). A prisoner can plead a serious deprivation of human needs by alleging that a combination of conditions produced the deprivation of a basic need such as food, heat, or exercise. Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 304 (1991).

A. Paragraphs 1-14 of Count One

Defendants argue that Jackson's allegations within paragraphs one though fourteen of Count One fall outside the statute of limitations. The court agrees.

The statute of limitations for claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in Illinois is two years. Williams v. Lampe, 399 F.3d 867, 870 (7th Cir. 2005). In paragraphs one through fourteen, Jackson details deprivations that allegedly occurred between May 17, 2006 and February 2, 2007. (Compl. Count One ΒΆΒΆ 1-14.) Jackson filed his complaint on July 10, 2009, more than two years later. Therefore, the allegations within paragraphs one through fourteen of Count One ...

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