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Scott v. Blackburn

July 8, 2010

TEMARCUS SCOTT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
XAVIER BLACKBURN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, a detainee at the St. Clair County Jail brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact."

Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 590 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A complaint is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts "should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements." Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Service, 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

THE COMPLAINT

Plaintiff alleges that on or about January 7, 2010, he was beaten by Defendants Collins, McPeak, Blackburn, and Clayton each of whom is a corrections officer at the St. Clair County Jail. The beating included being stomped on, having his head slammed into a wall, being slammed on to the ground, and (while handcuffed) having his head put into a toilet containing feces. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants Tim and Sims merely looked on and did not intervene to stop the beating. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants McLaurin (Superintendent at the Jail), Justus (St. Clair County Sheriff), Scott (Assistant Superintendent), and Ray (Corrections Supervisor) knew that Collins, McPeak, Blackburn, and Clayton had a history of violence yet failed to adequately supervise and control them.

Plaintiff has divided the allegations of the complaint into three counts and the Court finds it convenient to utilize Plaintiff's designations. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit. The designations are:

COUNT 1: Against Defendants Collins, McPeak, Blackburn, and Clayton for using excessive force against him in violation of Plaintiff's right to Due Process of law under Fourteenth Amendment.

COUNT 2: Against Defendants Tim and Sims for failing to protect Plaintiff from the excessive use of force described in Count 1 in violation of Plaintiff's right to Due ...


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