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Thompson v. Dart

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois

November 8, 2010

DION THOMPSON (#2008-0076771)

Name of Assigned Judge RONALD A. GUZMÁN Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge


The plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [#3] is granted. The court authorizes Cook County Jail officials to deduct $7.50 from the plaintiff's account, and to continue making monthly deductions in accordance with this order. The clerk shall send a copy of this order to the Supervisor of Inmate Trust Fund Accounts, Cook County Dept. of Corrections Administrative Office, Division V, 2700 S. California, Chicago, IL 60608. However, summonses shall not issue at this time. The complaint on file is dismissed without prejudice. The plaintiff is granted thirty days to submit an amended complaint (plus a judge's copy and service copies). The clerk is directed to provide the plaintiff with an amended civil rights complaint form and instructions. Failure to submit an amended complaint within thirty days of the date of this order will result in summary dismissal of this case in its entirety.

O [For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.


The plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the Cook County Department of Corrections, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff claims that the defendants, jail officials, violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights by subjecting him to a public strip search; he additionally claims that he was denied needed psychiatric care for the resulting trauma he suffered.

The plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), the plaintiff is assessed an initial partial filing fee of $7.50. The supervisor of inmate trust accounts at the Cook County Jail is authorized and ordered to collect, when funds exist, the partial filing fee from the plaintiff's trust fund account and pay it directly to the clerk of court. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the plaintiff's trust fund officer is directed to collect monthly payments from the plaintiff's trust fund account in an amount equal to 20% of the preceding month's income credited to the account. Monthly payments shall be forwarded to the clerk of court each time the amount in the account exceeds $10 until the full $350 filing fee is paid. All payments shall be sent to the Clerk, United States District Court, 219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, Illinois 60604, attn: Cashier's Desk, 20th Floor, and shall clearly identify the plaintiff's name and the case number assigned to this action. The Cook County inmate trust account office shall notify transferee authorities of any outstanding balance in the event the plaintiff is transferred from the jail to another correctional facility.

However, the plaintiff must submit an amended complaint, as the pleading on file does not satisfy basic notice pleading requirements. Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," in order to " 'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.' " Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, (1957)). Furthermore, Section 1983 creates a cause of action based on personal liability and predicated upon fault; thus, "to be liable under § 1983, an individual defendant must have caused or participated in a constitutional deprivation." Pepper v. Village of Oak Park, 430 F.3d 809, 810 (7th Cir. 2005) (citations omitted).

Here, the plaintiff names three defendants in the caption of the complaint and parties section, but he does not indicate which, if any, of the defendants were involved in the challenged strip search. Instead, the plaintiff's Statement of Claim refers generically to a "defendant" in the singular. The plaintiff must submit an amended complaint indicating how each named defendant was personally and directly involved in the events giving rise to this lawsuit.

In addition, the plaintiff must file a separate lawsuit against the individual(s) responsible for denying him a psychiatric evaluation. The plaintiff may not join unrelated claims against different defendants in one lawsuit. See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). The plaintiff is further cautioned to perform some basic legal research prior to filing suit relating to his mental health care. The court recognizes that "the need for a mental illness to be treated could certainly be considered a serious medical need." Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 734 (7th Cir. 2001); see also Wellman v. Faulkner, 715 F.2d 269 (7th Cir. 1983). Nevertheless, the court questions whether the plaintiff's desire for a psych evaluation following a troubling incident rises to the level of constitutional concern.

For the foregoing reasons, the court dismisses the complaint on file without prejudice. The plaintiff is granted thirty days in which to submit an amended complaint. The amended complaint must provide each named defendant basic notice as to how he is alleged to have violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights.

The plaintiff must write both the case number and the judge's name on the amended complaint, sign it, and return it to the Prisoner Correspondent. As with every document filed with the court, the plaintiff must provide an extra copy for the judge; he must also submit a sufficient number of copies for service on each defendant named in the amended complaint. The plaintiff is cautioned that an amended pleading supersedes the original complaint and must stand complete on its own. Therefore, all allegations must be set forth in the amended complaint, without reference to the original complaint. Any exhibits the plaintiff wants the court to consider in its threshold review of the amended complaint must be attached, and each copy of the amended complaint must include complete copies of any and all exhibits.

The clerk will provide the plaintiff with an amended complaint form and instructions. If the plaintiff fails to comply within thirty days, the case will be summarily dismissed on the understanding that the plaintiff does not wish to pursue his claims in federal court at this time.


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