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Vandaire Knox v. Dart

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois


April 4, 2011

VANDAIRE KNOX
v.
DART, ET AL.

Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Robert W. Gettleman than Assigned Judge

(2009-0058794)

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [3] is granted. Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [3] is granted. The Court authorizes and orders Cook County Jail officials to deduct $11.70 from 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. The Clerk shall also issue summonses for service of the complaint on the Defendants and send Plaintiff a Magistrate Judge Consent Form, Instructions for Submitting Documents, and a copy of this order. Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel [4] is denied without prejudice.

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

STATEMENT

Vandaire Knox, currently a pretrial detainee at Cook County Jail, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), Plaintiff is assessed an initial partial filing fee of $11.70. 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 Plaintiff's trust fund account and pay it directly to the Clerk of Court. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, Plaintiff's trust fund officer is directed to collect monthly payments from 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 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 Plaintiff is transferred from the jail to another correctional facility.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt review of the complaint.

Plaintiff alleges that he has been in custody at Cook County jail since September 3, 2009. Plaintiff is housed in Division 9 of Cook County Jail. Plaintiff alleges that the conditions of his confinement in Division 9 are inhumane and constitute a violation of his constitutional rights. These conditions include: serious fire safety hazards, failure of jail administration to provide clean linen and uniforms for extended periods of time, failure to provide detainees the materials to clean their living areas resulting in filthy living conditions, poor and inadequate ventilation resulting in respiratory problems, inadequate food service, and failure to allow detainees use of the law library services. Plaintiff alleges that these issues are systemic and that Cook Jail Administrators and Division 9 Administrators are aware of the living conditions but do nothing to remedy the situation. The Defendants must respond to the complaint.

The United States Marshals Service is appointed to serve the Defendants. Any service forms necessary for Plaintiff to complete will be sent by the Marshal as appropriate to serve the Defendants with process. The U.S. Marshal is directed to make all reasonable efforts to serve the Defendants. With respect to any former employee who can no longer be found at the work address provided by Plaintiff, the County of Cook shall furnish the Marshal with Defendant's last-known address. The information shall be used only for purposes of effectuating service [or for proof of service, should a dispute arise] and any documentation of the address shall be retained only by the Marshal. Address information shall not be maintained in the court file, nor disclosed by the Marshal. The Marshal is authorized to mail a request for waiver of service to the Defendants in the manner prescribed by Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d)(2) before attempting personal service.

Plaintiff is instructed to file all future papers concerning this action with the Clerk of Court in care of the Prisoner Correspondent. In addition, Plaintiff must send an exact copy of any filing to Defendants or, if represented by counsel, to counsel for Defendants. Plaintiff must include on the original filing a certificate of service stating to whom exact copies were mailed and the date of mailing. Plaintiff must also insure all pleadings, written motions, and other papers submitted to the Court are signed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(a). Any paper that is sent directly to the judge or otherwise fails to comply with these instructions may be disregarded by the Court or returned to Plaintiff.

Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel is denied without prejudice. Civil litigants do not have a constitutional or statutory right to counsel. See Johnson v. Doughty, 433 F.3d 1001, 1006 (7th Cir. 2006). Nevertheless, a district court may, in its discretion, "request an attorney to represent any person unable to afford counsel." Gil v. Reed, 381 F.3d 649, 656 (7th Cir. 2004) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1)); Luttrell v. Nickel, 129 F.3d 933, 936 (7th Cir. 1997). In deciding whether to appoint counsel, the Court must "first determine if the indigent has made reasonable efforts to retain counsel and was unsuccessful or that the indigent was effectively precluded from making such efforts." Gil, 381 F.3d at 656 (quoting Jackson v. County of McLean, 953 F.2d 1070, 1072 (7th Cir. 1992)). If so, the Court must consider: (1) whether, given the degree of difficulty of the case, Plaintiff appears competent to try it himself; and (2) whether the assistance of counsel would provide a substantial benefit to the Court or the parties, potentially affecting the outcome of the case. Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654 (7th Cir. 2007); Gil, 381 F.3d at 656.

After considering these factors, the Court concludes that appointment of counsel is not warranted at this time.

While Plaintiff has demonstrated that he has attempted to obtain pro bono counsel, he has not alleged a physical or mental disability that might preclude him from adequately investigating the facts giving rise to his complaint. Plaintiff's case, at the present time, does not involve complex issues, complex discovery, or an evidentiary hearing. In addition, the Court grants pro se litigants wide latitude in the handling of their lawsuits. Therefore, Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel is denied without prejudice.

20110404

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