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Bernie B. Cleveland (2010-0707001 v. County of Cook

May 26, 2011

BERNIE B. CLEVELAND (2010-0707001)

Name of Assigned Judge Blanche M. Manning Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge



Plaintiff's [third] amended complaint [18] is accepted. The Clerk shall: (1) issue summonses of Plaintiff's [third] amended complaint [18] for Defendants Correctional Officer Pater, Sergeant Krauskopt, and Daniel Brown; (2) terminate Defendants County of Cook, Thomas Dart, and Ms. Smith; and (3) send Plaintiff a Magistrate Judge Consent Form, Instructions for Submitting Documents, and a copy of this order. Plaintiff's motions for appointment of counsel [4], [9] are denied without prejudice.

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


Plaintiff, a detainee at the Cook County Jail, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff submits a third amended complaint. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt initial review of prisoner complaints against governmental entities or employees.

Plaintiff alleges that prior to May 5, 2010, he informed Correctional Officer Pater (sometimes referred to as Palu in the amended complaint) and Sergeant Krauskopt that another detainee, Schaeffer, was acting strangely and he would "snap out" throughout the day. Pater and Krauskopt told Plaintiff that Schaeffer had mental health issues but they were not able to do anything until something happened, On May 5, 2010, Schaffer stole some commissary items from Plaintiff's property box. When Plaintiff approached Schaeffer about the missing items, Schaeffer hit Plaintiff in the face several times resulting in a bloody nose and swollen eye and lip. Schaffer ran from the deck and returned shortly thereafter with Pater and Krauskopt. Plaintiff explained to Krauskopt that Schaffer assaulted him and stole items from his property box. Plaintiff and Schaffer were sent to segregation for fighting. Before being placed in segregation, Plaintiff and Schaffer were taken for medical treatment. Plaintiff received x-rays and medication for an injured nose. Schaffer was sent for a psychological evaluation. The nurse that treated Plaintiff (Nurse Jane Doe) told Plaintiff that Schaeffer had mental health issues and should not have been in the same dormitory. Later, two unknown nurses (Nurse Jane Doe and Nurse Jane Doe #2) refused to fill Plaintiff 's prescription.

Plaintiff also alleges that Ms. Smith and Daniel Brown, the director of the company that provides commissary items for CCJ, have engaged in a conspiracy and extortion by refusing to refund some funds into Plaintiff's trust fund account. Director Brown responded to a grievance regarding the refund of funds but did not order the refund. Nor did social worker Smith help Plaintiff receive a refund.

Plaintiff next alleges that he did not receive a fair disciplinary hearing, including the failure to take all facts into account and not calling any witnesses. Lastly, Plaintiff alleges that he twice saw Sheriff Tom Dart and told him about what was happening to him. Plaintiff alleges that Sheriff Dart told him he would "take care of this matter;" however, the matter was never addressed.

Plaintiff names the County of Cook, Correctional Officer Pater, Sergeant Krauskopt, Daniel Brown, Tom Dart, Ms. Smith, and two Jane Does (the unknown nurses) as Defendants. Plaintiff identifies five counts in his amended complaint but does not identify which counts are brought which Defendants. Count 1 is identified as "failure to protect, deliberate indifference to medical need, extortion, conspiracy, due process and equally protection, official misconduct, failure to provide medications, failure to protect against assaults." Count 2 is identified as "deliberate indifference to medical care, failure to provide medical treatment, official misconduct and failure to provide medications." Count 3 is identified as "deliberate indifference to medication needs, failure to protect from extortion conspiracy, due process and equal protection." Count 4 is identified (on two different pages) as "extortion/conspiracy" and "official misconduct, torture, neglect." Count 5 is identified as conspiracy, misconduct, extortion, due process, equal protection violation."

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires, in relevant part, that the complaint contain "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." Rule 8 reflects a liberal notice pleading requirement that focuses the "'litigation on the merits of the claim'" rather than some technicality that might keep a plaintiff out of court. Brooks, 578 F.3d at 580 (quoting Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 514). Alleging specific facts is not required. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007). However, a plaintiff's "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555. The plaintiff's claim must be "plausible" in that there are "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence" that supports the plaintiff's allegations. Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 556.

In addition, "a court need not accept as true 'legal conclusions[, or t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.' " Brooks, 578 F.3d at 581 (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ___ U.S. ___, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009)). Plaintiffs cannot "merely parrot the statutory language of the claims that they are pleading . . . rather than providing some specific facts to ground those legal claims. . . ." Brooks, 578 F.3d at 581. "[C]courts should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal arguments." Brooks, 578 F.3d at 581.

Plaintiff appears to bring a claim for failure to protect him from harm by Schaffer based on Pater, Krauskopt, and Nurse Jane Doe's knowledge that Schaeffer had mental health issues but they could not do anything until he engaged in wrongful conduct. Plaintiff may proceed on this claim against these Defendants. Plaintiff may also proceed on his denial of medical needs against the two unnamed nurses but he will have to name them in a future amended complaint once he learns their identities. Plaintiff's claim regarding the failure of a refund for commissary items he never received is interpreted as a state law claim for conversion. Plaintiff may proceed on this claim against Daniel Brown.

However, the remaining allegations/claims fail meet the pleading requirements of Rule 8 and/or fail to constitute a cognizable claim. Plaintiff repeatedly alleges a "conspiracy" and "extortion" by unidentified Defendants and specifically against Ms. Smith and Daniel Brown. However, he fails to allege the form and scope of the conspiracy and he fails to indicate the Defendants' roles in the alleged conspiracy. Plaintiff's bare allegations of a conspiracy and extortion fail to satisfy even the liberal pleadings requirements under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. Similarly, Plaintiff's conclusory allegations of "due process" and "equal ...

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