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Alphonso Crawford, Ii v. Dart

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois


July 6, 2011

ALPHONSO CRAWFORD, II
v.
DART, ET AL.

Name of Assigned Judge or Magistrate Judge Marvin E. Aspen Sitting Judge if Other than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

(#2008-0039248)

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT:

Plaintiff's amended complaint [8] is accepted. The Clerk shall: (1) issue summons for service of the amended complaint [8] on Defendant Superintendent (Mr.) Thomas; (2) terminate Defendants Tom Dart, Mrs. Helen, Heidi Meyers, D. Gomez, and Cermak Healthcare Services; and (3) 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

Plaintiff, Alphonso Crawford, II, a pretrial detainee at Cook County Jail, brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has submitted an amended complaint pursuant to the Court's June 13, 2011, order.

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

Plaintiff alleges in late 2008, he went to the dentist about pain in his wisdom teeth. Plaintiff was informed that the wisdom teeth needed to be extracted and wrote Plaintiff a referral to Strogers Hospital for the procedure. After Plaintiff was not taken to Strogers Hospital, he wrote several grievances about needed his wisdom teeth removed. Plaintiff's grievances went unanswered. Plaintiff spoke with Superintendent Thomas on several occasions to no avail. Plaintiff also sent a letter to Sheriff Dart on January of 2011 about the issue.

Plaintiff names Superintendent Thomas and Sheriff Dart as Defendants.

To be liable under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a defendant must have acted under color of state law and violated a constitutional right. See Waubanascum v. Shawano County, 416 F.3d 658, 665 (7th Cir. 2005). An individual cannot be held liable in a §1983 action unless he caused or participated in the alleged constitutional deprivation. Vance v. Washington, 97 F.3d 987, 991 (7th Cir. 1996); Gentry v. Duckworth, 65 F.3d 555, 561 (7th Cir. 1995); Rascon v. Hardiman, 803 F.2d 269, 273 (7th Cir. 1986) (citing Wolf-Lillie v. Sonquist, 699 F.2d 864, 869 (7th Cir. 1983)). Supervisors and others in authority are not held liable for any alleged wrongdoing on the part of subordinates pursuant to the doctrine of respondeat superior because that doctrine does not apply in §1983 actions. See Pacelli v. DeVito, 972 F.2d 871, 877 (7th Cir. 1992); Jones v. City of Chicago, 856 F.2d 985, 992 (7th Cir. 1988).

Claims filed against government officers in their official capacity are actually claims against the government entity for which the officers work. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 167 (1985); Guzman v. Sheahan, 495 F.3d 852, 859 (7th Cir. 2007); see also, Perkins v. Lawson, 312 F.3d 872, 875 (7th Cir. 2002) (a supervisory official cannot be held liable for the conduct of his subordinates based upon a theory of respondeat superior, and a complaint's allegations must indicate that the supervisory official was somehow personally involved in the constitutional deprivation). A governmental entity is liable for damages under Section 1983 only if the plaintiff can show that the alleged constitutional deprivation occurred as a result of an official policy, custom, or practice. See Monell v. Department of Social Serv., 436 U.S. 658, 692 (1978) Unconstitutional policies or customs generally take three forms: (1) an express policy that, when enforced, causes a constitutional deprivation; (2) a widespread practice that, although not authorized by written law or express municipal policy, is so permanent and well settled as to constitute a usage or custom with the force of law; or (3) a constitutional injury was caused by a person with final policy-making authority. Brokaw v. Mercer County, 235 F.3d 1000, 1013 (7th Cir.2000).

The single letter to Sheriff Dart does not constitute sufficient personal involvement by Sheriff Dart and Plaintiff has not alleged that any of the alleged unconstitutional conduct was a result of an official policy, custom, or practice. Accordingly, Plaintiff has not stated a claim against Sheriff Dart. However, Plaintiff has sufficiently pled an individual capacity claim against Superintendent Thomas and he must respond to Plaintiff's amended complaint.

The Clerk shall: (1) issue summons for Defendant Superintendent Thomas; (2) terminate Defendants Tom Dart, and previously-named Defendants Mrs. Helen, Heidi Meyers, D. Gomez, and Cermak Healthcare Services; and (3) send Plaintiff a Magistrate Judge Consent Form, Instructions for Submitting Documents, and a copy of this order.

The United States Marshals Service is appointed to serve Defendant. Any service forms necessary for Plaintiff to complete will be sent by the Marshal as appropriate to serve Defendant with process. The U.S. Marshal is directed to make all reasonable efforts to serve Defendant. 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 Defendant 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. Plaintiff must provide the Court with the original plus a complete judge's copy, including any exhibits, of every document filed. In addition, Plaintiff must send an exact copy of any court filing to Defendant [or to defense counsel, once an attorney has entered an appearance on behalf of Defendant]. Every document filed with the Court must include a certificate of service stating to whom exact copies were mailed and the date of mailing. Any paper that is sent directly to the judge or that 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. 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 the above factors, the Court concludes that appointment of counsel is not warranted in this case. Neither the legal issues raised in the complaint nor the evidence that might support Plaintiff's claims are so complex or intricate that a trained attorney is necessary. Plaintiff appears capable of presenting his case. It should additionally be noted that 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.

20110706

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