United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
July 15, 2011
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL.
Name of Assigned Judge or Magistrate Judge Robert W. Gettleman Sitting Judge if Other than Assigned Judge
DOCKET ENTRY TEXT:
Plaintiff's motion for leave to file in forma pauperis [#3] is granted. The Court authorizes and orders the trust fund officer at the Cook County Jail to collect monthly payments from Plaintiff's trust fund account in accordance with this order. The Clerk is directed to forward a copy of this order to Supervisor of Inmate Trust Fund Accounts, Cook County Dept. of Corrections Administrative Office, Division V, 2700 S. California, Chicago, IL 60608. However, Jodi Weis, Chicago Police Department, and the City of Chicago are dismissed as Defendants. The Clerk is directed to issue summons for Defendant Sonley, and the United States Marshals Service is appointed to serve him. The Clerk shall send Plaintiff Instructions for Submitting Documents, along with a copy of this order. Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel [#4] is denied.
O [For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.
Plaintiff, Ryishie Robinson, presently in custody of the Cook County Jail, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that on January 14, 2010, Defendant, Chicago Police Officer Sonley, subjected him to deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition. More specifically, he alleges that he was injured in an altercation with a person named Eugene Witherspoon, and was subsequently arrested for burglary. He further alleges that although he was bleeding from the head, Defendant Sonley hand cuffed him to a wall at the police station and told him that he would not provide Plaintiff with medical attention until he told him what had happened regarding the burglary. Plaintiff waited over two hours to be taken to the hospital where he received eight staples in his head. Plaintiff contends that he now must take psychiatric medications because of his injuries. Plaintiff also names City of Chicago, the Chicago Police Department, and Superintendent Jody Weis, seemingly in his supervisory capacity, as Defendants.
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 $25.17. 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, the trust fund officer at Plaintiff's place of confinement 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 collected from Plaintiff's trust fund account 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 initial review of prisoner complaints against governmental entities or employees. Here, accepting Plaintiff's factual allegations as true, the Court finds that the complaint states a colorable cause of action under the Civil Rights Act as to Defendant Sonley for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. Davis v. Carter, 453 F.3d 686, 696 (7th Cir. 2006). Defendant Sonley must respond to the complaint.
However, Plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action against Defendant Jody Weis. Plaintiff makes his claims against Defendant Weis in his supervisory capacity. Plaintiff has alleged no facts suggesting his direct, personal involvement, as required by J.H. ex rel. Higgin v. Johnson, 346 F.3d 788, 793 (7th Cir. 2003), inter alia. Nor has Plaintiff indicated that the alleged violation of his constitutional rights occurred at his direction or with his knowledge and consent. Id. 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).
The mere fact that Defendant Weis holds a supervisory position is insufficient to establish liability, as the doctrine of respondeat superior (blanket supervisory liability) does not apply to actions filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 740 (7th Cir. 2001). Section 1983 does not create collective or vicarious responsibility. Id. Supervisors cannot be held liable for the errors of their subordinates. Birch v. Jones, No. 02 C 2094, 2004 WL 2125416, at *6 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 22, 2004) (Manning, J.), citing Pacelli v. DeVito, 972 F.2d 871, 877 (7th Cir. 1992). "Supervisors who are merely negligent in failing to detect and prevent subordinates' misconduct are not liable." Chavez v. Illinois State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir. 2001) (citations omitted). To be held liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, supervisors "must know about the conduct and facilitate it, approve it, condone it, or turn a blind eye for fear of what they might see. They must in other words act either knowingly or with deliberate, reckless indifference." Id. In short, some causal connection or affirmative link between the action complained about and the official sued is necessary for § 1983 recovery. Hildebrandt v. Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources, 347 F.3d 1014, 1039 (7th Cir. 2003). Because Plaintiff has failed to state any facts suggesting that Defendant Weis was personally involved in--or even aware of--the alleged circumstances giving rise to the complaint, he has failed to state a claim against him.
Additionally, the Chicago Police Department is not a suable entity. See Castillo v. Cook County Mail Room Dept., 990 F.2d 304, 307 (7th Cir. 1993). Consequently, Chicago Police Department is not a proper Defendant, and must be dismissed.
Further, while Plaintiff has named the City of Chicago as a Defendant, he has not stated any discernable custom and policy, sufficient to state a claim against the City. See, e.g., Garrison v. Burke, 165 F.3d 565, 571 (7th Cir. 1999); Phelan v. Cook County, 463 F.3d 773, 789 (7th Cir. 2006); Monell v. Dep't. of Soc. Serv. of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978). In the case at bar, the plaintiff does not suggest that there was an unconstitutional municipal policy or custom. Accordingly, there is no basis for liability on the part of the City of Chicago.
The Clerk shall issue summons for service of the complaint on Defendant Sonley (hereinafter, "Defendant"). The Clerk shall also send Plaintiff a Magistrate Judge Consent Form and Instructions for Submitting Documents along with 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 Chicago Police Department 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 without prejudice to later renewal. Plaintiff has alleged no disability that might preclude him from pursuing the case adequately on his own. While he has pled an injury to his head, for which he is now taking medication, he has adequately pled his cause of action. Neither the legal issues raised in the complaint, nor the evidence that might support Plaintiff's claim is so complex or intricate that a trained attorney appears to be necessary, at least not at this time. The Court also notes that judges give pro se litigants wide latitude in handling their lawsuits. Plaintiff may renew his request, if he wishes, after Defendant responds to the complaint.
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