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Donald Mccormick (N-82468 v. Loftus

September 7, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Name of Assigned Judge Joan B. Gottschall

Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge



Defendants' renewed motion to dismiss [72] is denied. Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel [75] is granted. The Court appoints Christina Diane Harrison of Williams Montgomery & John, Ltd., 233 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6359, (312) 443-3200, to represent Plaintiff in accordance with counsel's trial bar obligations under the District Court's Local Rule 83.37. A status hearing is scheduled for 10/4/2011 at 9:30AM.

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


Plaintiff, Donald McCormick, presently an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that two Chicago Police Detectives used excessive force against him and that two Dixon Correctional Center Correctional Officers failed to protect him and/or failed to intervene on his behalf. Plaintiff's suit was previously stayed pending the conclusion of his state criminal proceedings related to his claims. Those proceedings are now completed and the stay has been lifted. Presently before the Court is the correctional officers' renewed motion to dismiss and Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel.

A reading of Plaintiff's Complaint supports the following summary of the alleged operative conduct of the parties.

On August 10, 2005, Dixon Correctional Officers John Lanher and Jobaet Pedroza took Plaintiff from the Dixon Correctional Center to the Cook County Courthouse for a hearing in a pending criminal case. Upon arrival, it was learned that Plaintiff's hearing date was actually August 11, 2005. As Plaintiff, Lanher, and Pedroza were exiting the courtroom, two Chicago Police Detectives, Detectives Loftus and Shedish, asked Lanher and Pedroza if they could take Plaintiff to the police station for a line up. Initially, Lanher and Pedroza indicated that they could not and that they needed to return to Dixon. After the Defendants spoke in private, Loftus and Shedish asked Plaintiff to cooperate. Plaintiff refused to be taken anywhere and asked for an attorney or a court order directing him to go to the police station. Lanher and Pedroza told Loftus and Shedish that they could not make the Plaintiff cooperate without a court writ. The Defendants spoke privately again and Loftus and Shedish again asked the Plaintiff cooperate. Lanher and Pedroza then told Plaintiff that they spoke with someone at Dixon and that they were told to tell Plaintiff to cooperate. Loftus and Shedish then told Lanher and Pedroza to follow them to the police station.

On the way to the police station, Plaintiff told Lanher and Pedroza that if they were going to disregard his wishes, not to leave him alone with Loftus and Shedish because "that's how inmates get hurt." Lanher and Pedroza told Plaintiff that the warden at Dixon said to cooperate with the detectives.

At the police station, Lanher and Pedroza left Plaintiff in a room, handcuffed to a wall. Several detectives came into the room and asked Plaintiff to cooperate. Plaintiff refused and asked for an attorney. At some point, Loftus and Shedish wanted to fingerprint and photograph Plaintiff.

As Plaintiff was being taken to another room, one of the detectives struck Plaintiff in the back. Once in the other room, Plaintiff was stripped naked and placed in a cold cell. Plaintiff was told that he would stay in the cell until he cooperated. Some time later, Pedroza came to cell and asked Plaintiff why not cooperate so that he could put his clothes back on and they could return to Dixon. Plaintiff was freezing, so he cooperated, letting the detectives fingerprint and photograph him. Afterwards, Plaintiff was taken back to Dixon. He later learned that the warden had not told Lanher and Pedroza to tell him to cooperate.

Lanher and Pedroza move to dismiss the claims against them, arguing that Plaintiff's claims against them are barred by Heck V. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994); he has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; and that they are entitled to qualified immunity.

It is well established that pro se complaints are to be liberally construed. Kaba V. Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 681, 687 (7th Cir. 2006). Pro se submissions are held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009). Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires only "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) ...

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