United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
November 22, 2011
MIKE D. RUSSELL (#2008-0040842)
COUNTY OF COOK, ET AL.
Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge BLANCHE M. MANNING than Assigned Judge
DOCKET ENTRY TEXT:
The plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [#3] is granted. The court authorizes and orders Cook County Jail officials to deduct $12.83 from the 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, Illinois 60608. On the court's own motion, the complaint is dismissed as to defendants Cook County, Sheriff Thomas Dart, Executive Director Salvador Godinez, and Director of Security Miller pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The clerk is directed to issue summonses for all other defendants. The clerk is also directed to send the plaintiff a magistrate judge consent form and filing instructions along with a copy of this order.
O [For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.
The plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the Cook County Department of Corrections, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff claims that the defendants, jail officials, violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights by acting with deliberate indifference to his safety. More specifically, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants placed him in a housing tier with known enemies over his protests, ignored repeated threats made against him, and watched without intervening when, ultimately, he was brutally attacked.
The 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 $12.83. 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 the 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 the plaintiff's place of confinement is directed to collect monthly payments from the 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 the plaintiff's factual allegations as true, the court finds that the complaint states a colorable cause of action under the Civil Rights Act. Correctional officials must take reasonable steps to protect inmates in their custody who face a substantial risk of serious harm. See, e.g., Washington v. LaPorte County Sheriff's Department, 306 F.3d 515 (7th Cir. 2002). While a more fully developed record may belie the plaintiff's claims, the ten named defendants who allegedly had knowledge of the plaintiff's danger but who purportedly failed to act must respond to the allegations in the complaint.
However, on the court's own motion, the complaint is dismissed on initial review as to defendants Cook County, Thomas Dart, Salvador Godinez, and Security Director Miller. The plaintiff specifically sues those defendants on the basis of respondeat superior. 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); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1948 (2009) ("[P]laintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant, through the official's own individual actions, has violated the Constitution"). The doctrine of respondeat superior (blanket supervisory liability) does not apply to actions filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See, e.g., Kinslow v. Pullara, 538 F.3d 687, 692 (7th Cir. 2008). Because the plaintiff has failed to state any facts suggesting that supervisory officials were personally involved in--or even aware of--the alleged circumstances giving rise to the complaint, they are dismissed as defendants in this matter.
The clerk shall issue summonses for service of the complaint on all other defendants. The United States Marshals Service is appointed to serve the defendants. Any service forms necessary for the 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 jail employee who can no longer be found at the work address provided by the plaintiff, the Cook County Department of Corrections shall furnish the Marshal with the 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.
The plaintiff is instructed to file all future papers concerning this action with the Clerk of Court in care of the Prisoner Correspondent. The plaintiff must provide the court with the original plus a complete judge's copy, including any exhibits, of every document filed. In addition, the plaintiff must send an exact copy of any court filing to the defendants [or to defense counsel, once an attorney has entered an appearance on behalf of the defendants]. 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 the plaintiff.
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