IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION
April 5, 2012
RAY JOHNSON #B-15761, PLAINTIFF,
MARCUS HARDY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
For some reason this Court learned of the filing of this 42 U.S.C. §1983 ("Section 1983") action only through its month-end check of the list of cases assigned to its calendar during March 2012 (for some reason the Judge's Copy of the Complaint filed by Ray Johnson ("Johnson") had not been delivered to chambers. With a photocopy of the Complaint now in hand, this Court is contemporaneously issuing its customary initial scheduling order, with this sua sponte memorandum order being occasioned by one aspect of the Complaint.
Each of the defendants, all of whom are or were affiliated with Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville") is assertedly being sued in two capacities--individual and official (see Complaint ¶¶4-12). That, however, appears to misunderstand the concept of a suit against a public official in his or her "official capacity," which is ordinarily equated to an action brought against the public body itself, with the individual being named solely as the proxy for that public body. Indeed, in this instance the only substantive reference to "official capacity" after those opening paragraphs (which do nothing more than to identify the individual defendants) is found in what is labeled "Second Claim for Relief--Deliberate Indifference in Official Capacity." That portion of the Complaint names only Stateville's Warden Marcus Hardy, and the allegations there reflect a clear effort to avoid the prohibition in Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs. of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978) against predicating Section 1983 liability on respondeat superior grounds.
Accordingly all references to "official capacity" are stricken except as to Warden Hardy. No view is expressed here as to the propriety of attaching that label to the Warden in terms of the possibility of realizing on any judgment, if Johnson were to prevail, out of assets other than those of the Warden personally.
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