Name of Assigned Judge Matthew F. Kennelly Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge
The Court grants Plaintiff's motion for leave to file in forma pauperis . Trust fund officials at Plaintiff's place of confinement are authorized to make deductions from his account in accordance with this order. The clerk shall mail a copy of this order to the trust fund officer at the Lawrence Correctional Center. Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed without prejudice to him submitting an amended complaint in accordance with this order by May 23, 2012. The clerk shall send Plaintiff an amended civil rights complaint form, along with a copy of this order. Plaintiff's failure to comply with this order will result in summary dismissal of this case. His motion for the appointment of counsel  is denied without prejudice to renewal.
O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.
Malcolm Blakemore, who is incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center, has filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action naming Sheriff Tom Dart as Defendant. Plaintiff alleges that on March 18, 2011, the bus transporting him back to Cook County Jail was hit by a bus leaving the facility. Plaintiff, who was asleep and handcuffed, was thrown to the floor and injured his neck, shoulder, and back. Plaintiff states that he complained to the transporting officer, who instructed Plaintiff to tell the officer at his unit. He then asked an officer in his unit to report the incident, but Plaintiff was never able to file a report. Plaintiff avers that he then filed a grievance to report the incident but never received a response, and that he requested medical attention but did not receive adequate care. He contends that he is still having "issues" with his back, neck, and shoulder.
Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis indicates that he is unable to pre-pay the $350 filing fee. The Court grants his motion and assesses an initial partial filing fee of $17.70. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The supervisor of inmate trust accounts at Plaintiff's place of confinement is authorized to deduct the initial partial filing fee from Plaintiff's trust fund account and send it to the Court. Thereafter, the trust fund officer shall collect monthly payments from Plaintiff's account in an amount equal to 20% of the preceding month's income credited to the account. Monthly payments collected from Plaintiff's 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, IL 60604, attn: Cashier's Desk, 20th Floor, and shall clearly identify Plaintiff's name and the case number of this suit. Plaintiff shall remain responsible for the filing fee, and Lawrence authorities shall notify transferee authorities of any outstanding balance in the event Plaintiff is transferred to another facility.
Although Plaintiff may proceed in forma pauperis, his complaint cannot proceed, as it is unclear what claims he seeks to raise and whom he seeks to sue. Though Plaintiff has sued Sheriff Dart, there is no indication that Dart was personally involved. Dart cannot be held liable simply as the supervisor of one who commits a tort, but instead, must have had "personal involvement in the alleged constitutional deprivation." Palmer v. Marion County, 327 F.3d 588, 594 (7th Cir. 2003). If Plaintiff named Dart in order to identify officers whose names Plaintiff does not know, he may do so, but he must indicate which officers he seeks to sue (even if he can now identify to them only as John or Jane Doe) and why.
In addition, Plaintiff must clarify what claims he seeks to raise. To satisfy the notice pleading requirement of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a), Plaintiff must provide sufficient information to give the Court and the Defendants notice of what claims he asserts and the grounds upon which the claims are based. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The allegations in the complaint must also state at least a "plausible claim for relief" and must allege facts that raise Plaintiff's right to relief above a mere speculative level. Maddox v. Love, 655 F.3d 709, 718 (7th Cir. 2011), citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
A liberal construction of Plaintiff's complaint indicates that he seeks to assert three possible claims -- a claim against the officers driving the vehicles, a claim that Plaintiff was unable to report the accident, and a claim that he was unable to receive adequate medical treatment for his injuries. Plaintiff's allegations, however, either do not raise a constitutional issue to support a § 1983 action or are insufficiently alleged to give adequate notice under Rule 8(a). The instant suit is a federal civil rights one governed by § 1983, which requires Plaintiff to prove a constitutional violation by a state actor. Harris v. Kuba, 486 F.3d 1010, 1014 (7th Cir. 2007).
With respect to a claim against the drivers of the two vehicles, Plaintiff's allegations indicate, at most, negligence. Negligence by correctional officers does not amount to a constitutional violation; Plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that rhw officers acted with deliberate indifference. Id.; see also Rosario v. Brawn, 670
F.3d 816, 821-22 (7th Cir. 2012). Deliberate indifference in the context of an automobile accident generally requires actions amounting to criminal recklessness, i.e., that the driver had actual knowledge that the manner he drove the vehicle posed a serious risk of harm and that he consciously disregarded that risk. Hill v. Shobe, 93 F.3d 418, 421 (7th Cir. 1996). Such behavior cannot be inferred from Plaintiff's allegations.
If Plaintiff seeks to allege that he was denied the ability to report the accident, his claim does not state a constitutional issue. The Constitution does not obligate prisons to provide a grievance process, nor does the existence of a grievance process itself create a protected interest. Owens v. Hinsley, 635 F.3d 950, 953--54 (7th Cir. 2011); Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 772--73 (7th Cir. 2008). ...