United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
June 5, 2012
CURTIS STEWART (#2011-0730205)
COOK COUNTY JAIL, ET AL.
Name of Assigned Judge Virginia M. Kendall Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge
DOCKET ENTRY TEXT:
Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [#3] is granted. The Court authorizes and orders Cook County Jail officials to deduct $1.83 from 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, IL 60608. However, summonses shall not issue at this time. The Court dismisses the complaint on file without prejudice. Plaintiff is granted thirty days in which to submit an amended complaint (plus a judge's copy and service copies). Failure to submit an amended complaint within thirty days of the date of this order will result in summary dismissal of this case. The Clerk is directed to provide Plaintiff with an amended civil rights complaint form and instructions 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, Curtis Stewart, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated his due process rights by being deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he has a hernia, and that he has been unable to obtain medical treatment for the hernia or prescriptions for pain or for any of his other medical issues since he has been incarcerated at the Cook County Jail.
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 $1.83. 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 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.
However, Plaintiff must submit an amended complaint. None of the Defendants named in Plaintiff's complaint is a suable entity. See Castillo v. Cook County Mail Room Dept., 990 F.2d 304, 307 (7th Cir. 1993). Plaintiff must name as Defendants the individual correctional officer(s) or medical personnel who allegedly were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical condition. If Plaintiff cannot name the individuals, he can name a supervisory official such as Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart for the purpose of identifying unknown Defendants. See Donald v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 95 F.3d 548, 556 (7th Cir. 1996); Billman v. Indiana Dept. of Corrections, 56 F.3d 785, 789-90 (7th Cir. 1995). Although Plaintiff may name Tom Dart in order to identify unknown Defendants, he asserts no claims against Dart to hold him personally liable under § 1983. See Perkins v. Lawson, 312 F.3d 872, 875 (7th Cir. 2002) (supervisors cannot be held liable for the constitutional torts of a subordinate under a theory of respondeat superior). Thus, Dart, or some other supervisor should be named as a Defendant in the amended complaint only if he is needed to identify the unnamed medical or correctional personnel.
Once Plaintiff has obtained service on the supervisor, and an attorney has entered an appearance on the supervisor's behalf, Plaintiff may send defense counsel interrogatories (that is, a list of questions) eliciting information regarding the identity of the Defendants who allegedly violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 33. After Plaintiff learns Defendants' identities, he may again ask leave to amend the complaint to add their names as Defendants. Summonses will then issue for service on Defendants in interest and the supervisory Defendant will be dismissed. Plaintiff is advised that there is a two-year statute of limitations for civil rights actions; he should therefore attempt to identify the correctional officers as soon as possible. See Worthington v. Wilson, 8 F.3d 1253, 1256-57 (7th Cir. 1993); see also Wood v. Worachek, 618 F.2d 1225, 1230 (7th Cr. 1980).
For the foregoing reasons, the Court dismisses the complaint on file without prejudice. Plaintiff is granted thirty days in which to submit an amended complaint on the Court's required form. Plaintiff must write both the case number and the judge's name on the amended complaint, sign it, and return it to the Prisoner Correspondent. As with every document filed with the Court, Plaintiff must provide an extra copy for the judge; he must also submit a service copy for each defendant named in the amended complaint. Plaintiff is cautioned that an amended pleading supersedes the original complaint and must stand complete on its own. Therefore, all allegations against all defendants must be set forth in the amended complaint, without reference to the original complaint. Any exhibits Plaintiff wants the Court to consider in its threshold review of the amended complaint must be attached, and each copy of the amended complaint must include complete copies of any and all exhibits. Plaintiff is advised to keep a copy for his files. The Clerk will provide Plaintiff with an amended civil rights complaint form and instructions along with a copy of this order.
Plaintiff has also filed a motion for appointment of counsel. The motion is denied. Plaintiff has no right to counsel. See Romanelli v. Suliene, 615 F.3d 847, 851 (7th Cir. 2010); Johnson v. Doughty, 433 F.3d 1001, 1006 (7th Cir. 2006). Plaintiff has proven himself able to adequately represent himself thus far. The case at the present time does not involve complex discovery or an evidentiary hearing, and Plaintiff's current pleadings indicate that he has the presence of mind and intellectual capability to continue representing himself at this stage of the proceedings. Accordingly, his motion for the appointment of counsel is denied without prejudice. See Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 656-59. (7th Cir. 2007). Consequently, the Court denies his motion without prejudice to renewal should the case proceed to a point that assistance of counsel is appropriate.
© 1992-2012 VersusLaw Inc.