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John S. Wieczorek (#2012-0302023 v. Cook County

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois


August 3, 2012

JOHN S. WIECZOREK (#2012-0302023)
v.
COOK COUNTY, ET AL.

Name of Assigned Judge SHARON JOHNSON Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge COLEMAN than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

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 $22.54 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, Cook County is dismissed as a defendant on initial review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The clerk is directed to issue summonses for service on defendant Slivia by the U.S. Marshal. 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.

STATEMENT

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 an officer at the Cook County Jail violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights by using excessive force against him. More specifically, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant suddenly attacked him for no reason, choking the plaintiff and repeatedly banging his head against the wall on account of a fight the two had engaged in prior to the plaintiff's incarceration.

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 $22.54. 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 against Officer Slivia under the Civil Rights Act. Unjustified force against a pretrial detainee violates the inmate's rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. See, e.g., Rice ex rel. Rice v. Correctional Medical Services, 675 F.3d 650, 667-68 (7th Cir. 2012). While a more fully developed record may belie the plaintiff's claims, defendant Slivia must respond to the allegations in the complaint.

However, Cook County is dismissed as a defendant on initial review. The doctrine of respondeat superior (blanket supervisory liability) does not apply to actions filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. A municipal body is responsible under Section 1983 only when the execution of a governmental policy or custom inflicts the injury. Valentino v. Village of South Chicago Heights, 575 F.3d 664, 674-675 (7th Cir. 2009), citing Monell, 436 U.S. at 694. A municipality cannot be held liable for a constitutional violation in the absence of a custom, policy, or practice that effectively caused or condoned the alleged constitutional violations. See, e.g., Wragg v. Village of Thornton, 604 F.3d 464, 467 (7th Cir. 2010); Phelan v. Cook County, 463 F.3d 773, 789 (7th Cir. 2006); Monell, 436 U.S. at 694. The policy or custom must be the "moving force" behind the alleged constitutional deprivation. Gable v. City of Chicago, 296 F.3d 531, 537 (7th Cir. 2002). A plaintiff must show a "direct causal link between the municipal policy and the constitutional deprivation." Arlotta v. Bradley Center, 349 F.3d 517, 522 (7th Cir. 2003). In this case, the plaintiff has alleged no such custom, policy, or practice; to the contrary, the plaintiff's allegation of an unprovoked attack would presumably violate jail policy.

The clerk shall issue summonses for service of the complaint on defendant Slivia. The United States Marshals Service is appointed to serve Slivia. Any service forms necessary for the plaintiff to complete will be sent by the Marshal as appropriate to serve the defendant with process. The U.S. Marshal is directed to make all reasonable efforts to serve the defendant. If Officer Slivia 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 defendant 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. On this single occasion, the court has made judge's and service copies of the complaint for the plaintiff. However, the plaintiff is advised that he 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 defendant [or to defense counsel, once an attorney has entered an appearance on behalf of the defendant]. 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.

20120803

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