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Darnell Thomas-El (#2010-0628137 v. County of Cook

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois

August 3, 2012

DARNELL THOMAS-EL (#2010-0628137)

Name of Assigned Judge or Magistrate Judge Robert W. Gettleman

Sitting Judge if Other than Assigned Judge



Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [3] is granted. The trust fund officer at plaintiff's place of confinement is authorized to make deductions from his account in accordance with this order. The clerk shall issues summons for service of the complaint on Cook County Jail Officer O'Rourke. Cook County is dismissed as a defendant. The Moorish Science Temple of America is dismissed as a plaintiff.

O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.


Plaintiff Darnell Thomas-El, currently confined at the Cook County Jail, has filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. He names as defendants Cook County and Cook County Jail Officer O'Rourke, alleging that, on January 25, 2012, O'Rourke beat and punched plaintiff when he would not move more quickly when changing cells. Plaintiff further states that there is a custom of beating pretrial detainees. Plaintiff includes as a plaintiff the Moorish Science Temple of America.

Plaintiff's in forma pauperis application indicates that he cannot prepay the $350 filing fee. The court thus grants his IFP motion and assesses an initial partial filing fee of $18.66. The trust fund account officer at plaintiff's place of confinement is authorized to collect, when funds exist, the partial filing fee from plaintiff's account and pay it to the clerk of court. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the trust fund officer is directed to collect monthly payments from plaintiff's account in an amount equal to 20% of the preceding month's income credited to the account. Monthly collected payments 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. Plaintiff shall remain responsible for this filing fee, and Cook County Jail officers shall notify transferee authorities of any outstanding balance if he is transferred.

The court has conducted a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The allegations described above state a colorable cause of action against Officer O'Rourke, such that he must respond. See Rice ex rel. Rice v. Correctional Medical Services, 675 F.3d 650, 667-68 (7th Cir. 2012). Plaintiff's allegations of the incident with O'Rourke, however, is insufficient to state a claim of an unconstitutional policy or custom to support a claim against the County. Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978); Cornfield v. Consolidated High School Dist. No. 230, 991 F.2d 1316, 1326. (7th Cir. 1993) ("A single isolated incident of wrongdoing by a non-policymaker is generally insufficient to establish municipal acquiescence in unconstitutional conduct."). Nor does plaintiff provide any explanation of what the Moorish Science Temple is or why it is named as a plaintiff. The Moorish Science Temple and Cook County are thus dismissed.

The clerk shall issue summons for service of the complaint on Officer O'Rourke through the U.S. Marshal. Any service forms necessary for plaintiff to complete will be sent by the Marshal. Plaintiff's failure to return forms may result in the dismissal of defendant. If defendant is no longer employed at Cook County Jail, officials there shall furnish his last known address, which shall be used only to effectuate service, and which shall not be kept in the court file, nor disclosed by the Marshal. The Marshal may mail a request for waiver of service to defendant pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d)(2). If unable to obtain a waiver, the Marshal shall attempt personal service.

Plaintiff must file all future papers concerning this action with the clerk of court in care of Prisoner Correspondent. Plaintiff must provide the court with the original plus a judge's copy, including exhibits, of every document filed. Copies of court filings must be sent to defendant or his attorney, if one has entered an appearance. All court filings must include a certificate of service stating to whom 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 and/or returned to plaintiff.


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