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Deon Hampton v. George Sabie and John Rita

August 10, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Elaine E. Bucklo United States District Judge


Plaintiff Deon Hampton ("Hampton") has brought suit for violation of his civil rights against George Sabie ("Sabie"), a correctional officer at the Illinois Youth Center Joliet ("IYCJ"), and John Rita ("Rita"), the superintendent of the IYCJ. Hampton alleges that he was sexually assaulted by Sabie on June 9, 2008, when Hampton was an inmate at the IYCJ, and that Rita failed to protect him from this assault. Rita has brought a motion to dismiss, alleging that the claim against him is time-barred. For the reasons that follow, the motion is granted.


According to the allegations of the Amended Complaint, which will be accepted as true for the purposes of ruling on this motion, Hampton was 17 at the time of the incident. Hampton is openly homosexual, and was sexually harassed by Sabie and other correctional officers at the IYCJ. Sabie forced Hampton to take off all his clothes on several occasions, and Hampton complained to Rita about the harassment at least twice. Rita told Hampton he "should not be so gay." Hampton was placed in segregation as a result of his complaints about Sabie.

On June 9, 2008, Sabie entered Hampton's cell and offered him $400 for sex. When Hampton refused, Sabie threatened to use his position to keep Hampton in the IYCJ longer if Hampton did not perform a sex act on Sabie. Sabie then forced Hampton to perform a sex act on him.

After Sabie left Hampton's cell, Hampton reported the incident to another correctional officer. Another inmate reported that he witnessed the assault. Hampton was taken to the health care unit, where a rape kit was performed. Hampton's requests to call home and to report the assault were denied. He was stripped of his clothing and left naked until he was released a week later.

Hampton was eventually able to speak with a counselor who reported the sexual assault by Sabie. That counselor is believed to have been fired after the report. As a result of the report, Sabie was arrested and prosecuted. On Oct. 20, 2011, he was convicted of criminal sexual assault, custodial sexual assault, and official misconduct in the Will County Circuit Court.

In Count II of his Amended Complaint, Hampton alleges that Rita failed to investigate his complaints of sexual harassment, failed to take action when he learned of the sexual assault, and was deliberately indifferent to Hampton's constitutional rights.*fn1


Rita moves to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient facts, accepted as true, "to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Although a complaint's factual allegations need not be detailed, they must provide more than "labels, conclusions, or formulaic recitations of the elements of a cause of action, and allege enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level ." Ruiz v. Kinsella, 770 F. Supp. 2d 936, 941--42 (N.D. Ill. 2011)(citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In ruling on such a motion, the question is whether the facts, accepted as true, "present a story that holds together." Swanson v. Citibank, N.A ., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010). Although a statute of limitations defense does not normally form the basis for a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), when the allegations of the complaint reveal that relief is barred by the applicable statute of limitations, dismissal is appropriate. Logan v. Wilkins, 644 F.3d 577, 582 (7th Cir. 2011).


In § 1983 actions, federal courts adopt the forum state's statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Eison v. McCoy, 146 F.3d 468, 470 (7th Cir. 1988) (internal citations omitted). Under Illinois law, the general limitations period for personal injury claims is two years. Id. (citing 735 ILCS 5/13--202). When the claim is brought by a person who was younger than 18 years of age when the cause of action arose, he or she may bring the action within two years of turning 18. Reyes v. City of Chi., 585 F. Supp. 2d 1010, 1016 (N.D. Ill. 2008)(citing 735 ILCS 5/13--211).

Rita contends that because Hampton was a minor at the time of the sexual assault, he had two years from his 18th birthday to file a claim. According to his birth date on the Illinois Department of Corrections' web site, Hampton turned 18 in February 2009. I may take judicial notice of this date under Fed. R. Evid. 201 because it comes from the IDOC's official web site and is not subject to reasonable dispute. See B v. Duff, No. 06 C 4912, 2009 WL 2147936, at *1 n.3 (N.D. Ill. July 17, 2009) (citing Laborers' Pension Fund v. Blackmore Sewer Constr., Inc., 298 F.3d 600, 607 (7th Cir. 2002)). Hampton did not file suit until Nov. 29, 2011.

There appears to be no real dispute that if the standard two-year statute of limitations for ยง 1983 actions applies, then Hampton's claims are time-barred. Hampton argues, however, that the claims are timely under either of two Illinois statutes of ...

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