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Jonathan Phillips v. Sangamon County Jail and Officer Shyeril Underwood

September 24, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, U.S. District Judge:


Monday, 24 September, 2012 01:05:00 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD


Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and detained in Sangamon County Jail, pursues claims arising from an attack on him by another inmate. The case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.


The Court is required by § 1915A to review a Complaint filed by a prisoner against a governmental entity or officer and, through such process, to identify cognizable claims, dismissing any claim that is "frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." A hearing is held if necessary to assist the Court in this review, but, in this case, the Court concludes that no hearing is necessary. The Complaint and its attachments are clear enough on their own for this Court to perform its merit review of Plaintiff's Complaint.

The review standard under § 1915A is the same as the notice pleading standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Zimmerman v. Tribble, 226 F.3d 568, 571 (7th Cir. 2000). To state a claim, the allegations must set forth a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Factual allegations must give enough detail to give "'fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" EEOC v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007)(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)(add'l citation omitted)). The factual "allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level.'" Id. (quoting Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged . . . . Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)(citing Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555-56). However, pro se pleadings are liberally construed when applying this standard. Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009).


On July 19, 2012, Defendant Underwood allegedly put a known enemy of Plaintiff in Plaintiff's cell, without first ensuring that the placement was safe. The enemy assaulted Plaintiff, breaking Plaintiff's nose and giving Plaintiff a black eye. Officer "Piphen" (illegible in Complaint) and Lieutenant Smith allegedly ignored Plaintiff's pleas for medical attention.

Plaintiff states an arguable constitutional claim against Defendant Underwood for failing to protect Plaintiff from a known and substantial risk of serious injury. Shields v. Dart, 664 F.3d 178, 181 (7th Cir. 2011)("To prove deliberate indifference, [the plaintiff] needed to show that the defendants knew of a substantial risk of serious injury to him and failed to protect him from that danger.").

Plaintiff also states an arguable constitutional claim against Defendants Piphen and Smith for refusing to take Plaintiff for medical care after the assault. "[A] delay in the provision of medical treatment for painful conditions-even non-life-threatening conditions-can support a deliberate-indifference claim, . . . , so long as the medical condition is 'sufficiently serious or painful.'" Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 779 (7th Cir. 2008)(quoted and other cites omitted). In Grieveson v. Anderson, the Seventh Circuit reversed a grant of summary judgment to the defendants on a prisoner's claim arising from a one and one-half day delay in obtaining medical care for the prisoner's broken nose.

Plaintiff does not list Piphen and Smith as Defendants, but his allegations make clear that he is complaining of their conduct.

Accordingly, Piphen and Smith will be added as Defendants. The Court is not sure if "Piphen" is the correct name, as the Complaint is only partially legible. Plaintiff should file the correct name in order to facilitate service.

Plaintiff sues the Sangamon County Jail, but the Jail is not a "person" or entity amenable to suit under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. See Powell v. Cook County Jail, 814 F.Supp. 757 ...

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