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Isaac Alfonso Lee v. Sheriff Neil Williamson

September 24, 2012

ISAAC ALFONSO LEE PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHERIFF NEIL WILLIAMSON, LIEUTENANT CANDI CANE, C/O JOHN KIRBY, C/O JIMMY WYSE, AND SERGEANT BRIAN CARRIE, DEFENDANTS.



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

E-FILED

Monday, 24 September, 2012 04:02:13 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and incarcerated in Lawrence Correctional Center, pursues claims arising from an incident which occurred during his detention in the Sangamon County Jail. The case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

LEGAL STANDARD

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).

ALLEGATIONS

On January 19, 2012, while detained in the Sangamon County Jail, Plaintiff got into an altercation with another inmate, who struck him in the face with a sock holding batteries. Defendant Cane rushed in and sprayed the other inmate with mace. Though the situation was under control and Plaintiff was returning to his room, Defendant Wyse threw Plaintiff into a wall, and Defendant Carrie forcefully twisted Plaintiff's wrist. Plaintiff suffered severe pain about his face, wrist, and arm. He was kept in segregation for four days without a disciplinary ticket, but the other inmate was not placed in segregation. Plaintiff's pleas for medical attention were ignored.

ANALYSIS

Plaintiff's allegations are short on detail, but he alleges facts sufficient to infer plausible constitutional claims for excessive force and deliberate indifference to his need for medical attention. As for his segregation, "[a] pretrial detainee cannot be placed in segregation as a punishment for a disciplinary infraction without notice and an opportunity to be heard; due process requires no less. . . . But no process is required if he is placed in segregation not as punishment but for managerial reasons." Higgs v. Carver, 286 F.3d 437 (7th Cir. 2002)(citations omitted). The reasons for Plaintiff's segregation are not in the record, making dismissal of the segregation claim premature.

However, Sheriff Williamson will be dismissed. He cannot be held liable for the constitutional violations of others solely because he is in charge. Chavez v. Illinois State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir. 2001)(no respondeat superior liability under ยง 1983). No plausible inference arises that Williamson participated in, directed, approved of, or turned a blind eye to the adverse actions. See Johnson ...


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