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Michael Birks (2012-0530014 v. Dart

October 30, 2012

MICHAEL BIRKS (2012-0530014)
v.
DART



Name of Assigned Judge or Magistrate Judge John Z. Lee Sitting Judge if Other than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [3] is granted. The Court authorizes and orders Cook County Jail officials to deduct $14.60 from 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, John Doe correctional officers are added as Defendants. The clerk shall issue a summons for service on Dart and send Plaintiff a Magistrate Judge Consent Form, Amended Civil Rights Complaint Form, and Instructions for Submitting Documents along with a copy of this order. Dart remains as a defendant solely so that Plaintiff can identify the John Doe Defendants. The United States Marshals Service is appointed to serve Defendant. Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel [4] is denied without prejudice.

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

STATEMENT

Pro se Plaintiff, Michael Birks, a Cook County Jail detainee, has brought a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), Plaintiff is assessed an initial partial filing fee of $14.60. 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 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 Plaintiff's place of confinement is directed to collect monthly payments from 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 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 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 review of the complaint because the plaintiff is a prisoner seeking redress from a government entity, officer, or employee.

Plaintiff alleges that the showers in his division at the jail do not function properly causing him to be repeatedly exposed to raw sewage in the showers. He further alleges that he and his cell mate cannot maintain a properly clean cell because they are denied cleaning supplies, which are particularly necessary in light of his cell mate having a colostomy bag. The conditions in the shower area and his cell have allegedly made him ill, resulting in headaches and nausea. Plaintiff complained to correctional officers who allegedly ignored the situation.

The Eighth Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual punishment protects prisoners from the "unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain" by the state. Christopher v. Buss, 384 F.3d 879, 881 (7th Cir. 2004). To state a claim premised on prison officials' failure to protect him from harm, a plaintiff must allege that defendants knew of and disregarded an "excessive risk" to his "health and safety." Id. at 882. The question of defendants' culpability is subjective, but the risk is evaluated on an objective basis - the allegedly dangerous prison condition must deprive an inmate of "the minimal civilized measures of life's necessities." Id.

In the objective stage of the inquiry, a detainee cannot be detained in conditions that are "so grave that to expose any unwilling individual to [them] would offend contemporary standards of decency." Id. Exposure to raw sewage is a sufficiently grave condition. Id. (citations omitted).

In the subjective stage of the inquiry, defendants' culpable state of mind, a correctional "official may be held liable . . . for denying humane conditions of confinement only if he knows [the detainee] face[s] a substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that risk by failing to take reasonable measures to abate it." Gillis v. Litscher, 468 F.3d 488, 491 (7th Cir. 2006) (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 847 (1994)). Plaintiff may proceed with this claim because the correctional officers allegedly ignored his repeated complaints about the exposure to raw sewage.

Plaintiff should be aware that his named Defendant, Sheriff Tom Dart, is ill-founded. Plaintiff fails to allege that Dart had any personal involvement in this case. "Plaintiff must plead that each government official defendant, through the official's own individual actions, has violated the Constitution." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009).

The proper defendants in this matter are the correctional officers that ignored Plaintiff's complaints and they have not been named as defendants. Plaintiff should be aware that he cannot obtain damages from any defendant unless he serves them (or obtains waivers of service) in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 4. Furthermore, he ...


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