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Jesus Maldonado (#20458-014 v. Thomas Dart

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois

December 21, 2012

JESUS MALDONADO (#20458-014)

Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge John A. Nordberg than Assigned Judge



Plaintiff's motion for leave to file in forma pauperis [3] is granted. The Court orders the trust fund officer at Plaintiff's current place of incarceration to deduct $11.33 from Plaintiff's account for payment to the Clerk of Court as an initial partial filing fee. The Clerk is directed to forward a copy of this order to the office of Inmate Trust Fund Accounts, United States Penitentiary at Tucson, USP Tucson, U.S. Penitentiary, Federal Satellite Low, P.O. Box 24549, Tucson, AZ 85734 However, Salvador Godinez, Michael Miller, and Marity Martinez are dismissed as Defendants. The Clerk is directed to issue summonses for Defendants Tom Dart and David Fagus, and the United States Marshals Service is appointed to serve them. Tom Dart remains as a Defendant for the sole purpose of assisting in identifying the John Doe Defendants and assisting with service. The Clerk shall send Plaintiff Instructions for Submitting Documents, along with a copy of this order. Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel [4] is denied.

O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.


Plaintiff, Jesus Maldonado, presently in federal custody at USP Tucson, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that he was subjected to deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition while incarcerated at the Cook County Jail. More specifically, he alleges that he was denied medication for ten days, starting on January 26, 2011, for his seizure disorder and for bipolar disorder.

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 $11.33. The trust fund officer at Plaintiff's place of incarceration is authorized and ordered to collect 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, Plaintiff's trust fund officer 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 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 this case number. This payment obligation will follow Plaintiff wherever he may be transferred.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt initial review of prisoner complaints against governmental entities or employees. Here, accepting Plaintiff's factual allegations as true, the Court finds that the complaint states a colorable cause of action under the Civil Rights Act as to Defendant Fagus for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.2d 724, 734 (7th Cir. 2001). While a more fully developed record may belie the Plaintiff's allegations, Defendants must respond to the complaint.

However, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against the other Defendants. As to the remaining Defendants, Plaintiff seems to be attempting to hold them accountable because they hold supervisory positions.

The Court notes that Plaintiff has not sufficiently pled to state a claim against Defendants Dart, Godinez, Miller, and Martinez in their individual capacities. Plaintiff has alleged no facts suggesting his direct, personal involvement, as required by J.H. ex rel. Higgin v. Johnson, 346 F.3d 788, 793 (7th Cir. 2003), inter alia against any individual Defendant. Nor has Plaintiff indicated that the alleged violation of his constitutional rights occurred at any of these individuals' direction or with their knowledge and consent. Id. Section 1983 creates a cause of action based on personal liability and predicated upon fault; thus, "to be liable under § 1983, an individual defendant must have caused or participated in a constitutional deprivation." Pepper v. Village of Oak Park, 430 F.3d 809, 810 (7th Cir. 2005) (citations omitted).

The mere fact that Defendants Dart, Godinez, Miller, and Martinez hold supervisory positions is insufficient to establish liability, as the doctrine of respondeat superior (blanket supervisory liability) does not apply to actions filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 740 (7th Cir. 2001). Section 1983 does not create collective or vicarious responsibility. Id. Supervisors cannot be held liable for the errors of their subordinates. Birch v. Jones, No. 02 C 2094, 2004 WL 2125416, at *6 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 22, 2004) (Manning, J.), citing Pacelli v. DeVito, 972 F.2d 871, 877 (7th Cir. 1992). "Supervisors who are merely negligent in failing to detect and prevent subordinates' misconduct are not liable." Chavez v. Illinois State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir. 2001) (citations omitted). To be held liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, supervisors "must know about the conduct and facilitate it, approve it, condone it, or turn a blind eye for fear of what they might see. They must in other words act either knowingly or with deliberate, reckless indifference." Id. In short, some causal connection or affirmative link between the action complained about and the official sued is necessary for § 1983 recovery. Hildebrandt v. Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources, 347 F.3d 1014, 1039 (7th Cir. 2003). Because Plaintiff has failed to state any facts suggesting that Defendants Dart, Godinez, Miller and Martinez were personally involved in--or even aware of--the alleged circumstances giving rise to the complaint, he has failed to state a claim against them. Thus, the only individual Defendant Plaintiff has stated a claim against for failure to provide him with adequate medical care is Defendant David Fagus.

While Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against Defendant Dart, he is not dismissed as a Defendant. Plaintiff names several John Doe Defendants. (See Plaintiff's complaint). Plaintiff must name as Defendants the individual correctional/medical personnel who subjected him to deliberate indifference. If Plaintiff cannot name the individual officers, he can name a supervisory official such as Tom Dart for the purpose of identifying unknown defendants. See Donald v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 95 F.3d 548, 556 (7th Cir. 1996); Billman v. Indiana Dept. of Corrections, 56 F.3d 785, 789-90 (7th Cir. 1995). Thus, Dart remains as a Defendant only to the extent that he is necessary to assist Plaintiff in identifying the unnamed personnel.

Plaintiff is advised to conduct discovery as soon as possible to obtain the names of the correctional employees in question. The statute of limitations for Section 1983 actions filed in Illinois is two years. See 735 ILCS § 5/13-202; Henderson v. Bolanda, 253 F.3d 928, 931 (7th Cir. 2001), citing Ashafa v. City of Chicago, 146 F.3d 459, 462 (7th Cir. 1998). In this circuit, a plaintiff cannot invoke the relation back principles of Rule 15© to replace John Doe Defendants with named Defendants after the statute of limitations has expired. See Worthington v. Wilson, 8 F.3d 1253, 1256-57 (7th Cir. 1993); see also Wood v. Worachek, 618 F.2d 1225, 1230 (7th Cir. 1980).

The Clerk shall issue summonses for service of the complaint on Defendants Fagus and Dart (hereinafter, "Defendants"). The Clerk shall also send Plaintiff a Magistrate Judge Consent Form and Instructions for Submitting Documents along with a copy of this order.

The United States Marshals Service is appointed to serve Defendants. Any service forms necessary for Plaintiff to complete will be sent by the Marshal as appropriate to serve Defendants with process. The U.S. Marshal is directed to make all reasonable efforts to serve Defendants. If any Defendant can no longer be found at the work address provided by Plaintiff, the Cook County Department of Corrections shall furnish the Marshal with that Defendant's last-known address. The information shall be used only for purposes of effectuating service [or for proof of service, should a dispute arise] and any documentation of the address shall be retained only by the Marshal. Address information shall not be maintained in the Court file, nor disclosed by the Marshal. The Marshal is authorized to mail a request for waiver of service to Defendants in the manner prescribed by FED. R. CIV. P. 4(d)(2) before attempting personal service.

Plaintiff is instructed to file all future papers concerning this action with the Clerk of Court in care of the Prisoner Correspondent. Plaintiff must provide the Court with the original plus a complete judge's copy, including any exhibits, of every document filed. In addition, Plaintiff must send an exact copy of any Court filing to Defendants [or to defense counsel, once an attorney has entered an appearance on behalf of Defendants]. Every document filed with the Court must include a certificate of service stating to whom exact 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 or returned to Plaintiff.

The Court denies Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel, without prejudice to later renewal. Plaintiff has alleged no disability that might preclude him from pursuing the case adequately on his own. Neither the legal issues raised in the complaint, nor the evidence that might support Plaintiff's claims are so complex or intricate that a trained attorney appears to be necessary, at least not at this time. The Court also notes that judges give pro se litigants wide latitude in handling their lawsuits. Plaintiff may renew his request, if he wishes, after Defendants respond to the complaint.


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