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Watson v. Williamson

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

July 3, 2013

MELVIN D. WATSON, Plaintiff,
v.
NEIL WILLIAMSON, Sheriff, Sangamon County, and UNKNOWN CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS OF THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, LIEUTENANT KAIN, OFFICER FERROW, OFFICER PIPKIN, OFFICER GILLESPIE, OFFICER DOETSCH, OFFICER BENINATO, OFFICER JANS, OFFICER BELL, OFFICER BLUHM, and OFFICER PAONI, Defendants.

OPINION

SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants Alex Gillespie, Candace Cain, Brent Ferro, Chris Doetsch, Thomas Pipkin, Joel Bluhm, and Jeremy Ball (d/e 65). Because the statute of limitations has run and the claims against these Defendants do not relate back to the date of the original pleading, the Motion is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

A. In March 2008, Plaintiff Files his Original Complaint

In March 2008, Plaintiff, Melvin D. Watson, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant Williamson and unknown correctional officers of the Sheriff's Department (Case No. 08-3070). In Count I, Plaintiff alleged that on July 11, 2006, he was incarcerated in the Sangamon County Jail and assaulted by five unknown inmates. According to Plaintiff, the unknown Defendant correctional officers failed to prevent Plaintiff from being physically attacked when they knew, or should have known, the attack was "impending." Plaintiff further alleged that the unknown correctional officers and Defendant Williamson demonstrated deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's safety in that they failed to maintain surveillance cameras, failed to maintain adequate supervision, and failed to prevent the attack. In Count II, Plaintiff sought punitive damages.

In September 2008, Defendant Williamson filed a motion to dismiss Count II and answered Count I. In April 2009, the Court dismissed Count II.

On April 6, 2010, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss for Want of Prosecution. That same day, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Without Prejudice. On April 12, 2010, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss and denied as moot Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Want of Prosecution.

B. In April 2011, Plaintiff Files Current Lawsuit

On April 7, 2011, Plaintiff refiled the Complaint against Defendant Williamson and unknown correctional officers of the Sheriff's Department for the injuries Plaintiff suffered in July 2006 (Case No. 11-3093). In Count I, brought pursuant to § 1983, Plaintiff alleged that the unknown Defendant correctional officers failed to prevent Plaintiff from being physically attacked by five other inmates when they knew, or should have known, that the attack was impending. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Williamson, acting in his official capacity, "engendered and promulgated a policy of deliberate indifference to avoiding harm and damages to inmates under his care, supervision, custody, and control." In Count II, titled "Assault and Battery, " Plaintiff alleged that the actions of Defendant Williamson and the unknown correctional officers permitted Plaintiff to be assaulted when they knew, or should have known, the assault and injuries would take place.

On July 6, 2011, Defendant Williamson filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings Pursuant to Rule 12(c), asserting that the statute of limitations had run. On August 9, 2011, this Court denied the Motion to Dismiss, finding that the refiled Complaint containing the § 1983 claim was timely because it was filed within one year of the order granting voluntary dismissal of the original action without prejudice (d/e 11).

In December 2012, Defendant Williamson filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 30). On February 5, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Add Additional Defendants (d/e 37). In his Motion, Plaintiff sought to add the following individuals: Lieutenant Kain, Officer Ferrow, Officer Pipkin, Officer Gillespie, Officer Doetsch, Officer Beninato, Officer Jans, Officer Ball, Officer Bluhm, and Officer Paoni.

In his Motion to Add Additional Defendants, Plaintiff asserted he had recently learned the identity of the correctional officers who were previously named as unknown defendants. Plaintiff asserted that, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c)(3), he should be allowed to add these additional defendants. On February 27, 2013, this Court granted Plaintiff leave to amend the Complaint to add the additional defendants but expressly noted that the Court was not deciding whether the claims related back to the original pleading. See February 27, 2013 Text Order.

On March 5, 2013, Plaintiff filed the Amended Complaint naming the additional defendants (d/e 40). The Amended Complaint alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's safety. No state law claims were asserted in the Amended Complaint. The Amended Complaint also contains the official capacity claim against Defendant Williamson that was contained in the Complaint filed April 2011.

On April 24, 2013, Waivers of Service were executed for Defendants Gillespie, Cain, Ferro, Doetsch, Pipkin, Bluhm, and Ball. The docket sheet does not reflect whether service has been ...


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