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Green v. Walton

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

September 27, 2013

ANDRE GREEN, # XXXXX-XXX, Plaintiff,
v.
J.S. WALTON, UNKNOWN PARTY 1, and UNKNOWN PARTY 2, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Andre Green, currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, brings suit pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-2680. On April 25, 2013, an inmate driving an electric scaffold lift machine, under the direction of the facility's maintenance officer, ran over Green's foot. Plaintiff has been in pain ever since. Plaintiff has brought suit against the inmate worker, the maintenance supervisor, and the warden. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and a consultation with an outside medical specialist.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint.

On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

The Claims

Federal prisoners may bring suit under the FTCA for injuries sustained through the negligent acts of prison officials. Palay v. United States, 349 F.3d 418, 425 (7th Cir. 2003) (discussing United States v. Muniz, 374 U.S. 150 (1963)). An FTCA claim may be brought for:

[P]ersonal injury... caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.

Palay, 349 F.3d at 425 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1)).

Under Illinois law, a plaintiff states a claim for negligence if he alleges "facts establishing the existence of a duty of care owed by the defendants to the plaintiff, a breach of that duty, and an injury proximately caused by that breach." Thompson v. Gordon, 948 N.E.2d 39, 45 (Ill. 2011). Thus, as a general matter, the allegations in the compliant support a colorable FTCA claim, but that does not end the Court's review.

The Defendants

Plaintiff has named as defendants Marion Warden J.S. Walton, an unknown facilities maintenance officer, and an unknown inmate facilities maintenance. In an action under the FTCA, the United States of America is the only proper defendant. See 28 U.S.C. § 2679(b); FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471 (1994). Therefore, the United States must be substituted as the sole defendant, in place of Warden Walton and the two unidentified ...


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