Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Canada v. Clayton

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

December 20, 2013

JON CANADA, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES CHRISTOPHER CLAYTON, et al., Defendants.

MERIT REVIEW OPINION

COLIN STIRLING BRUCE, District Judge.

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and detained in the Rushville Treatment and Detention Center, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis. He has paid his partial filing fee.

The "privilege to proceed without posting security for costs and fees is reserved to the many truly impoverished litigants who, within the District Court's sound discretion, would remain without legal remedy if such privilege were not afforded to them." Brewster v. North Am. Van Lines, Inc. , 461 F.2d 649, 651 (7th Cir. 1972). Additionally, a court must dismiss cases proceeding in forma pauperis "at any time" if the action is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim, even if part of the filing fee has been paid. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d)(2). Accordingly, this Court grants leave to proceed in forma pauperis only if the complaint states a federal claim.

In reviewing the complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour , 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to "state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'" Alexander v. U.S. , 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(quoted cite omitted).

ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff is civilly detained in the Rushville Treatment and Detention Center pursuant to the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, 725 ILCS 207/1, et seq. When he arrived at the Center in March of 2012, Plaintiff initially refused to room with any other detainees because Plaintiff feared for his safety from "unknown committed predator[s]." (Complaint, ¶ 17.) Defendants Parsons and Kulhan allegedly threatened to make life difficult for Plaintiff if Plaintiff continued to refuse a roommate. After Plaintiff was punished by the Behavior Committee for refusing a roommate, Plaintiff capitulated and accepted a roommate, but Plaintiff was still disciplined based on his prior refusals.

Defendants Biermann and Clayton allegedly began a campaign of retaliation against Plaintiff for Plaintiff's refusals to accept a roommate and for Plaintiff's complaints and attempts to recruit help for his cause from the outside. The retaliation took the form of, among other adverse actions, the deprivation of Plaintiff's personal property and the application of excessively tight and painful hand restraints, including a "black box, " during transports outside the facility. The restraints were allegedly so tight that Plaintiff developed severe carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands which required surgery. Dr. Lochard eventually instructed security not to use the black box on Plaintiff, but Defendants Heller, Ackman, and a John Doe Defendant allegedly ignored this order and applied the black box anyway, causing Plaintiff severe pain and swelling.

ANALYSIS

Plaintiff, as a civil detainee, is constitutionally entitled to humane conditions of confinement. Sain v. Wood , 512 F.3d 886 (7th Cir. 2008). He is also entitled to reasonable protection from known and substantial risks of serious harm. Brown v. Budz , 398 F.3d 904, 909-916 (7th Cir. 2005).

Requiring Plaintiff to room with another detainee does not violate Plaintiff's constitutional rights. See Bell v. Wolfish , 441 U.S. 520, 540, 542 (1979)(double-celling pretrial detainees in one-man cell does not alone violate Constitution). The fact that other detainees are, like Plaintiff, detained pursuant to the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act does not put Plaintiff at a known and substantial risk of serious harm. See Brown v. Budz , 398 F.3d 904, 909, 913 (7th Cir.2005)(generalized risk of violence is not enough to state a failure to protect claim). Plaintiff had no federal right to refuse to room with another detainee. Therefore, the punishment for his refusal violates no federal right.

However, Plaintiff does have a qualified First Amendment right to voice his concerns about the conditions of his confinement, and he cannot be retaliated against for doing so. Babcock v. White , 102 F.3d 267, 276 (7th Cir. 1996). Plaintiff's allegations that he was subjected to excessive restraints and other adverse actions in retaliation for his complaints states a plausible retaliation claim under the Constitution.

Plaintiff also states a claim arising from the alleged excessive restraints. Generally, there is no constitutionally protected liberty interest in avoiding the "black box" restraints or other restraints during transport, even for civil detainees. Miller v. Dobier , 634 F.3d 412, 414-15 (7th Cir. 2011). However, restraints cannot be applied in a manner which intentionally causes the "unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain." Whitley v. Albers , 475 U.S. 312, 320 (1986)(Eighth Amendment excessive force claim by prisoner). Additionally, restraints used on a detainee must be "rationally related to a legitimate non-punitive government purpose" and not "excessive in relation to the purpose they allegedly serve." May v. Sheahan , 226 F.3d 876, 884 (7th Cir. 2000). Plaintiff's allegations allow an inference that his restraints were applied for the purpose of causing Plaintiff to suffer gratuitously, and that, regardless of Defendants' motives, the restraints were excessive in relation to legitimate security concerns.

Plaintiff also states an arguable claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs arising from the use of excessive restraints. Plaintiff alleges that security staff intentionally ignored Dr. Lochard's order that the black box not be used. Additionally, liberally construing Plaintiff's allegations, Plaintiff seems to be alleging that Defendants stalled Plaintiff's access to Dr. Lochard. Zentmyer v. Kendall County, Ill. , 220 F.3d 805, 810 (7th Cir. 2000)(guards cannot "intentionally deny[] or delay[] access to medical care or intentionally interfere[e] with the treatment once prescribed.'")( quoting Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976). Plaintiff also seems to allege that Dr. Lochard was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs by delaying Plaintiff's diagnosis and treatment. McGee v. Adams , 721 F.3d 474 (7th Cir. 2013)(detainee's constitutional rights are violated by deliberate indifference to detainee's serious medical needs).

The claims stated by Plaintiff identified above will proceed against only Defendants Clayton, Biermann, Heller, Ackman, and Dr. Lochard. None of the other Defendants are implicated in these claims. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Jumper is liable because Jumper was responsible for overseeing the facility's operations. However, being in charge is not enough to make someone personally responsible for constitutional violations. Kuhn v. Goodlow , 678 F.3d 552. 556 (7th Cir. 2012)("An individual cannot be held liable in a § 1983 action unless he caused or participated in an alleged constitutional deprivation.'")(quoted cite omitted); Chavez v. Illinois State Police , 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir. 2001)(no respondeat superior liability under § 1983); Soderbeck v. Burnett County , 752 F.2d 285, 293 (7th Cir. 1985)("Failure to take corrective action cannot in and of itself violate section 1983. Otherwise the action of an inferior officer would automatically be attributed up the line to his highest superior...."). Defendants ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.