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Fifer v. Sangamon County Sheriff's Office

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

February 7, 2014



SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and detained in the Sangamon County Jail, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil case.

The case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. 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).

Plaintiff alleges that he has a ruptured disc in his back which was causing him severe pain on December 6, 2013, when he awoke at the Jail. Plaintiff tried to get help and then passed out from the pain. Jail Officer Todd Guy allegedly did not believe Plaintiff's professions of pain and used excessive force to manhandle Plaintiff into a high risk cell, where Plaintiff was stripped and denied medical attention. An unidentified nurse, physician, and physician's assistant have all denied Plaintiff treatment and pain medicine for his back pain.

Plaintiff states a claim for excessive force against Defendant Guy and a claim for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs against Defendants Guy, the nurse, the doctor, and the physician's assistant. However, no claim is stated against the Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Department cannot be held liable for the constitutional violation of its employees. The Sheriff's Department is only liable if a policy or practice caused the constitutional violation. Teesdale v. City of Chicago , 690 F.3d 829, 833-34 (7th Cir. 2012)(municipality must be "moving force" behind constitutional violation). No plausible inference arises that Plaintiff's constitutional deprivations were caused by a government practice or policy.

This case will be sent for service, but only to Defendant Guy. Plaintiff will need to provide the names of the other Defendants in order to accomplish service.


1) Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court finds that Plaintiff states the following constitutional claims: 1) excessive force claim against Defendant Guy; 2) deliberate indifference to serious medical needs claim against Defendant Guy and the unidentified nurse, doctor, and physician's assistant. This case proceeds solely on the claims identified in this paragraph. Any additional claims shall not be included in the case, except at the Court's discretion on motion by a party for good cause shown or pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.

2) The Sheriff's Office is dismissed as a Defendant.

3) By February 14, 2014, Plaintiff is directed to provide the names of the nurse, doctor, and physician's assistant whom Plaintiff lists as Defendants.

4) This case is now in the process of service. Plaintiff is advised to wait until counsel has appeared for Defendants before filing any motions, in order to give Defendants notice and an opportunity to respond to those motions. Motions filed before Defendants' counsel has filed an appearance will generally be denied as premature. Plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the Court at this time, unless otherwise directed by the Court.

5) The Court will attempt service on Defendants by mailing each Defendant a waiver of service. Defendants have 60 days from the date the waiver is sent to file an Answer. If Defendants have not filed Answers or appeared through counsel within 90 days of the entry of this order, Plaintiff may file a motion requesting the status of service. After Defendants have been served, the Court will enter an order setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.

6) With respect to a Defendant who no longer works at the address provided by Plaintiff, the entity for whom that Defendant worked while at that address shall provide to the Clerk said Defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said Defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be used only for effectuating service. Documentation of forwarding addresses shall be retained only by the Clerk and shall not be maintained in the public docket nor disclosed by the Clerk.

7) Defendants shall file an answer within 60 days of the date the waiver is sent by the Clerk. A motion to dismiss is not an answer. The answer should include all defenses appropriate under the Federal Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings shall be to the issues and claims stated in this Opinion. In general, an answer sets forth Defendants' positions. The Court does not rule on the merits of those positions unless and ...

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