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Elliott v. Burns

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 25, 2014

JEVON M. ELLIOTT, No. B8849, Plaintiff,
v.
BURNS, LIEUTENANT WETTBACK, SERGEANT KERSTIN, SWIFT, MICKLESS, BARRONE, and JANE DOE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Javon M. Elliott, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on events while Plaintiff was in the Jackson County Jail, which is located within the Southern District of Illinois.

This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening.-The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-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.

An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that "no reasonable person could suppose to have any merit." Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross "the line between possibility and plausibility. Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

The Complaint

According to the complaint, on February 24, 2012, while Plaintiff was being booked into the Jackson County Jail, he was assaulted by correctional officers Swift, Mickless and Barrone, without provocation. Plaintiff sustained injuries to his forehead, nose, mouth and shoulders. Lieutenant Wettback stood by and did not intervene. Sergeant Kerstin used a taser gun in order to "detain" Plaintiff during the assault, and Kerstin did not intervene to stop the attack.

Plaintiff did not receive medical treatment for his injuries for approximately 45 days (for reasons unknown), when Nurse Jane Doe assessed his condition. Nurse Doe refused Plaintiff's request to go to an outside hospital for a second opinion. Plaintiff was never seen by a physician while he was in the Jackson County Jail. Instead, Plaintiff had to wait for approximately a year, when his shoulder was x-rayed at Danville Correctional Center.

Plaintiff further faults Sheriff Burns, the chief administrator of the Jackson County Jail, for failing to train and supervise his staff.

Based on the allegations in the complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into three counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

Count 1: Defendants Swift, Mickless, Barrone, Lieutenant Wettback and Sergeant Kerstin, violated Plaintiff's rights under the Fourteenth Amendment when they assaulted Plaintiff without ...

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