United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert U.S. District Judge
Christopher Wells, an inmate in Jefferson County Justice
Center in Mount Vernon, Illinois, brings this action for
deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. 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
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). 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). Conversely, a
complaint is plausible on its face “when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to
accept factual allegations as true, see Smith v.
Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), some factual
allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail
to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff’s claim.
Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009).
Additionally, Courts “should not accept as adequate
abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or
conclusory legal statements.” Id. At the same
time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint
are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth
Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits,
the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority
under § 1915A; this action is subject to summary
dismissal, although Plaintiff will be granted leave to file
an amended complaint.
11, 2011, Plaintiff, who was then a minor child, was taken
into custody by the Mt. Vernon Police Department. (Doc. 1, p.
1). Plaintiff’s parents or guardians were never
notified that he had been taken into custody, and no attempts
to contact Plaintiff’s parents were made. (Doc. 1, p.
1). Detective Bullard coerced Plaintiff into incriminating
himself by telling Plaintiff that if he showed remorse and
identified the shooter in the relevant crime, his case would
be kept in juvenile court. (Doc. 1, p. 1). Plaintiff’s
statement was not suppressed. (Doc. 1, p. 3).
the only Defendant Plaintiff has named is the City of Mount
Vernon itself. In order to obtain relief against a
municipality, a plaintiff must allege that the constitutional
deprivations were the result of an official policy, custom,
or practice of the municipality. Monell v. Dept. of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978); see also
Pourghoraishi v. Flying J, Inc., 449 F.3d 751, 765 (7th
Cir. 2006). Plaintiff has not made that allegation here; his
Complaint is only concerned with the Plaintiff’s own
treatment. Nor has Plaintiff pleaded sufficient factual
content from which the Court could infer that Mount Vernon
had such an official policy, custom, or practice. See
City of Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 824
(1985) (“Proof of a single incident of unconstitutional
activity is not sufficient to impose liability under
Monell unless proof of the incident includes proof
that it was caused by an existing, unconstitutional municipal
policy, which policy can be attributed to a municipal
does allege that Detective Bullard participated in his
unconstitutional interrogation. However, Bullard is not
listed in the case caption. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 10(a), the case caption must contain all parties.
Pro se prisoners must comply with this rule. Cash v.
Marion Cnty. Jail, 211 F. App’x 486, 488 (7th Cir.
2006). Moreover, it is not clear the Bullard actually
participated in the conduct at issue here-the failure to
notify Plaintiff’s parents or guardians. The reason
that plaintiffs, even those proceeding pro se, for
whom the Court is required to liberally construe complaints,
see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972),
are required to associate specific defendants with specific
claims is so these defendants are put on notice of the claims
brought against them and so they can properly answer the
complaint. “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2)
requires only ‘a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ’ in
order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the .
. . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.’” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Without a clear statement that
Bullard was the officer responsible for the alleged
constitutional violation, Plaintiff’s Complaint fails
to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.