United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert United States District Judge.
who is currently detained at Madison County Jail
(“Jail”) in Edwardsville, Illinois, brings this
pro se civil rights action against two Jail
officials pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act
(“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-2680
(Doc. 1). In his complaint, Plaintiff claims that Sergeant
Collman and Sheriff Lakin negligently failed to protect him
from an attack by three detainees at the Jail on November
(Doc. 1, p. 5). He seeks monetary relief against both
defendants (id. at 6).
Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under §
1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner
complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss any portion
of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks
for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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). The claim of
entitlement to relief must cross “the line between
possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557.
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). The complaint is subject to dismissal under
to the complaint, Plaintiff was attacked, beaten, and
severely injured by three detainees at Madison County Jail
(“Jail”) on November 26th (Doc. 1, p. 5). The
assault occurred soon after Sergeant Collman moved Plaintiff
into the same cellblock with a detainee who was involved in
his criminal case (id.). The cellblock had no panic
button, and no one responded to his cries for help, until an
officer made his regular 30-minute rounds and observed the
three detainees beating Plaintiff.
result of the attack, Plaintiff sustained severe injuries,
including a collapsed lung, three broken ribs, a broken nose,
and facial swelling. Immediately after the assault, he was
taken to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. He
remained hospitalized there for four days.
returning to the Jail on November 30th, Plaintiff was placed
in segregation because the Jail has no infirmary. At the
time, he was still suffering from serious injuries, and he
required additional medical treatment. He claims that the
treatment he received was inadequate but offers no details in
now sues Sergeant Collman and Sheriff Lakin for negligence
under the FTCA. He claims that Sergeant Collman failed to
protect him from an obvious risk of harm when he moved
Plaintiff into the same cellblock with a detainee who was
involved in his criminal case. He further alleges that
Sheriff Lakin failed to install panic buttons in the
cellblock, which would have enabled Plaintiff to quickly
summon help. Plaintiff generally alleges that he received
inadequate medical care after returning to the Jail on
November 30th. In connection with these claims, Plaintiff
seeks monetary damages (id. at 6).
asserts negligence claims against Sergeant Collman and
Sheriff Lakin pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act
(“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-2680
(Doc. 1). The FTCA provides jurisdiction for suits against
the United States for torts committed by federal officials.
Plaintiff has not brought this lawsuit against the United
States. He has also not named federal officials as
defendants. Therefore, the FTCA claims must be dismissed with
for constitutional deprivations by state actors are typically
brought in a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Section 1983 creates a cause of action based on
personal liability and predicated upon fault; thus, “to
be liable under [Section] 1983, an individual defendant must
have caused or participated in a constitutional
deprivation.” Pepper v. Village of Oak Park,
430 F.3d 809, 810 (7th Cir. 2005) (citations omitted). Even
when construing the allegations in the complaint liberally,
Plaintiff does not allege that Sergeant Collman or Sheriff
Lakin violated his constitutional rights. See Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). Instead, he brings claims against them for
negligence. Under § 1983, a defendant can never be held
liable for negligence, or even gross negligence. Gomez v.
Randle, 680 F.3d 859, 864 (7th Cir. 2012). Claims of
negligence arise under state law, not federal law. The
negligence claims against both defendants shall therefore be
dismissed without prejudice.
the circumstances, the complaint fails to state a claim for
relief against either defendant and shall be dismissed.
However, the dismissal shall be without prejudice, and
Plaintiff will have an opportunity to file an amended
complaint. His amended complaint should focus on