United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
DEMONTE T. HILL, #S15599, Plaintiff,
ANITA BAZILE SAWYER, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE U.S. District Judge.
Demonte Hill, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Centralia Correctional Center, brings this pro se
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In the
Complaint, Plaintiff claims that officials at Southwestern
Illinois Correctional Center (“SWICC”) denied him
timely and adequate medical treatment for a burn injury that
he sustained to his foot on August 4, 2016 (Doc. 1, p. 4).
Plaintiff names Warden Anita Sawyer in connection with his
claim of inadequate medical care (id. at 4). He
seeks monetary damages against her (id. at 5).
Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
case is now before the Court for 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). Plaintiff's Complaint does not survive
preliminary review and shall be dismissed.
sustained a burn injury at SWICC on August 4, 2016 when a
leaking pipe dripped hot water onto his foot (Doc. 1, p. 4).
He informed Officer N. Johnson about the injury but was told
to “deal with it on another shift”
(id.). The next day, Plaintiff realized that the
wound was infected.
August 5, 2016, Plaintiff submitted a grievance to Officer
Robinson and informed him that the burn had not yet been
treated. Counselors Foster and Schmidt both looked at
Plaintiff's injury and decided that emergency treatment
was necessary. Officer Scott agreed with this assessment
was treated by a doctor who diagnosed him with second and
third degree burns. He received daily treatment until his
wound healed. However, Plaintiff still suffers from weakness
and fatigue in his foot that is triggered by standing for
prolonged periods of time. He blames this residual injury on
the one-day delay in treatment of his burns (id.).
claim for a delay in medical treatment arises under the
Eighth Amendment, which prohibits the cruel and unusual
punishment of prisoners. The Supreme Court has recognized
that “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs
of prisoners” may constitute cruel and unusual
punishment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104
(1976); Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994);
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2006) (per
curiam). To state a medical needs claim, a plaintiff
must show that (1) the medical condition was objectively
serious, and (2) the state officials acted with deliberate
indifference to his medical needs, which is a subjective
standard. Sherrod v. Lingle, 223 F.3d 605, 619 (7th
Complaint supports no Eighth Amendment claim against Warden
Sawyer, who is the only defendant named in this action.
Section 1983 creates a cause of action based on personal
liability and predicated upon fault; thus “to be liable
under § 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). The doctrine of
respondeat superior does not apply to actions filed
under § 1983. Kinslow v. Pullara, 538 F.3d 687,
692 (7th Cir. 2008). In other words, Plaintiff cannot state a
claim against Warden Sawyer simply by naming her based on her
supervisory role at SWICC. Instead, he must include
allegations which suggest that the warden was personally
involved in a violation of his constitutional rights.
does not mention Warden Sawyer in the statement of his claim.
Merely invoking the name of a potential defendant is not
sufficient to state a claim against that individual. See
Collins v. Kibort, 143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th Cir. 1998)
(“A plaintiff cannot state a claim against a defendant
by including the defendant's name in the
caption.”). 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.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2); Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555. Where a plaintiff has not included a defendant
in his statement of the claim, the defendant cannot be said
to be adequately put on notice of which claims in the
Complaint, if any, are directed against that defendant.
Because Warden Sawyer is not mentioned in the statement of
claim, Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim against her
shall be dismissed without prejudice.
does name other individuals in his statement of the claim who
may have been personally responsible for the deprivation at
issue. However, he cannot proceed against them either because
he did not name any of them (i.e., Officers Johnson,
Robinson, Foster, Schmidt, or Scott) as defendants in the
caption of his Complaint. When parties are not listed in the
caption, this Court will not treat them as defendants, and
any claims against them should be considered dismissed
without prejudice. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(a) (noting
that the title of the Complaint “must name all the
parties”); Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d
551, 551-52 (7th Cir. 2005) (holding that to be properly
considered a party, a defendant must be ...