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McKinstry v. Austin

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

January 11, 2017

JAMICQUIN MCKINSTRY, Plaintiff,
v.
ERIC AUSTIN, et al., Defendants.

          MERIT REVIEW OPINION

          SUE E. MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff proceeds pro se from his detention in Jerome Combs Detention Center. He has filed an amended complaint, which is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. This section requires the Court to identify cognizable claims stated by the Complaint or dismiss claims that are not cognizable.[1] In reviewing the complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in Plaintiff's favor and taking Plaintiff's pro se status into account. 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).

         ALLEGATIONS

         On May 18, 2015, while detained as a pretrial detainee in the Jerome Combs Detention Center, other detainees decided to flood their cells, causing water filled with feces and urine to enter Plaintiff's cell. Defendant Austin, who was in charge of the jail officers, removed the body camera from Defendant Henshaw and then later turned off Plaintiff's water. Plaintiff asked why his water was off, since he had not been involved in the flooding incident. Austin replied, “I'm about to show you.” Austin ordered Plaintiff to lay face down in the water with urine and feces. Plaintiff initially refused but then decided to comply out of fear. Before Plaintiff could comply, Defendant Austin tased Plaintiff, causing injury to Plaintiff's head and causing Plaintiff to urinate on himself. Officers Benoit, Mayo, and Henshaw then slammed Plaintiff to the ground, injuring Plaintiff's shoulder. Officer Mayo held Plaintiff's face down in the dirty water while Officer Henshaw used his knee to put all of Henshaw's weight on Plaintiff's ankles. Officer Benoit put his knee in Plaintiff's back, causing severe pain, and placed handcuffs on Plaintiff too tightly. These officers refused Plaintiff's pleas to loosen the handcuffs and placed Plaintiff in a restraint chair for two hours even though he was not resisting. Plaintiff suffered injuries to his wrist, and his shoulder and back still cause him sharp pains. He has not received adequate treatment for these injuries from Nurse Tammy, and an unidentified nurse failed to schedule Plaintiff to see the physician assistant after Plaintiff's repeated requests.

         After the incident, Officers Mayo and Colbert did not provide Plaintiff with a change of clothes, despite Plaintiff's request. Plaintiff had to wear his urine-stained clothes for about two days.

         ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff's claims arise from the Fourteenth Amendment since he is a pretrial detainee. He clearly states constitutional claims for excessive force and for forcing Plaintiff to lay face down in water containing urine and feces. He also states a constitutional claim for excessive restraint regarding the restraining chair and the handcuffs, and a constitutional claim for indifference to Plaintiff's need for clean clothes to replace his urine-stained clothes. Additionally, the Court also cannot rule out a claim for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. This case will, therefore, proceed for service per the standard procedures.

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:

         1) Plaintiff's motion to file an amended complaint is granted (6).

         2) Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court finds that Plaintiff states constitutional claims based on the alleged excessive force, requiring Plaintiff to lay face down in water containing urine and feces or forcing him to do so, excessive restraint, and deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's need for clean clothes to replace his urine-soaked clothes. Plaintiff also states a claim for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. 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.

         3) 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.

         4) 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.

         5) 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.

         6) 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 ...


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