United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW AND CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER
A. BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff, proceeding pro se, and currently not in
custody, is requesting leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. The case is now before the court for a merit
review of plaintiff's claims. The court is required by 28
U.S.C. § 1915A to “screen” the
plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to
identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the
entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient
if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
reviewing the complaint, the court accepts the factual
allegations as true, liberally construing them in the
plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 649 (7thCir. 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)(citation omitted). The court
has reviewed the complaint and has also held a merit review
hearing in order to give the plaintiff a chance to personally
explain his claims to the court.
plaintiff filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 alleging that he was “forced” to work in the
dietary unit at Western Illinois Correctional Center
(“Western”) despite a previous back injury.
Plaintiff alleged in his complaint that, while working, he
slipped in standing water and sustained an unspecified injury
that required outside medical treatment and six (6) months in
the infirmary. Plaintiff explained to the court at the
hearing that the facility soaks the floors with soapy water
to clean them. He stated that he was carrying a large stack
of trays when he slipped on the standing water, was unable to
break his fall due to the stack of trays, causing him to fall
awkwardly and injure his back. Plaintiff, who is no longer in
custody, alleges he now needs surgery.
incarcerated, plaintiff had a constitutional right to be free
from hazardous conditions that posed an unreasonable risk of
harm to his health or safety. See, e.g., Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994). Slippery surfaces in
prison, without more, cannot constitute a hazardous condition
of confinement under the Eighth Amendment. Pyles v.
Fahim, 771 F.3d 403, 410 (7th Cir. 2014. That
said, plaintiff may be able to establish a constitutional
violation depending on the nature of the hazard in question
and the prison officials responses to same. See Anderson
v. Morrison, 835 F.3d 681, 683 (7th Cir.
2016)(overturning district court order granting motion to
dismiss where inmate needlessly subjected to a hazard that
was easily prevented). Therefore, the court finds the
plaintiff states an Eighth Amendment claim for
unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
plaintiff names only Doe defendants in his complaint.
Accordingly, the court will name Jeffrey Korte, the warden at
Western, as a defendant for the purposes of identifying the
Doe defendants. See Donald v. Cook Cnty. Sheriff's
Dep't, 95 F.3d 548, 555-56 (7th Cir.
1996)(Court may name high level administrators as defendants
for purposes of identifying Doe defendants). Defendant
Assignment Office will be dismissed because it is not a
person, and, therefore, cannot be sued under § 1983.
Wright v. Porter County, 2013 WL 1176199, *2 (N.D.
Inc. Mar. 19, 2013)(“Wright also sues the jail itself,
but this is a building, not a “person” or even a
policy-making body that can be sued for constitutional
Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, the court finds that the plaintiff states an
Eighth Amendment claim for conditions of confinement against
defendant Warden Jeffrey Korte. 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.
case is now in the process of service. The plaintiff is
advised to wait until counsel has appeared for the defendants
before filing any motions, in order to give the 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. The
plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the court at this
time, unless otherwise directed by the court.
court will attempt service on the defendants by mailing each
defendant a waiver of service. The defendants have 60 days
from the date the waiver is sent to file an answer. If the
defendants have not filed answers or appeared through counsel
within 90 days of the entry of this order, the plaintiff may
file a motion requesting the status of service. After the
defendants have been served, the court will enter an order
setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.
respect to a defendant who no longer works at the address
provided by the 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
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 the defendants' positions.
The court does not rule on the merits of those positions
unless and until a motion is filed by the defendants.
Therefore, no response to the answer is necessary or will be
district uses electronic filing, which means that, after
defense counsel has filed an appearance, defense counsel will
automatically receive electronic notice of any motion or
other paper filed by the plaintiff with the clerk. The
plaintiff does not need to mail to defense counsel copies of
motions and other papers that the plaintiff has filed with
the clerk. However, this does not apply to discovery requests
and responses. Discovery requests and responses are not filed
with the clerk. The plaintiff must mail his discovery
requests and responses directly to defendants' counsel.
Discovery requests or responses sent to the clerk will be
returned unfiled, unless they are attached to and the subject
of a motion to compel. Discovery does not begin until defense
counsel has filed an appearance and the court has entered a
scheduling order, which will explain the discovery process in
Counsel for the defendants is hereby granted leave to depose
the plaintiff at his place of confinement. Counsel for the