United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
G. WILKERSON United States Magistrate Judge
pending before the Court are the motion to amend (Doc. 36),
the motion for handwriting specialist (Doc. 37), the motion
for a hearing (Doc. 38), the motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis (Doc. 42), and the motion for additional time
to pay partial filing fees (Doc. 43).
is proceeding on one due process claim: that Defendant
Hamilton forged his initials on a document that waived his
right to a preliminary hearing in a criminal matter.
Plaintiff now seeks to amend his complaint in order to add
claims against Defendant in his “official
capacity” and against John Baldwin, the Illinois
Department of Corrections, the “Illinois Dept. of
Corrections office in East St. Louis, ” and
“acting supervisor.” Plaintiff reiterates his
claim against Jay Hamilton (but excludes some details like
the date that the event occurred) but also claims that the
other Defendants failed to supervise him thereby violating
his constitutional rights. And, Plaintiff appears to allege
that Defendants have a policy and practice of either engaging
in illegal or at least unconstitutional activity or of
ignoring Hamilton's actions.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15 provides that leave to amend
should be freely given when justice so requires but may be
denied if there is undue delay, futility, or prejudice.
Life Plans, Inc. v. Security Life of Denver Ins.
Co., 800 F.3d 343, 357-358 (7th Cir. 2015). A complaint
must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To state a cognizable claim, the
complaint must provide enough detail to give defendants fair
notice of the nature of the claim and the grounds upon which
it rests and to show that relief is plausible. Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554-56
(2007). Conclusory statements or the mere recitation
of the elements of the cause of action are insufficient.
Id. The pleading must contain factual allegations
that “raise the right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. at 555. In Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009), the Supreme Court
emphasized two underlying principles in Twombly:
first, that legal conclusions stated in a complaint are not
entitled to the assumption of truth reserved to factual
allegations, and second, a complaint must state a plausible
claim for relief. “Where the well-pleaded facts do not
permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of
misconduct, the complaint has alleged- but it has not
‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to
relief.'” Id. at 1950 (quoting
there is no respondeat superior, or supervisory,
liability in 42 U.S.C. § 1983 cases. Chavez v.
Illinois State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir.
2001). Such claims are therefore futile. Second,
Plaintiff's purported policy and practice claim is vague
and would not inform Defendants of the claims against them.
Plaintiff provides no detail of the policy that he challenges
and appears to be merely conflating the two distinct
theories, supervisory liability and a policy and practice
claim, that is confusing and bare-bones. Third,
Plaintiff's claims, if any, are redundant - suing John
Baldwin is redundant of his purported claim against the IDOC
as are his purported claims against the East St. Louis office
of the IDOC and the supervisors employed there. Any policy
and practice claim could only be asserted against the IDOC.
Fourth, Plaintiff has included other requests for relief,
including discovery. A pleading should not include requests
that must be made by motion as required by Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 7(b). Plaintiff's motion to amend is
accordingly DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
requests a court-appointed handwriting expert to provide
evidence in this matter. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
do not contemplate a court appointed expert in order to
assist Plaintiff in prosecuting this civil suit. Federal Rule
of Evidence (“FRE”) 706 does permit the Court to
appoint an expert and apportion costs between the parties.
Just as in the appointment of a medical expert, a FRE 706
expert may be necessary to “help sort through
conflicting evidence . . ., but [the court] need not appoint
an expert for a party's own benefit or to explain
symptoms that can be understood by a layperson.”
Turner v. Cox, Fed.Appx. 463, 468 (7th Cir. 2014),
citing Ledford v. Sullivan, 105 F.3d 354 (7th Cir.
1997). Plaintiff seeks appointment of an expert for his own
benefit - such an act is not required by the rules. If
Plaintiff needs an expert to pursue this (optional) lawsuit,
he must make his own arrangements. The motion for a
handwriting specialist is accordingly DENIED.
motion for a hearing is likewise DENIED. Local Rule 7.1(h)
provides that the Court may schedule a hearing on a motion
provided that Plaintiff state why a hearing is required.
Plaintiff has not provided any such explanation. In any
event, no hearing on the pending motions is necessary.
last two motions, to proceed in forma pauperis and
for extension of time to pay initial partial filing fee, are
MOOT. Plaintiff is correct in noting that the filing fee has
been waived (or at least payment has not been directed by the
Court). As such, the instructions contained in paragraph IA
of the Scheduling Order (Doc. 40) do not apply.
foregoing reasons, the motion to amend (Doc. 36) is DENIED
WITHOUT PREJUDICE, the motion for handwriting specialist
(Doc. 37) is DENIED, the motion for a hearing (Doc. 38) is
DENIED, the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
(Doc. 42) is MOOT, ...