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Engel v. People

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 9, 2017

TIMOTHY ENGEL, #M36902 Plaintiff,
v.
PEOPLE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Timothy Engel, an inmate at Shawnee Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims he was assaulted by various individuals at Vienna Correctional Center in violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. (Doc. 1). This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         An 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). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). 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. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: from November 13, 2016 to November 24, 2016, Plaintiff was stabbed in his rib cage by “Robert;” “Anderson” tried to stab Plaintiff in his neck; “Hernandez” threw a punch behind Plaintiff's head; “Stewart” threw objects at Plaintiff's head and body; and “Lt. Reid” attacked Plaintiff twice behind his back while he was handcuffed. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). Plaintiff also claims that “Anderson, Hernandez, Stewart, [and] Fowler tempted [sic] to kill [him] . . . while officials refused/denied to move [him].” (Doc. 1, p. 5). The Complaint further states that after officials and prisoners senselessly threatened and sought to fight and rape Plaintiff, he was forced to “talk crazy and curse at times just for self-defense.” (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 1, p. 10).

         Discussion

         At the outset, it is clear that Plaintiff has not named an appropriate defendant in this case, as the only named defendant is “People.” (Doc. 1). Plaintiff cannot maintain a civil rights action against “The People of the State of Illinois, ” if this was his intent. In an action brought pursuant to § 1983, a plaintiff “must show that the alleged [constitutional] deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988) (emphasis added). If Plaintiff's constitutional rights have been violated during his imprisonment, he must then pursue his claim against the prison official whose conduct caused the violation, not against the State of Illinois or its entire population.

         Further, though he has named several individuals in his statement of claim, Plaintiff has not listed any of these parties in his case caption. When parties are not listed in the caption, this Court will not treat them as defendants. 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) (to be properly considered a party, a defendant must be “specif[ied] in the caption”). Plaintiff is advised that, in order to maintain a § 1983 case, he must describe what each named defendant did (or failed to do), that violated his constitutional rights.

         For these reasons, “People” will be dismissed with prejudice. Because “People” is the only named defendant in this action, this case ...


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