United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JACK L. FIRKINS, #315562, Plaintiff,
PHILLIP MCLAURIN, ST. CLAIR COUNTY JAIL, and CHRIS HEARNIS, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jack Firkins, an inmate in St. Clair County Jail
(“Jail”), brings this action for deprivations of
his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
In his Amended Complaint (Doc 9), Plaintiff claims the
defendants subjected him to an improper search and
unconstitutional conditions of confinement and deprived him
of writing materials and access to his attorney. This case is
now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Amended
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
(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
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.
careful review of the Amended Complaint and any supporting
exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its
authority under § 1915A; this action is subject to
Amended Complaint (Doc. 9), Plaintiff makes the following
allegations: on January 8, 2017, when Plaintiff asked to be
sent for a visit that was scheduled for 2:30pm, he was
instead taken to booking where he was strip searched by
officer Chris Hearnis, along with three other male inmates.
(Doc. 9, p. 5). When Plaintiff asked why he was being strip
searched, Hearnis responded that he was “just doing
[his] job” and that he “got some
information.” Id. Plaintiff missed his
scheduled visit because of this search. Id.
his time at the Jail, Plaintiff was subjected to poor living
conditions, including mold in the showers, paint peeling and
cracks on the walls and ceilings, and dust in the ventilation
system. (Doc. 9, p. 5). Plaintiff has not been given a second
uniform, so he has to walk in a blanket while he waits for
his uniform to be laundered. Id. There is also
“inadequate portions of food on trays” and
inmates “are charged too much for commissary and
Aramark food services.” Id. Plaintiff was
unable to purchase writing paper or stamped envelopes for
correspondence for two weeks, from March 6, 2017 to March 19,
2017. (Doc. 9, p. 6). During this time, he was also not able
to use the telephone to call an attorney. Id. He
filed a complaint at the Jail regarding these issues, but has
not received a response. Id. Plaintiff seeks
monetary damages from the defendants. (Doc. 9, p. 6).
on the allegations of the Amended Complaint, the Court finds
it convenient to designate three counts in this pro
se action. The parties and the Court will use these
designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court.
Count 1 - Defendants subjected Plaintiff to
an unconstitutional strip search on January 8, 2017 in
violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Count 2 - Defendants subjected Plaintiff to
unconstitutional conditions of confinement while he was
incarcerated at St. Clair County Jail in violation of the
Count 3 - Defendants violated
Plaintiff's constitutional rights by preventing him from
purchasing writing paper, purchasing stamped envelopes, and
using the telephone to call his attorney from March 6, 2017
to March 19, 2017 and denying him access to the law library
for 4 weeks.
discussed in more detail below, Counts 1, 2, and 3 will be
dismissed without prejudice. Notably, Plaintiff has indicated
on his Amended Complaint that he intends to also bring a
claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. (Doc. 9, p. 1). The
FTCA provides jurisdiction for suits against the United
States regarding torts committed by federal officials, not
state officials. The defendants named herein are not federal
officials. Therefore, Plaintiff's claim does not fall
within the jurisdiction of the FTCA. Any FTCA claim Plaintiff
sought to bring in this action is therefore dismissed with
prejudice. Any other intended claim that has not been
recognized by the Court is also considered dismissed with
prejudice as inadequately pleaded under the Twombly
analyzing Plaintiff's allegations, the Court finds it
appropriate to address Plaintiff's failure to include
specific allegations against Defendant Phillip McLaurin (Jail
Superintendent) and St. Clair County Jail in the body of his
Amended Complaint, despite his having listed them among the
defendants. Plaintiffs are required to associate specific
defendants with specific claims, so that defendants are put
on notice of the claims brought against them and so they can
properly answer the complaint. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
Where a plaintiff has not included a defendant in his
statement of claim, the defendant cannot be said to be
adequately put on notice of which claims in the complaint, if
any, are directed against him. Furthermore, merely invoking
the name of a potential defendant is not sufficient to state
a claim against that individual. See Collins v.
Kibort, 143 ...