United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the motion to dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) filed by
defendants St. Clair County, Sheriff Richard Watson,
Superintendent Phillip McLaurin, Lieutenant Nancy Sutherlin,
Sergeant Steven Strubberg, Officer Christopher Hoernis,
Lieutenant John Fulton, Sergeant Matthew R. Scott, Sergeant
Brian Cunningham and Lieutenant Karl L. Pannier (Doc. 83).
They seek dismissal of Counts IV, V, VI, VII and VIII.
Plaintiff Jerry Outlaw has responded to the motion (Doc. 93).
Standard for Dismissal
reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court
accepts as true all allegations in the complaint.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure
to state a claim, 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). This
requirement is satisfied if the complaint (1) describes the
claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant fair notice
of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests and
(2) plausibly suggests that the plaintiff has a right to
relief above a speculative level. Bell Atl., 550
U.S. at 555; see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009); EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., 496
F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl.,
550 U.S. at 556). “Determining whether a complaint
states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
Bell Atlantic, the Supreme Court rejected the more
expansive interpretation of Rule 8(a)(2) that “a
complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a
claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would
entitle him to relief, ” Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at
561-63; Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d at 777.
Now “it is not enough for a complaint to avoid
foreclosing possible bases for relief; it must actually
suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief . . . by
providing allegations that ‘raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.'” Concentra Health
Servs., 496 F.3d at 777 (quoting Bell Atl., 550
U.S. at 555).
Bell Atlantic did not do away with the liberal
federal notice pleading standard. Airborne Beepers &
Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667
(7th Cir. 2007). A complaint still need not contain detailed
factual allegations, Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555, and
it remains true that “[a]ny district judge (for that
matter, any defendant) tempted to write ‘this complaint
is deficient because it does not contain . . .' should
stop and think: What rule of law requires a
complaint to contain that allegation?” Doe v.
Smith, 429 F.3d 706, 708 (7th Cir. 2005) (emphasis in
original). Nevertheless, a complaint must contain “more
than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555. If the factual detail of
a complaint is “so sketchy that the complaint does not
provide the type of notice of the claim to which the
defendant is entitled under Rule 8, ” it is subject to
dismissal. Airborne Beepers, 499 F.3d at 667.
as true all factual allegations in the Second Amended
Complaint and drawing all reasonable inferences therefrom in
Outlaw's favor, the pleading establishes the following
relevant facts for the purposes of this motion:
March 2015, Outlaw was a 19-year-old man with an IQ of
Witnesses directly or indirectly identified him as the
perpetrator, along with his brother Delarren Mason, of a
robbery, although Outlaw did not actually commit the robbery.
A few days later, on March 17, 2015, law enforcement officers
went to Outlaw's home and arrested him. When the law
enforcement officers questioned Outlaw in custody, they knew
of his intellectual deficiencies and took advantage of them
to intimidate, coerce or trick Outlaw into signing a waiver
of his Miranda rights and falsely confessing to the
his interrogation, Outlaw was detained at the St. Clair
County Jail (“Jail”) and charged in state court
with the robbery. At the jail, Outlaw was attacked by another
inmate who was older and more sophisticated than he was. When
he protected himself from the attack, Sutherlin issued him a
disciplinary ticket for fighting. The ticket did not give
Outlaw notice of the alleged violation. The Jail's
Adjustment Committee, made up of Strubberg and Hoernis, heard
the ticket, but was not impartial and did not give Outlaw the
opportunity to be heard or to call witnesses. The Adjustment
Committee found Outlaw guilty based entirely on evidence from
Sutherlin and another Jail officer and sentenced Outlaw to
thirty days in solitary confinement. McLaurin approved that
placement in solitary confinement.
solitary confinement, conditions are worse than those in the
general population. Outlaw was confined in a small cell
without any human contact for twenty-three hours a day and
was only let out once a day to shower. In solitary, he was
not allowed to make calls, to have visits, to purchase
anything from the commissary, or to have any yard or
recreation time. He had no television in his cell and was
only allowed to have two books. His cell had no window to the
outside and only a small window to the hallway. The cell was
infested with bugs, including bedbugs, spiders and red ants.
The cell walls were dirty, the bed mats smelled of urine and
the sink and toilet were filthy. The sink had only cold water
that tasted like bleach. Outlaw was not provided cleaning
supplies. These conditions caused Outlaw extreme mental
anguish. Defendants Sutherlin, Fulton, Scott, Cunningham and
Pannier were the supervisors in charge of the maximum
security unit in which Outlaw was housed in solitary
confinement and were responsible for the unit's
October 30, 2015, the state court dismissed the criminal case
against Outlaw, and Outlaw was immediately released from the
Jail. By that time, he had spent approximately seven and a
half months in the Jail.
Second Amended Complaint contains nine causes of action.
Those relevant to this motion are as follows:
Count IV:A claim against McLaurin,
Sutherlin, Strubberg, Hoernis, Fulton, Scott, Cunningham and
Pannier (collectively, the “Jail defendants”) for
deliberate indifference to his health and safety because of
the conditions of solitary confinement.
Count V:A claim against the Jail defendants
for conspiring to deprive him of his constitutional rights in
connection with his placement in solitary confinement and his
conditions of confinement there.
Count VI:A claim against the Jail defendants
for the state law tort of intentional infliction of ...