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Sims v. Olszewski

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

May 9, 2017




         Ardamis Darrell Sims ("Plaintiff) brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Chicago Police Officers Ronald Olszewski, Detective Daniel Freeman, Sergeant Janet Comiskey, Lockup Keeper Patrick Ashe, and Detention Aide Joseph Palmsone (collectively, "Defendants") for violations of his Fourteenth Amendment rights. (R. 5, Am. Compl.) Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (R. 13, Mot.) For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is denied.


         In early 2015, Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois. (R. 5, Am. Compl. ¶ 4.) On January 6, 2015, Plaintiff took a shower at the Jail in the morning, using the opportunity to wash his underwear and socks, including a long-underwear top and bottom pieces. (Id., ¶ 9.) These were Plaintiffs only articles of underwear. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he hung this clothing up to air-dry, as this was the only drying method available to him, and that this process usually took many hours to dry clothing. (Id.) Meanwhile, Plaintiff wore his prison-issued shirt and pants with shower shoes. (Id.)

         Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff alleges that a correctional officer informed him that he would have to leave the Jail for a court appearance, although Plaintiff protested that his next court date was not until January 16. (Id. ¶ 10.) Further, Plaintiff allegedly informed the officer that his undergarments were wet and that the weather that day was very cold. (Id. ¶ 11.) The officer persisted, and when Plaintiff continued to question being taken out of the Jail under those circumstances, Plaintiff alleges that he was sprayed with mace by an officer before being put into handcuffs and taken to a holding cell. (Id. ¶ 12.)

         Despite Plaintiffs repeated protests that he could not go outside in such cold weather due to his lack of undergarments and proper clothing, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Olszewski and Freeman made him go outside and walk to a police vehicle. (Id. ¶ 13.) Plaintiff alleges that he was wearing only his uniform with no undergarments, open shower shoes, socks, and a jacket that was too small with a broken zipper, leaving the jacket open and much of Plaintiff s upper body unprotected from the cold. (Id.) Defendants Olszewski and Freeman allegedly made Plaintiff walk approximately 200 feet through slushy ice water to a police sedan, causing his feet and socks to become wet due to his open shower shoes. (Id. ¶ 14.) Plaintiff alleges that the temperature that day had fallen below zero degrees Fahrenheit. [1] (Id. ¶ 16.) Defendants Olszewski and Freeman allegedly told Plaintiff "not to worry and that he will thaw out when he got to the police station." (Id., ¶ 17.)

         After being placed in the back seat of the police sedan, Plaintiff claims that Defendants Olszewski and Freeman "refused to turn the heat on until just before the vehicle arrived at the destination" even though he had been "crying" and "pleading" for them to turn on the heat, and he had told them that he was losing feeling in his feet. (Id. ¶ 18.) After arriving at the police station to which he was taken, Plaintiff alleges that he was placed in a cold cell where he spent the rest of the day and the night. (Id. ¶ 20.) He claims that he was given no additional clothing or blankets and that cold air was blowing on him. (Id.) Although he complained during each shift, he states that he was told that he would not be there long and that Defendants Ashe, Comiskey, Palmsone, and John Does failed to provide heat and suitable clothing. (Id.) Although Plaintiff had been told by Defendants Olszewski and Freeman that he would participate in a line-up, no line-up took place. (Id. ¶ 21.)

         On the morning of January 7, 2015, Defendants Olszewski and Freeman transported Plaintiff back to the Jail. (Id. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff alleges that he told them that he had been cold all night, as he was still wearing the same clothing, and that the officers "discussed how the holding cell at the police station in which [P]laintiff had been held overnight was much cozier than the police car." (Id. ¶ 24.) One of the officers allegedly stated that, "if he had remembered [P]laintiff after he had eaten his hot soup at home, he would have stopped and picked up some ice-cream for the [P]laintiff to cheer him up." (Id. ¶ 25.) Plaintiff claims that Defendants Olszewski and Freeman made him walk outdoors and into the Jail without suitable clothing again, although the weather was nearly as cold as the day before. (Id. 23.)


         Plaintiff initially filed a pro se complaint in case number 15 C 7524 on August 26, 2015. (No. 15 C 7524, R. 1.) On September 22, 2015, this Court granted Plaintiffs motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismissed the complaint with instructions to file an amended complaint. (Id., R. 6.) Plaintiff filed his amended complaint on October 28, 2015. (Id., R. 9.) On December 2, 2015, the Court granted Plaintiffs motion for attorney representation and recruited an attorney to represent him. (Id., R. 11.) The Court also found that Plaintiffs amended complaint contained several unrelated claims and cautioned him that these claims would have to be pursued in separate lawsuits. (Id. at 2.) The Court dismissed the amended complaint without prejudice to appointed counsel filing an amended complaint. (Id.) On March 25, 2016, Plaintiffs court-appointed counsel filed a motion to withdraw, explaining that he had functionally retired I from the practice of law, had taken no steps to pursue Plaintiffs case, and was not situated to effectively represent Plaintiff. (Id., R. 15.) On the same day, the Court granted counsel's motion and appointed Plaintiffs current counsel. (Id., R. 17.)

         Plaintiff filed his complaint in the current case on January 5, 2017, listing Superintendent Eddie Johnson and several John Does as defendants, (R. 1, Compl.), and an amended complaint on January 9, 2017, adding the individually named Defendants who are set forth in the caption of this case, (R. 5, Am, Compl.). On April 26, 2017, in response to Defendants' motion, (R. 23), this Court dismissed Superintendent Johnson without prejudice as the events at issue had preceded him becoming Superintendent. (R. 26, Order.)

         Defendants filed a joint motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) on March 8, 2017. (R. 13, Mot.) Defendants first argue that Plaintiffs claims actually sound under the Fourth Amendment, not the Fourteenth Amendment, since he had not yet had a judicial determination of probable cause regarding the case for which he had been brought to the police station. (Id. at 6.) Second, Defendants argue that Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to sustain a claim under either standard, (Id. at 5-7.) Third, Defendants contend that Plaintiffs amended complaint is only timely as to the named Defendants and not as to any potential John Doe Defendants.[2] (See R. 21, Reply at 6-7.)

         Plaintiff responded to the motion on March 16, 2017. (R. 16, Resp.) Plaintiff argues that the Fourteenth Amendment applies to his claims, as he was a pretrial detainee when the events in question happened, but that he has alleged sufficient facts to state a claim under either legal theory. (Id. at 2-9.) Regarding the statute of limitations, Plaintiff argues that the statute of limitations was tolled as the Court conducted a preliminary screening of the complaint and that, even if not timely as to the John Doe Defendants, the Amended Complaint relates back to the original complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15. (Id. at 9-15.)

         LEGAL ...

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