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Webb v. Young

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 13, 2017

JAMES R. WEBB, JR., Plaintiff,


          J. Phil Gilbert United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff James R. Webb, Jr., currently confined at the Alton Mental Health Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights that allegedly occurred when he was housed at the Franklin County Jail. Plaintiff seeks removal from probation, monetary damages, and declarative relief.

         On January 6, 2017, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed the instant action. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff alleged that while incarcerated at the Franklin County Jail, officers Young and Prusodgick saw Plaintiff hanging from his neck. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Instead of immediately helping Plaintiff, the officers slammed Plaintiff's cell door and left Plaintiff hanging from his neck for approximately fifteen minutes. Id. Plaintiff alleged that he currently suffers from physical and mental impairments as a result. Id. The only defendant identified in the original Complaint was the Franklin County Jail. Because a jail is not a legal entity capable of being sued under § 1983, the Court dismissed the action without prejudice and with leave to amend. (Doc. 10). In the Order of Dismissal, the Court expressly advised Plaintiff as follows: (1) if Plaintiff intended to sue either of the officers discussed in the body of the original Complaint, he must identify those officers as defendants in the caption of his amended complaint; (2) the amended complaint must stand on its own without reference to any prior pleading; and (3) the amended complaint should include information regarding the Plaintiff's legal status at the time of the alleged constitutional deprivation (i.e. was Plaintiff an arrestee, pretrial detainee, or a prisoner).

         Plaintiff timely filed a First Amended Complaint (Doc. 15). The First Amended Complaint is now before the Court for a preliminary review 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).

         The Complaint

         The First Amended Complaint identifies three potentially appropriate defendants: (1) Jessee Young (Franklin County Deputy), Mr. Prusodgich (Franklin County Deputy), and the Sherriff of Franklin County, Illinois. The statement of claim, however, is entirely inadequate. Plaintiff merely states as follows: “When the officers found me, they should of cut me down immediately. But they left me hanging for over 15 min[utes], causing Brain damage. Improper protocol.” (Doc. 1, p. 5).


         The First Amended Complaint does not include any of the factual allegations included in the original Complaint. As the Court explained in its prior Order of Dismissal, the Court does not accept piecemeal pleadings. The First Amended Complaint must stand on its own without reference to any previous pleadings. The single allegation in the First Amended Complaint is insufficient, even under the liberal pleading standards of Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8, to put Defendants on notice of Plaintiff's claims so they can file an answer. Higgs v. Carver, 286 F.3d 437, 439 (7th Cir .2002) (A plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to put each defendant on notice of the wrongdoing with which he is being charged so that he can file an answer.). For this reason, the First Amended Complaint must be dismissed.

         The dismissal, however, shall be without prejudice and with leave to amend. With respect to the Second Amended Complaint, ...

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