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Williams v. Bustos

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

July 17, 2017

PHILLIP WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
GARRY BUSTOS, Defendants.

          MERIT REVIEW ORDER

          HAROLD A. BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This case is before the court for a merit review of the plaintiff's claims. The court is required by 28 U.S.C. §1915A to "screen" the plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it A(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.@ 28 U.S.C. §1915A.

         In reviewing the complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7thCir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to Astate a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.@ Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(citation omitted). The Court has reviewed the complaint and has also held a merit review hearing in order to give the plaintiff a chance to personally explain his claims to the Court.

         At all times relevant, Plaintiff was detained at the Rock Island County Jail (“Jail”). Plaintiff alleges that he suffers from severe sleep apnea. He alleges that he has put in several requests for medical treatment, but that Defendant Peterson, the doctor, did nothing to treat his condition. Plaintiff alleges his condition caused him to struggle breathing, fall out of his bed, and hit his head on several occasions.

         Plaintiff also alleges that jail officials refused to fix a leak in his cell's ceiling. Despite being provided a mop and bucket to clean and dry the floor, Plaintiff alleges he slipped in a puddle of water during the night and hurt his back. Plaintiff alleges he was taken to the hospital, but the pain medication prescribed to treat his back contusion does not work. Plaintiff alleges the jail's medical staff would not change his medications.

         Plaintiff's rights arise under the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause rather than the Eighth Amendment. Burton v. Downey, 805 F.3d 776, 784 (7th Cir. 2015). The standards under the respective amendments are essentially the same. Id. Plaintiff states a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need for the alleged failure to treat his sleep apnea and provide follow up care for his back injury. See Petties v. Carter, 836 F.3d 722 (7th Cir. 2016).

         Plaintiff also states a conditions-of-confinement claim for the alleged floor conditions in his cell. See Anderson v. Morrison, 835 F.3d 681 (7th Cir. 2016) (jail officials “must address easily preventable, observed hazards that pose a significant risk of severe harm to inmates.”).

         Rock Island County should be dismissed as a defendant as no plausible inference arises that the alleged constitutional deprivation was caused by a county policy or practice. Monell v. Dep't of Social Srvcs of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978).

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:

         1. Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court finds that the plaintiff states Fourteenth Amendment claims for (1) inhumane conditions of confinement against Defendant Bustos, and (2) deliberate indifference to a serious medical need against Defendant Peterson. Any additional claims shall not be included in the case, except at the court's discretion on motion by a party for good cause shown or pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.

         2. This case is now in the process of service. The plaintiff is advised to wait until counsel has appeared for the defendants before filing any motions, in order to give the defendants notice and an opportunity to respond to those motions. Motions filed before defendants' counsel has filed an appearance will generally be denied as premature. The plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the court at this time, unless otherwise directed by the court.

         3. The court will attempt service on the defendants by mailing each defendant a waiver of service. The defendants have 60 days from the date the waiver is sent to file an answer. If the defendants have not filed answers or appeared through counsel within 90 days of the entry of this order, the plaintiff may file a motion requesting the status of service. After the defendants have been served, the court will enter an order setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.

         4. With respect to a defendant who no longer works at the address provided by the plaintiff, the entity for whom that defendant worked while at that address shall provide to the clerk said defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be used only for effectuating service. Documentation of forwarding addresses shall be retained only by the clerk and shall not be maintained in the public docket nor disclosed by the clerk.

         5. The defendants shall file an answer within 60 days of the date the waiver is sent by the clerk. A motion to dismiss is not an answer. The answer should include all defenses appropriate under the Federal Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings shall be to the issues and claims stated in this opinion. In general, an answer sets forth the defendants' positions. The court does not rule on the merits of those positions unless ...


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