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Young v. Peoria County

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

August 30, 2017

JASON YOUNG, as Administrator of the Estate of Tyler. D. Young, Deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
PEORIA COUNTY, ILLINOIS, MICHEAL MCCOY, Peoria County Sheriff, BRIAN ASBELL, Corrections Superintendent, MORGAN HANSE, ALEC MICHEL, MICHAEL SMITH, STAN KESTER, OLIVIA RADCLIFF-TISH, CORRECTIONAL HEALTHCARE COMPANIES CHC, CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, LLC, Respondent.

          ORDER & OPINION

          JOE BILLY McDADE UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE

         The matter is before the Court on Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss. (Docs. 23 and 25). For the reasons explained below, Defendants Radcliff-Tish, Correctional Healthcare Companies, and Correct Care Solutions, LLC’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 23) is granted. Defendants Peoria County, Peoria County Sheriff, McCoy, Asbell, Sheriff Officers Hanse, Michel, Smith, and Kester’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 25) is granted in part and denied in part. Plaintiff has twenty-one days to file a second amended complaint to cure the deficiencies as noted.

         Background[1]

         Tylor Young was a twenty-two year old prisoner at the Peoria County Jail in Peoria, Illinois from October 6, 2014 until October 12, 2014, when Mr. Young committed suicide in his cell.[2] At the time, Mr. Young was a serious drug addict, who was participating in an active methadone treatment program and/or a narcotic treatment program (“NTP”) for his heroin and opioid addiction.

         This was not Mr. Young’s first visit to the Peoria County Jail, as he had cycled in and out of it for several years before his death. During prior visits, Mr. Young was placed on suicide watch.

         During his last booking on October 6th, 2014, Defendants performed physical, mental, and psychiatric examinations of Mr. Young which indicated that he was an opioid addict, was actively engaged in NTP and/or a methadone program, and was suffering from a mental health disability and drug addiction. Despite this, Mr. Young was placed into the general population, in the F-Pod unit, which was not suicide-proof.

         On October 12, 2014, Mr. Young hanged himself in his cell by looping his bedsheet through a metal fixture.

         On September 30, 2016, Plaintiff, Mr. Young’s estate, filed suit against Defendants. On December 7, 2016, Plaintiff was granted leave to file an Amended Complaint. (Doc. 19). Plaintiff alleges three counts against all Defendants: a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for failure to protect in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment; a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 12132; and a wrongful death claim under Illinois law. Additionally, Plaintiff alleged a claim of respondeat superior against Peoria County and the Peoria County Sheriff.

         On January 25, 2017, Defendants Radcliff-Tish, Correctional Healthcare Companies, and Correct Care Solutions (collectively the “Medical Defendants”) filed a Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (Doc. 23). The Medical Defendants argue that Plaintiff failed to state a claim because he alleged generic allegations against all of the defendants and gave no indication which individual acts or omissions he alleged that the Medical Defendants committed. The Medical Defendants also argue that there is no personal liability under Title II of the ADA. Lastly, the Medical Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s wrongful death claim was too general to meet pleading standards.

         On January 25, 2017, Defendants Peoria County, Peoria County Sheriff Michael McCoy,[3] Corrections Superintendent Brian Asbell, Officer Morgan Hanse, Officer Alec Michel, Officer Michael Smith, and Officer Stan Kester (collectively the “Correctional Defendants”) filed a Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (Doc. 25). The Correctional Defendants argue that Plaintiff failed to state a claim because he alleged generic allegations against all of the defendants and gave no indication which individual acts or omissions he alleged that the Correctional Defendants committed. The Correctional Defendants also argue that there is no personal liability under Title II of the ADA. The Correctional Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s wrongful death claim was too general to meet pleading standards. The Correctional Defendants also argue that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim via respondeat superior. Additionally, the Correctional Defendants argue that Illinois’s Tort Immunity Act provides tort immunity. Lastly, the Correctional Defendants argue that an applicable Illinois statute of limitations makes Plaintiff’s claim untimely.

         Plaintiff has responded to each motion and they are ready for a decision.[4]Because the first three issues of each Motion to Dismiss are identical, the Court will address them together. Then, the Court will also address the Correctional Defendants’ final arguments.

         II. Legal Standard

         In ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), “the court must treat all well-pleaded allegations as true and draw all inferences in favor of the non-moving party.” In re marchFIRST Inc., 589 F.3d 901, 904 (7th Cir. 2009). The 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). Furthermore, the complaint must “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff’s complaint must contain sufficient detail to give notice of the claim, and the allegations must “plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a ‘speculative level.’” EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). The plausibility standard requires enough facts to “present a story that holds together,” but does not require a determination of probability. Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010). Though detailed factual allegations are not needed, a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         III. Discussion

         Defendants’ motions to dismiss are granted in part, denied in part. Because they address numerous issues, the Court will identify each and briefly discuss them. First, Plaintiff has improperly pled claims against Peoria County. Plaintiff cannot bring claims directly against Peoria County; rather, Peoria County may only be maintained as a necessary party because it must indemnify the Peoria County Sheriff for any monetary damages imposed against Peoria County Sheriff. Second, Plaintiff has not sufficiently pled facts in order to provide any of the individual defendants (Medical or Correctional) notice of what action or inaction they personally performed that resulted in a constitutional violation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Third, Plaintiff cannot maintain an ADA claim against an individual defendant or a private company; therefore, all ADA claims, except for that against Peoria County Sheriff, must be dismissed. Fourth, Plaintiff has sufficiently pled an ADA claim against Peoria County Sheriff; therefore, that claim survives. Fifth, Plaintiff’s claims under Illinois’s Wrongful Death Act against Peoria County Sheriff and his employees (Defendants McCoy, Asbell, Hanse, Michel, Smith, and Kester) are untimely and must be dismissed. Sixth, Plaintiff’s claims under Illinois’s Wrongful Death Act are insufficiently pled to give notice to Defendants Radcliff-Tish, Correctional Healthcare Companies, and Correct Care Solutions, LLC, of their action or inaction. Finally, because Plaintiff’s § 1983 claims are insufficiently pled, the Court will not address the Correctional Defendants’ argument that Plaintiff’s claims are barred by qualified immunity. These seven issues are discussed in further detail below.

         A. Plaintiff Improperly Pled Claims against Peoria County

         Plaintiff has improperly pled claims against Peoria County. Under Illinois law, county sheriffs are agents of the county sheriff’s department, not the county. Franklin, 150 F.3d at 685-86; see also Moy v. Cty. of Cook, 640 N.E.2d 926, 929-31 (Ill. 1994); Dawson v. Carter, No. 15-C-4321, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102922, at *7-8 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 5, 2016). Therefore, Peoria County cannot be held liable for actions of the Peoria County Sheriff under § 1983 or a respondeat superior theory. See Franklin, 150 F.3d at 685-86; Ryan v. Cty. of DuPage, 45 F.3d 1090, 1092 (7th Cir. 1995); Wallace v. Masterson, 345 F. Supp. 2d 917, 921-22 (N.D. Ill. 2004).

         However, Peoria County is a necessary party in any suit seeking damages from an independently elected county officer in an official capacity. Carver v. Sheriff of LaSalle Cty., 324 F.3d 947, 948 (7th Cir. 2003). This is because Illinois state law requires the county to pay for any judgment entered against the county sheriff in an official capacity. Id. (citing Carver v. Sheriff of LaSalle Cty., 787 N.E.2d 127 (Ill. 2003)). Therefore, Plaintiff should bring suit against Peoria County as an indemnifier of the Peoria County Sheriff; however, Plaintiff may not bring suit directly against Peoria County for the Sheriff’s policies and procedures under a § 1983 claim or a respondeat superior theory of liability. See, e.g., Brandon v. Smith, No. 06-1316, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24885, at *13-14 (C.D. Ill. Mar. 28, 2008) (“These six claims go well beyond what Carver requires, asserting various civil rights claims directly against the County based, for example on jail policy, for which the County has no authority.”). To the extent that Plaintiff is attempting to bring these claims against Peoria County directly, they are dismissed. Plaintiff has twenty-one days to file a second amended complaint and properly plead Peoria County as a defendant for indemnification purposes only.

         B. Plaintiff Failed to Plead Enough Information to State a § 1983 Claim

         Plaintiff has failed to plead enough information to provide each Defendant notice of a claim under 42 U.S.C. ...


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