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Willis v. Dimas

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

September 21, 2017

MACEO G. WILLIS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES T. DIMAS, et al., Defendants.

          MERIT REVIEW AND CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER

          HAROLD A. BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Order The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, a civil detainee at the Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility (“TDF”) is requesting leave to proceed under a reduced payment procedure for indigent plaintiffs who are institutionalized but are not prisoners as defined in 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(h).

         The “privilege to proceed without posting security for costs and fees is reserved to the many truly impoverished litigants who, within the District Court's sound discretion, would remain without legal remedy if such privilege were not afforded to them.” Brewster v. North Am. Van Lines, Inc., 461 F.2d 649, 651 (7th Circ. 1972). Additionally, a court must dismiss cases proceeding in forma pauperis “at any time” if the action is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim, even if part of the filing fee has been paid. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d)(2). Accordingly, this court grants leave to proceed in forma pauperis only if the complaint states a federal action.

         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 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to “state 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.

         The plaintiff filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that TDF officials have subjected him and other residents to unconstitutionally punitive conditions. For example, plaintiff alleges that TDF officials require inmates to wear black box handcuffs, forced him to share a room with sexually violent individuals, subjected him to intrusive cell searches and constant surveillance through intercom systems, and pressured him to admit to crimes for which he has not been charged. Plaintiff also alleges that TDF officials have failed to provide him with adequate mental health treatment, and that TDF officials apply the rules differently based on race.

         As a civil detainee, plaintiff's constitutional rights are derived from the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. See, e.g., Kingsley v. Hendrickson, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2475 (2015); Budd v. Motley 711 F.3d 840, 842 (7th Cir. 2013). However, the Seventh Circuit has “found it convenient and entirely appropriate to apply the same standard to claims arising under the Fourteenth Amendment (detainees) and Eighth Amendment (convicted prisoners) ‘without differentiation.'” Board v. Farnham, 394 F.3d 469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005) quoting Henderson v. Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 845 n.2 (7th Cir. 1999).

         Plaintiff states a Fourteenth Amendment claim for the alleged failure to provide adequate mental health treatment. Hughes v. Farris, 837 F.3d 807, 808 (7th Cir. 2016). Plaintiff also states an equal protection claim for his allegations that the rules are applied to residents different based upon race. Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U.S. 562, 564 (2000).

         Plaintiff does not state a claim for the alleged punitive restrictions. Civil detainees may be housed in prison-like conditions without violating the Constitution. Allison v. Snyder, 332 F.3d 1076 (7th Cir. 2003). Also, plaintiff has no Fifth Amendment right to avoid confessing to uncharged crimes as participation in treatment in Illinois is voluntary. Id.

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:

         1. Pursuant to its merit review of the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court finds that the plaintiff states a Fourteenth Amendment Due Process claim for deliberate indifference to a serious mental health need and an Equal Protection claim against the named defendants. 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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