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Slaughter v. Rutledge

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

October 18, 2017

MICHAEL C. SLAUGHTER, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTOPHER RUTLEDGE, WILLIAM ENGLAND, KIM NUSS, OSF HOSPITAL, & PEORIA POLICE DEPARTMENT Defendants.

          MERIT REVIEW ORDER

          JOE BILLY MCDADE UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE

         Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's complaint filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court is required to screen the Plaintiff's complaint in order to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim or an entire action, if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(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.

         All of Plaintiff's claims arise from an incident that occurred on January 14, 2017, at OSF Saint Francis Hospital (“OSF”) in Peoria where Plaintiff was being treated in the emergency room for alcohol poisoning. (Doc. 1 at 5). While at OSF, Plaintiff was arrested for aggravated battery of Defendant nurse Christopher Rutledge. Id. at 6-7. However, Petitioner alleges that those charges were fabricated and that Rutledge actually assaulted and/or battered Petitioner. Id. at 5-7. He brings claims for “aggravated battery/assault/physical disfigurement” and false imprisonment against Rutledge; conspiracy and collusion against Rutledge, Defendant police officer William England, and Defendant Assistant State's Attorney Kim Nuss; and false arrest against Officer England.

         The Court finds that Petitioner's complaint must be dismissed because he fails to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Furthermore, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any of the remaining state law claims that may or may not be sufficiently pleaded.

         Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff's first claim is for “aggravated battery/assault/physical disfigurement of (R) index finger” against Defendant Rutledge. (Doc. 1 at 5). Petitioner claims that Rutledge “attacked and assaulted” him while he was a patient in OSF's emergency room with alcohol poisoning on January 14, 2017. Id. He alleges that, “As I was trying to stagger from a wheelchair to walk, Nurse Rutledge tosses aside his clipboard and body slams himself onto my head and neck on a nearby gurney a couple times and my right index finger got broken”. Id. Slaughter claims that there has “been a knot in the side of my neck and my finger's been swollen for almost a year now (8 month[s])”. Id.

         Petitioner's second claim alleges that Rutledge falsely imprisoned him when Rutledge “came out of no where, started thrashing me, put me in restraints and somehow made me unconscious before having me arrested for assaulting him.” (Doc. 1 at 6).

         Petitioner's third claim alleges that Officer England, Assistant State's Attorney Nuss, and Rutledge conspired and colluded against him instead of holding Rutledge accountable for his criminal assault. Id.

         Lastly, Plaintiff asserts a false arrest claim against Officer England. (Doc. 1 at 6). While Petitioner was being treated at OSF, he was arrested by Officer England for aggravated battery on Rutledge. Id. at 7. Petitioner claims that video footage shows that he simply refused treatment and wanted to leave the hospital. Id. at 6. He alleges that the fact that he was released from jail without having to pay bail is “proof” that the aggravated battery charge was “bogus.” Id. at 7.

         Discussion

         In reviewing the Complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true, and liberally construes them in Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Plaintiffs must provide enough facts to “state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Alexander v. United States, 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013) (internal citations and quotations omitted). Jurisdiction in this Court is purportedly based on 42 U.S.C. § 1983. As Plaintiff's battery, assault, and false imprisonment claims are all state law causes of action, the only grounds in Petitioner's complaint that could support a § 1983 claim are Petitioner's false arrest and conspiracy claims. However, Plaintiff fails to state a claim under § 1983 based on theories of either false arrest or conspiracy.

         First, to state a claim for false arrest under § 1983, a plaintiff must plead that the defendant lacked probable cause for arrest. Gardunio v. Town of Cicero, 674 F.Supp.2d 976, 984 (N.D. Ill. 2009). Petitioner alleges that he was falsely arrested for aggravated battery of Defendant Rutledge. It appears that Petitioner pleaded guilty to that charge and was sentenced to two years. See Doc. 1 at 7.

         Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), “bars any suit for damages premised on a violation of civil rights if the basis for the suit is inconsistent with or would undermine the constitutionality of a conviction or sentence.” Wiley v. City of Chicago, 361 F.3d 994, 996 (7th Cir. 2004) (Citing Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87)). “Should success in a civil suit necessarily imply the invalidity of a conviction or sentence, Heck requires the potential plaintiff to wait until his conviction is nullified before bringing suit.” Id. If a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of the plaintiff's actual or potential conviction, the suit is barred and the complaint must be dismissed. Id.

         Here, Plaintiff does not allege that his aggravated battery conviction was nullified. Rather, Petitioner specifically states that he pleaded guilty to that charge and was sentenced to two years. Because a judgment in Slaughter's favor would necessarily imply the invalidity ...


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