United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW OPINION SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, U.S. District
MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
proceeds pro se from his incarceration in the Pontiac
Correctional Center. His Complaint is before the Court for a
merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. This section
requires the Court to identify cognizable claims stated by
the Complaint or dismiss claims that are not
cognizable. In reviewing the complaint, the Court
accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing
them in Plaintiff's favor and taking Plaintiff's pro
se status into account. 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 (7thCir. 2013)(quoted cite
alleges that, on May 14, 2017, an unidentified officer told
Plaintiff to put in for sick call instead of providing
immediate medical attention for Plaintiff's severe pain
caused by an unidentified chronic illness. Plaintiff sent a
request slip to Warden Melvin on May 25, 2017, about staff
misconduct but received no response. On June 20, 2017, an
unidentified correctional officer told Plaintiff to put in
for sick call instead of arranging for immediate care for
severe chest pains Plaintiff was experiencing. Plaintiff does
not say whether he put in for sick call for these ailments or
what treatment he eventually received, if any.
18, 2017, Plaintiff's toilet stopped working, with feces
traveling from the toilets in other cells into
Plaintiff's cell. The next month, Plaintiff's hot
water stopped working. Plaintiff's repeated attempts over
the following months to get the toilet and hot water to work
were ignored or refused. In addition to writing grievances
about the conditions, Plaintiff wrote directly to Defendants
(IDOC Director, Pontiac Warden, Pontiac Assistant Warden, and
Pontiac Warden of Programs) but received no response.
Plaintiff appears to be alleging that the toilet and hot
water still do not work.
IDOC Director and Wardens cannot be held liable for the
constitutional violations of their employees solely because
the Director and Wardens are in charge. Kuhn v.
Goodlow, 678 F.3d 552. 556 (7th Cir. 2012)("'An
individual cannot be held liable in a § 1983 action
unless he caused or participated in an alleged constitutional
deprivation.'")(quoted cite omitted); Chavez v.
Illinois State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir.
2001)(no respondeat superior liability under § 1983). No
plausible inference arises that the Director or Wardens were
involved in the unidentified officers' refusal to obtain
immediate medical care.
a plausible inference does arise regarding Plaintiff's
broken toilet and lack of hot water. These conditions have
allegedly been going on for months and may reflect the kind
of systemic plumbing problems of which the IDOC Director and
Wardens are aware and have the authority to fix.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
1) Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28
U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court finds that Plaintiff states an
Eighth Amendment claim based on his broken toilet and the
lack of hot water in his cell. This case proceeds solely on
the claims identified in this paragraph. 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. Plaintiff is
advised to wait until counsel has appeared for Defendants
before filing any motions, in order to give 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. 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 Defendants by mailing
each Defendant a waiver of service. Defendants have 60 days
from the date the waiver is sent to file an Answer. If
Defendants have not filed Answers or appeared through counsel
within 90 days of the entry of this order, Plaintiff may file
a motion requesting the status of service. After 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 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) 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 Defendants' positions. The
Court does not rule on the merits of those positions unless
and until a motion is filed by Defendants. Therefore, no
response to the answer is necessary or will be considered.
6) This District uses electronic filing, which means that,
after Defense counsel has filed an appearance, Defense
counsel will automatically receive electronic notice of any
motion or other paper filed by Plaintiff with the Clerk.
Plaintiff does not need to mail to Defense counsel copies of
motions and other papers that Plaintiff has filed with the
Clerk. However, this does not apply to discovery requests and
responses. Discovery requests and responses are not filed
with the Clerk. Plaintiff must mail his discovery requests
and responses directly to Defendants' counsel. Discovery
requests or responses sent to the Clerk will be returned
unfiled, unless they are attached to and the subject of a
motion to compel. Discovery does not begin until Defense
counsel has filed an appearance and the Court has entered a
scheduling order, which will explain the discovery process in
7) Counsel for Defendants is hereby granted leave to depose
Plaintiff at his place of confinement. Counsel for Defendants