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Hallows v. Madison County Jail

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 8, 2018

JOHN HALLOWS, #32721, Plaintiff,


          J. Phil Gilbert United States District Judge

         Plaintiff John Hallows, an inmate in Madison County Jail (“Jail”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims the defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his serious mental health and medical issues in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and Illinois law. (Doc. 1). This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         An action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross “the line between possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to allow this case to proceed past the threshold stage.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations, which he divided under the following counts:

         Count 1 - Failure to Address Mental Health Needs and Improper Confinement

         Plaintiff repeatedly notified the facility that he was hearing voices, that he had a history of mental health issues, and that he had been on medications before. (Doc. 1, p. 4). The Deputy incorrectly indicated that Plaintiff did not have mental health issues, and further indicated that Plaintiff did not need to be housed separately from the general population, which was also incorrect. Id. Inmates with mental health issues are housed in the Special Housing Unit. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5). Other inmates noticed Plaintiff's problems and abused him for them. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Combined with the Jail's overcrowded conditions, this led to the attack on Plaintiff. Id.

         Count 2 - Failure to Protect

         Plaintiff was assaulted while he was placed incorrectly within the Jail. Id. Plaintiff did not provoke the attack. Id. Instead, his mental health issues and the Jail's overcrowded conditions, where inmates are divided “along ‘racial' lines, ” are to blame. Id. Upon entering the dayroom, Plaintiff was attacked from behind by inmate Hamilton and others, including inmate Sims, who has since returned to the Jail for another “mob action” case. Id.

         Count 3 - Negligence

         Immediately after Plaintiff was severely injured with multiple face fractures and neck and back injuries, it took almost one hour for someone to call an ambulance. Id. Plaintiff was never seen by the Jail's medical staff during this time. Id. Instead, Deputy Hare took Plaintiff to the shower area. Id. They argued about his taking a shower. Id. Plaintiff was in a lot of pain, and the shower was extremely cold, so when he got in he screamed and felt part of his jaw separate. Id. Hare then took Plaintiff to an attorney booth and took photos “because he was more worried about lawsuit prevention” than about Plaintiff's medical needs. Id. When the ambulance arrived, they put Plaintiff on a stretcher and in a neck brace and assessed his injuries. Id.

         Count 4 - Deliberate Indifference

         “After extensive and very serious injuries, the Plaintiff was released back to confinement with discharge instructions.” Id. Immediately after signing the release form, Deputy Barrett took Plaintiff's neck brace off. Id. Barrett told Plaintiff that he did not need the brace anymore and that it “looks bad on the Jail.” Id. He did this “in front of a ‘shocked' doctor.” Id. Plaintiff received X-rays and CAT scans on his neck and back all night prior to this, which determined that he had sustained three fractures to his face and neck and back injuries. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6).

         Plaintiff's discharge instructions stated that he was to remain in the Jail's infirmary, but upon his return to the Jail, Plaintiff was “put on the floor of a very small attorney booth” for four days. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He was not monitored or checked on regularly. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He also had no toilet or running water, and “many times requests to be taken to a restroom were ignored by passing guards.” Id. Plaintiff was also only given three cups of broth water per day, but he vomited it up because of the blood he swallowed after he was attacked. Id.

         Count 5 - Prevented from Pressing Charges

         Plaintiff “was denied the right to make a police report, speak to a detective, or press charges against his attackers.” Id. At the hospital, Deputy Wilson asked Plaintiff if he wanted to press charges against inmate Hamilton, and Plaintiff told him that he did. Id. Deputy Wilson called the Jail and told them. Id. “A couple of days later Deputy Court came to the Plaintiff and asked him to sign a form ‘refusing to press ...

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