United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Castillo Chief Judge United States District Court.
Brown ("Plaintiff), a detainee at the Cook County
Department of Corrections, brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against Correctional Officer Bryant
("Bryant"), County of Cook, Illinois ("Cook
County"), and Thomas Dart, Sheriff of Cook County
("Dart") (collectively, "Defendants")
based on Bryant's alleged use of excessive force. (R. 45,
Am. Compl.) Before the Court is a joint motion by Cook County
and Dart to dismiss the claims asserted against them pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (R. 56, Mot.; R.
45, Am. Compl.) For the reasons stated below, the Court
denies the motion.
amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on October 18,
2015, he was engaged in a physical altercation with another
detainee in his cell. (R. 45, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 19-20.)
A correctional officer observed the altercation and alerted
other officers over his two-way radio. (Id. ¶
21.) After the altercation ended and the other detainee
returned to his own cell, Biyant arrived in Plaintiffs cell
in response to the first officer's alert. (Id.
¶ 22.) Plaintiff alleges that correctional officers
typically take detainees to a medical facility after physical
altercations are reported. (Id.) Assuming that he
would be taken to the medical facility, Plaintiff began to
fully clothe himself. (Id.) Upon entering Plaintiffs
cell, however, Bryant allegedly pushed Plaintiff to the
ground, kneed him several times, and used racial slurs
against him. (Id. ¶¶ 23-24.) A struggle
between Plaintiff and Bryant ensued, after which Bryant was
able to place Plaintiffs left hand in hand cuffs.
(Id. ¶ 25.) With one of Plaintiff s hands
cuffed behind his back, Bryant allegedly struck Plaintiff in
the face, causing his nose to bleed. (Id. ¶
26.) Bryant then proceeded to place Plaintiffs right hand in
handcuffs. (Id.) At this point, other correctional
officers arrived, and escorted Plaintiff to Post 78 where he
was interviewed by Correctional Officers Velez and Durant.
(Id. ¶¶ 27-28.) After providing his
account of the incident to Velez and Durant, Plaintiff was
taken to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
(Id. % 29.)
result of the altercation, Plaintiff was disciplined with 35
days of segregation. (Id. ¶ 30.) He
subsequently filed a grievance against Bryant, which was
denied. (Id. ¶ 31.) Plaintiff filed an appeal
of the denial of his grievance, but his appeal was also
denied. (Id. ¶ 32.)
alleges that the Cook County Department of Corrections
("DOC") operates under a "pervasive and
long-standing 'code of silence'" whereby
correctional officers are prevented from reporting misconduct
by fellow officers. (Id. ¶¶ 33-34.) He
alleges that this "code of silence" is sanctioned
by high-level officials of Cook County, including Dart,
resulting in a widespread failure to investigate and punish
correctional officers' use of excessive force.
(Id. ¶ 34.) The amended complaint further
alleges that Darf s office failed to enforce its own policies
designed to protect detainees. (Id.)
also alleges that the Cook County DOC maintains a policy of
encouraging correctional officers to falsely report that the
use of force is justified as a response to assault or threats
of physical harm by detainees. (Id. ¶¶
36-38.) Plaintiff alleges that these false reports provide
correctional officers with "blanket immunity from
discipline" and perpetuate a culture in which Cook
County "turns a blind eye" to unlawful use of
excessive force. (Id. ¶ 38.) Plaintiff alleges
that the current grievance procedures as set forth in the
Cook County DOC's "General Orders" do not
adequately protect detainees, and additionally that Dart
fails to adequately enforce these policies. (Id.
¶¶ 39-43.) The amended complaint also alleges that
correctional officers within the Cook County DOC do not
receive adequate training, and that Dart's policy
regarding investigations of excessive force is inadequate.
(Id. ¶ 43.)
asserts a variety of claims against Bryant, Cook County, and
Dart. (Id.) In Count I, Plaintiff asserts an
excessive-force claim against Bryant under the Fourth,
Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. (Id. ¶¶
44-51.) In Count II, Plaintiff asserts a failure-to-protect
claim against Dart under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth
Amendments. (Id. ¶¶ 52-62.) In Counts III
and IV, Plaintiff asserts a claim against Bryant for assault
and battery under Illinois law. (Id. ¶¶
63-73.) More specifically, Plaintiff claims that Dart's
failure to protect is a consequence of a systemic failure by
Cook County and Dart to promulgate and enforce adequate
policies and to effectively monitor correctional officers.
(Id. ¶ 57.) Plaintiff alleges that this failure
is persistent and widespread, and further, that Dart has been
deliberately indifferent by failing to remedy this failure.
(Id. ¶¶ 58-59.) In Count V, Plaintiff
brings a Monell claim against Dart in his official
capacity. (Id. ¶¶ 74-84.) Last, in Count
VI Plaintiff brings a statutory indemnification claim against
Cook County pursuant to 745 Ill.Comp.Stat. 10/9-102 for the
recovery of any judgments entered against Bryant or Dart.
(Id. ¶¶ 85-88.)
filed his initial pro se complaint against Bryant on
November 18, 2015. (R. 1, Compl.) On December, 9, 2016, the
Court appointed counsel to represent Plaintiff. (R. 37,
Order.) On April 10, 2017, with counsel's assistance,
Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint, adding Cook County
and Dait as co-Defendants. (R. 45, Am. Compl.) On August 25,
2017, Bryant filed an answer. (R. 51, Answer.) On October 5,
2017, Cook County and Dart moved to dismiss Counts II and V
of Plaintiff s amended complaint for failure to state a
claim. (R. 56, Mot. at 1.)
their motion, Cook County and Dart argue that Plaintiff fails
to plausibly allege a federal claim against them in Counts II
and V. (Id. at 3.) As to Count II, the
failure-to-protect claim against Dart, Defendants argue that
Plaintiff has fails to plausibly allege that Cook County and
Dart have maintained an official custom, policy, or practice
which caused Plaintiff injury. (Id. at 4-6.)
Count V, Defendants argue that Plaintiff has also failed to
plausibly allege that Dart was deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiffs health and safety. (Id. at 8.) Defendants
argue that Plaintiff must plausibly allege that Dart had
personal knowledge that a substantial risk of harm to
Plaintiff existed on October 18, 2015, and that Dart
personally failed to protect Plaintiff from that risk.
(Id. at 8-9.) Because Plaintiff has failed to allege
sufficient facts to make it plausible that Dart had a
personal involvement in Plaintiffs alleged violation of
constitutional rights, Defendants move to dismiss Count V.
motion under Rule 12(b)(6) "challenges the viability of
a complaint by arguing that it fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted." Firestone Fin. Corp.
v. Meyer, 796 F, 3d 822, 825 (7th Cir. 2015) (citation
omitted). In order to survive a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6), the complaint must allege enough factual
information to state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face. Doe v. nil. of Arlington Heights, 782 F.3d
911, 914 (7th Cir. 2015). "A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content which
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
"The plausibility standard is not akin to a