United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Virginia M. Kendall United States District Judge.
Ahmed Mohammed filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
Illinois law, and common law against Defendants WestCare
Foundation, Inc., WestCare Illinois, Inc. (collectively
“WestCare”), inmate Joe Burnett, Thomas J. Dart,
Cook County Sheriff (“Sheriff Dart”), Cook
County, Illinois (“Cook County”), and unknown
employees at Cook County Jail (“unknown
employees”). (Dkt. No. 1.) Mohammed seeks damages
against WestCare, Cook County, Sheriff Dart, and the unknown
employees alleging violations of his Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights (Counts I and II); damages pursuant to
common law respondeat superior against WestCare, Cook County,
or Sheriff Dart as the principals of the unknown employees
(Count III); indemnification claims against Cook County,
Sheriff Dart and WestCare pursuant to 745 ILCS §
10/9-102 for actions of the unknown employees (Count IV); and
common law battery against Joe Burnett (Count V). WestCare
seeks dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) from Counts
I-IV, (Dkt. No. 26); while Sheriff Dart and Cook County seek
dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) of the §
1983 claims and the respondeat superior claims. (Dkt. No.
12.) For the following reasons the Court grants both motions.
facts alleged in the complaint (Dkt. No. 1) are assumed true
on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. See Vinson v. Vermillion
Conty, Ill., 776 F.3d 924, 925 (7th Cir. 2015). The
following sets forth the facts as favorably to Mohammed as
permitted by the complaint.
Mohammed was incarcerated in the Division 3 Annex of the Cook
County Department of Corrections (“CCDOC”)
facility located at 2700 S. California Avenue in Chicago,
Illinois. (Dkt. No. 1, at ¶¶ 1, 16.) Mohammed
received substance abuse treatment while incarcerated in the
CCDOC. Id. ¶ 2. During his treatment at the
jail Mohammed was housed in an open-spaced dormitory style
setting consisting of bunk-style beds where the inmates
receiving treatment slept and spent their daily leisure time.
Id. ¶¶ 19, 20.
Burnett was also an inmate incarcerated in the Division 3
Annex of the CCDOC facility located at 2700 S. California
Avenue during the same period of time. Id. ¶ 3.
Burnett participated in the same substance abuse program and
was housed in the same tier as Mohammed at Cook County Jail.
Id. ¶¶ 17, 18. Burnett was first placed in
the substance abuse program on June 4, 2015, but was
discharged for fighting with another inmate on July 8, 2015.
Id. ¶ 21. He was subsequently re-admitted into
the substance abuse program but was again removed after
engaging in a violent altercation with another inmate on
August 14, 2015. Id. He later informed prison
officials that he planned to assault another inmate in
September 2015, and was required to sign a “Behavioral
Contract” acknowledging the rules established by the
CCDOC and WestCare. Id. Burnett had a prior physical
altercation with Mohammed before the November 1, 2015
incident and also engaged in a physical altercation with
another inmate on November 1, 2015, but was allowed to return
to the open-space dormitory without restriction. Id.
Foundation Inc. and WestCare Illinois Inc. contracted with
the Cook County Jail to provide services including treatment
for substance abuse to inmates of the CCDOC. Id.
¶¶ 4, 5. Both Mohammed and Burnett participated in
the substance abuse program offered by WestCare while
incarcerated at Cook County Jail. Id.
Dart was the duly elected acting Sheriff of Cook County and
the chief administrator of the CCDOC responsible for the
day-to-day operations of the CCDOC including but not limited
to Cook County Jail. Id. ¶ 6. His duties
included being the commanding officer of all Cook County
Sheriff's Deputies, correctional officers and jail
employees and he was responsible for their training,
supervision, and conduct. Id.
times relevant to this suit, Cook County, Illinois was a
governmental entity within the State of Illinois that funds
and operates the Cook Count Jail. Id. ¶ 8.
unknown employees at Cook Count Jail were employees of either
Cook County, Illinois by virtue of employment under Sheriff
Dart or the Cook Count Jail, or were employed by WestCare.
Id. ¶ 7.
Events Surrounding November 1, 2015
November 1, 2015, Burnett and Mohammed were housed in the
open dormitory-style living quarters as participants in the
WestCare-provided substance abuse treatment program located
in Tier 3-C of the Division Three Annex at Cook County Jail.
Id. ¶¶ 15-20. At 12:34 p.m. on November 1,
2015, Mohammad was laying down in his bunk when Burnett
approached and punched him causing serious and permanent
injuries and disfigurement. Id. ¶ 22. Prior to
the alleged assault, Burnett had engaged in a physical
altercation with another inmate but was allowed to return to
the dormitory area. Id. ¶ 21.