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Mohammed v. Westcare Illinois, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

May 25, 2018

AHMED MOHAMMED, Plaintiff,
v.
WESTCARE FOUNDATION, INC., WESTCARE ILLINOIS, INC., JOE BURNETT, THOMAS J. DART, Cook County Sheriff, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, and UNKNOWN EMPLOYEES at Cook County Jail, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Hon, Virginia M. Kendall United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff 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. [12; 26.]

         BACKGROUND

         The 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.

         1. Parties

         Ahmed 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.

         Joe 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.

         WestCare 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.

         Sheriff 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.

         At all 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.

         The 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.

         2. Events Surrounding November 1, 2015

         On 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.

         LEGAL ...


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