United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
E. SHADID UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the Court for merit review of the
Plaintiff's complaint. The Court is required by 28 U.S.C.
§1915A to “screen” the Plaintiff's
complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss
any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if
warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(1)
is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
a pro se prisoner, claims Defendants Warden Michael Melvin,
Assistant Warden Emily Ruskin, Assistant Warden Teri Kennedy,
Mental Health Care Administrator Kelly Renzi, Director of
Mental Health Services Melvin Hinton, Illinois Department of
Corrections (IDOC) Director John Baldwin, Lieutenant Smith,
Correctional Officer Andrew Kromiga, Mental Health Workers
John Soko, Sara, Cheshareck, Andrea Moss, Barbara Browning,
Crystal Carlson, and Jessica Otto, and unspecified John Doe
Defendants violated his constitutional rights at Pontiac
says he suffers from a serious mental illness and he has a
history of suicide attempts. Plaintiff says he is classified
within IDOC as seriously mentally ill, but Plaintiff does not
state his specific diagnosis, nor does he provide any other
information about his condition.
October 2, 2017, Plaintiff met with Mental Health Worker
Ortega and gave her a note “stating that he felt that
due to going events he may have to ‘defend' himself
against security staff.” (Comp., p. 4). Defendant
Ortega responded by placing Plaintiff on suicide watch.
Plaintiff says he never stated, nor implied that he intended
to hurt himself.
Kromiga applied handcuffs and leg shackles before taking
Plaintiff to the suicide watch cell on October 2, 2017.
However, after he was placed in the cell by Defendant Kromiga
and another, unidentified officer, Defendant Kromiga refused
to remove the leg shackles. When Plaintiff asked why,
Defendant Kromiga stated, “per Lieutenant Smith they
stay on. You guys need to stop calling crisis on our
shift.” (Comp., p. 5). Plaintiff says he remained in
leg shackles for two days. When they were finally removed,
Plaintiff says his legs were swollen and he had cuts on his
then describes the typical conditions within a suicide watch
cell. For instance, Plaintiff was given a suicide smock, a
suicide blanket, no mattress, and he was on ten minute
watches. Plaintiff says he suffered with sleep deprivation,
hallucinations, and his mental state deteriorated during this
time. Plaintiff remained in the suicide watch cell for 28
days until October 30, 2017.
met with medical staff after his release on November 14,
2017. Plaintiff says he was suffering with severe back and
hip pain from due to sleeping without a mattress while on
suicide watch. Plaintiff was prescribed pain medication.
has listed four counts at the conclusion of his complaint.
(Comp., p. 7-11). First, Plaintiff says Defendants violated
his Fourteenth and Eighth Amendment rights when he was placed
in a suicide watch cell for 28 days when he was not suicidal.
Plaintiff says his mental health deteriorated and he was left
in leg shackles for two days. Plaintiff also complains about
his specific living conditions. Count II alleges Defendants
were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs when
Plaintiff was not provided mental health care during his stay
on suicide watch. Counts III and IV allege violations of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act
on the claims in the complaint, Plaintiff he has alleged
Defendant Mental Health Worker Ortega violated his Eighth
Amendment rights when she placed Plaintiff on suicide watch
for 28 days, but failed to provide or require adequate mental
health care during this time. Plaintiff has also alleged
Defendants Kromiga and Lieutenant Taylor violated his Eighth
Amendment rights when he was forced to stay in leg shackles
for two days.
Plaintiff also alleges he was forced into a suicide watch
cell even though he was not suicidal, he has not articulated
a constitutional violation based on this fact alone. See
Starks v. Couch, 2009 WL 331357, at *2 (S.D.Ill. Feb.
11, 2009)(plaintiff “has not stated a claim for a due
process or a First Amendment violation because there is no
constitutional right to avoid being placed on suicide
watch.”). In fact, several courts have noted
“[t]emporary placement on suicide watch, even when not
necessary, does not implicate a liberty interest protected by
the Due Process Clause, nor does it amount to cruel and
unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.”
Jones v. Lee, 2012 WL 683362, at *4 (E.D.Mich. March
2, 2012)(listing cases); see also Johnson v. McVea,
2016 WL 1242840, at *6 (E.D.La. March 7, 2016)(listing
cases); Hunter v. Williams, 2013 WL 3467097, at *2
(M.D.Tenn., July 10, 2013)(listing cases);
“Marshall v. Burden, No. 5:09CV00128, 2010 WL
670079, at *5 (E.D.Ark. Feb. 22, 2010); Cherer v.
Frazier, No. 2:06- cv-00502, 2007 WL 2406844, at *5-6
(D.Nev. Aug. 16, 2007). In addition, from Plaintiff's
pleading, it appears he saw the mental health worker after
requested crisis watch.
for the purposes of notice pleading, it is possible Plaintiff
can demonstrate an Eighth Amendment violation based on the
specific problems with his cell. For instance, Plaintiff
claims he was never provided a mattress and the lights were
left on for 24 hours a day. However, it is not clear from
Plaintiff's complaint who knew about the specific
conditions of his cell. While Defendant Mental Health Worker
Ortega ordered his placement on suicide watch, Plaintiff does
not allege any other contact. In addition, Plaintiff has
listed several other individuals in the list of Defendants,
but he has either failed to mention their involvement in the
body of his complaint, or he has named them as Defendants
purely because they were supervisors. Neither is sufficient
to establish liability in a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§1983. See Potter v Clark, 497 F.2d 1206, 1207
(7th Cir. 1974)(“Where a complaint alleges no specific
act or conduct on the part of the defendant and the complaint
is silent as to the defendant except for his name appearing
in the caption, the complaint is properly dismissed, even
under the liberal construction to be given pro se
complaints.”); see also Smith v. Gomez, 550
F.3d 613, 616 (7th Cir. 2008)(supervisor liability
not permitted under § 1983). Instead, Plaintiff must
identify Defendants who had personal involvement with
Plaintiff's living conditions during the 28 days.
Plaintiff believes he can clarify this allegation, he may
file a motion for leave to amend with a proposed amended
complaint attached within 21 days of this order. The amended
complaint must stand complete on its own, must include all
claims against all Defendants, and must not make reference to
any previous complaint.
Plaintiff has failed to state a claim pursuant to either the
ADA or RA. To establish a violation of Title II of the ADA,
“the plaintiff must prove that he is a ‘qualified
individual with a disability, ' that he was denied
‘the benefits of the services, programs, or activities
of a public entity' or otherwise subjected to
discrimination by such an entity, and that the denial or
discrimination was ‘by reason of' his
disability.” Wagoner v. Lemmon, 778 F.3d 586,
592 (7th Cir. 2015). Analysis under the RA is essentially the
same, except the Act also required the entity denying access
receive federal funds. See Jaros v. Illinois Department
of Corrections,684 F.3d 667, 671-72 (7th Cir. 2012). In
addition, claims pursuant to the ADA or RA cannot proceed
against “individual employees of ...