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Smith v. Ziegler

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 13, 2019

MARK SMITH, # M10365, Plaintiff,
v.
RYAN ZIEGLER, DONALD ROUNDTREE, BRYAN EISENHOUER, JOHNATHAN WEBB, and JOHN DOE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Mark Smith, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which occurred while he was an inmate at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Plaintiff alleges constitutional and state law claims and is seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief.

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations: On April 23, 2017, while being escorted to the Menard Health Care Outpatient Unit (“HCU”) to be treated for injuries received unrelated to the Complaint, several officers threatened to kill him. (Doc. 1, p. 2). While waiting handcuffed in the HCU to see medical personnel, Defendants Lieutenant Zeigler and Corrections Officers Roundtree, Eisenhouer, and Webb entered the room and began physically assaulting Plaintiff, joined at some point by an unidentified corrections officer (John Doe). Id., p. 3. As he was being assaulted, he was told numerous times by officers that they were going to kill him, and he started to fear for his life. Id., p. 4. Twice during the assault Zeigler put a plastic bag sprayed with pepper spray over Plaintiff's head making it difficult for him to breath. Id. Following the incident, Plaintiff was transported to Pontiac Correctional Center on an emergency transfer. Id., p. 5. Two of the emergency transport team members took photos of Plaintiff's injuries. Id., pp. 5-6.

         Plaintiff sustained a number of injuries from the beating which still affect him, including sporadic numbness in his arms, as well as damage to his vision and random sharp pains throughout his body. Id., p. 5.

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following nine counts:

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim of excessive force against Ziegler, Roundtree, Eisenhouer, Webb, and John Doe for physically assaulting Plaintiff on April 23, 2017.
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need against Ziegler, Roundtree, Eisenhouer, Webb, and John Doe.
Count 3: Eighth Amendment claim for failure to protect Plaintiff from or intervene in the physical assault on April 23, 2017, against Ziegler, Roundtree, Eisenhouer, Webb, and John Doe.
Count 4: Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against Ziegler, Roundtree, Eisenhouer, Webb, and John Doe.
Count 5: Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim against Ziegler, Roundtree, Eisenhouer, Webb, and John Doe.
Count 6: Assault and battery claim in violation of Illinois state law against Ziegler, Roundtree, Eisenhouer, Webb, and John Doe for physically assaulting Plaintiff on April 23, 2017.
Count 7: Intentional infliction of emotional distress claim in violation of Illinois state law against Ziegler, Roundtree, Eisenhouer, Webb, and John Doe for physically assaulting Plaintiff on April 23, 2017.
Count 8: Official misconduct claim against Ziegler, Roundtree, Eisenhouer, Webb, and John Doe.
Count 9: Negligence claim in violation of Illinois state law against Ziegler, Roundtree, Eisenhouer, Webb, and John Doe.

         The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order is considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under Twombly.[1]

         As a preliminary matter, it is unclear whether Plaintiff asserts claims against more than one John Doe defendants. In the case caption and at points in the Complaint, Plaintiff refers to a singular John Doe correctional officer, but uses the plural “John Does” at other points. The Court will not treat parties not in the case caption as defendants. See Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d 551, 551-552 (7th Cir. 2005). The Court interprets the John Doe named in the caption to be the John Doe correctional officer who directly participated in the beating inside the HCU. To the extent Plaintiff wishes to assert claims against more than one John Doe, he must amend his pleading to designate any other unknown individuals and ...


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