United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
William Edward Jones, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections, who is currently incarcerated at Graham
Correctional Center, brings this civil rights action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events which occurred while he
was a detainee at Jefferson County Justice Center
(“Jail”) located in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.
Plaintiff complains that when he was moved to a disciplinary
segregation cell where the sprinkler head had been removed,
his life was knowingly and willingly placed in danger in the
event of a fire. (Doc. 1). Additionally, Plaintiff claims
that he is being harassed by employees of the jail because of
a previous lawsuit filed against the facility. Id.
at pp. 2, 6. He seeks money damages. Id. at p. 1.
Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the Court to
screen prisoner Complaints and filter out non-meritorious
claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of the
Complaint that is legally frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim for relief, or requests money damages from an
immune defendant must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b). At this juncture, the factual allegations are
liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
on the allegations summarized above, the Court finds it
convenient to designate the following two counts in the
pro se action:
Count 1: Defendants subjected Plaintiff to
unconstitutional conditions of confinement at Jefferson
County Justice Center by holding him in a cell that did not
have a working fire sprinkler.
Count 2: Defendants violated Plaintiff's
constitutional rights by subjecting him to harassment in
retaliation for filing a law suit against the facility.
other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not
addressed herein is considered dismissed without prejudice as
inadequately pled under
Complaint does not survive preliminary review under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. Plaintiff names the Jefferson County Justice
Center (“Jail”) as the only defendant. However,
he does not mention the defendant in the statement of his
claim, and the Jail is not a “person” subject to
suit under Section 1983. Smith v. Knox Cnty. Jail,
666 F.3d 1037, 1040 (7th Cir. 2012); Powell v. Cook Cnty.
Jail, 814 F.Supp. 757, 758 (N.D. Ill. 1993). It is not
even a legal entity.
defendant must have the legal capacity to be sued.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 17(b). When determining whether
an entity has this capacity, federal courts look to state
law. Magnuson v. Cassarella, 812 F.Supp. 824, 827
(N.D. Ill. 1992). Under Illinois law, a county jail is not
considered a suable entity. Isaacs v. St. Clair Cnty.
Jail, No. 08-0417-DRH, 2009 WL 211158, at *3-4 (S.D.
Ill. Jan. 29, 2009); Hedger v. Wexford, No.
18-cv-2081-JPG, 2019 WL 117986, at *2 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 7,
2019). Jefferson County Justice Center shall thus be
dismissed with prejudice.
Plaintiff refers to certain individuals in the statement of
his claim, he chose not to name them as defendants in the
case caption of the Complaint. When parties are not listed in
the case caption, this Court will not treat them as
defendants. Any claims against them should be considered
dismissed without prejudice. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
10(a) (noting that the title of the complaint “must
name all the parties”); Myles v. United
States, 416 F.3d 551, 551-52 (7th Cir. 2005) (defendant
must be “specif[ied] in the caption”).
1983 creates a cause of action based on personal liability
and predicated upon fault; thus, “to be liable under
[Section] 1983, an individual defendant must have caused or
participated in a constitutional deprivation.”
Pepper v. Village of Oak Park, 430 F.3d 809, 810
(7th Cir. 2005). In other words, to survive screening,
Plaintiff must identify particular defendants who acted or
failed to act in a way that caused a deprivation of his
constitutional rights. Having failed to do so, the Complaint
shall be dismissed.
will have an opportunity to re-plead his claim, if he wishes
to proceed with this action. When preparing his First Amended
Complaint, Plaintiff should identify each defendant in the
case caption and set forth sufficient allegations to describe
what each defendant did, or failed to do, to violate his
constitutional rights. To avoid dismissal of this action with
prejudice, he must also follow the instructions and deadline
in the below disposition. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41.