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Henderson v. Illinois Department of Corrections

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 16, 2019

ELROY HENDERSON, #M20461, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Elroy Henderson, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff claims that while he was housed at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), officials used excessive force upon him, failed to intervene, and were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. He seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief. (Doc. 1, pp. 11-12).[1]

         Plaintiff's Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review 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. Rodriquez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         According to the allegations in the Complaint, on April 23, 2017, Plaintiff was involved in a physical altercation with several correctional officers and prisoners. (Doc. 1, p. 2). He was sprayed with oleoresin capsicum (O.C.) spray and placed in restraints. Id., pp. 2-3. As he was being escorted by several unknown correctional officers and Defendant Webb to the Healthcare Unit (“HCU”) to be decontaminated, they assaulted him. Id., pp. 2-3, 6. They then finished escorting him to the HCU.

         Defendants Williams and Emgelage, nurses at the HCU, took him to an exam room, where they were met by another nurse, Defendant Lang. Id., p. 3. Williams left the room as Lang filled out paperwork, and Emgelage rinsed the O.C. spray off Plaintiff. Id. An unknown corrections officer (John Doe #1) asked the nurses to leave the room, which they did. Id., pp. 3-4. Defendants Bebout, Roundtree, Webb, Eisenhouer, and Doe #1 then severely beat Plaintiff, including spraying O.C. into a plastic bag and then placing it over his head. Id., pp. 4-5. He sustained severe injuries which required him to be rushed to the hospital. Id., p. 5. Plaintiff sustained significant permanent physical and mental injuries. Id., pp. 5-6. Williams later wrote a falsified incident report to cover up the circumstances of the assault in the examination room. Id., pp. 9-10.


         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the claims in this case into the following five Counts:

Count 1: Eighth Amendment excessive force claim against Webb, Roundtree, Bebout, Eisenhouer, John Doe #1, and the other John Doe defendants, as well as a failure to intervene claim against Williams, Lang, and Emgelage.
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim against all Defendants.
Count 3: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to a serious medical need claim against Lang, Williams, and Emgelage.
Count 4: Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim against Lang, Williams, and Emgelage.
Count 5: Conspiracy claim against all Defendants

         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 claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order is considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under the Twombly[2] pleading standard.

         As an initial matter, IDOC is dismissed as a party. Although Plaintiff names IDOC in the caption of his complaint, he fails to list it elsewhere in his complaint, so the Court is unable to ascertain what claims, if any, Plaintiff has against it. Merely invoking the name of a potential defendant is not sufficient to state a claim against that individual. See Collins v. Kibort, 143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th Cir. 1998) (“A plaintiff cannot state a claim against a defendant by including the defendant's name in the caption.”). Further, IDOC is not a “person” subject to suit under Section 1983. Owens v. Evans, 878 F.3d 559, 563 (7th Cir. 2017). As such, it will be dismissed.

         Coun ...

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