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Sanderss v. Hare

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 25, 2019

JOHN A. SANDERS, JR., Plaintiff,
MICHAEL HARE, Defendant.



         Plaintiff John Sanders, who is currently being held at Alton Law Enforcement Center in Alton, Illinois, brings this action for deprivation of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events occurring at the Madison County Jail. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

         This case is now before the Court for a 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. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his Complaint: Over the course of several years, Defendant Sergeant Michael Hare, a deputy jailer at the Madison County Jail (“Madison”), has repeatedly made sexual advancements toward Plaintiff throughout his time in and out of Madison. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff recounts that between December 2006 and May 2007, Sergeant Hare would watch Plaintiff using the restroom while making sexual comments and gestures. Id. at p. 6. When Plaintiff would tell Sergeant Hare to leave him alone, Hare would punish Plaintiff by taking away dayroom privileges or shaking down his cell on false pretenses.

         During a period while Plaintiff was not being held in Madison, Plaintiff claims that Sergeant Hare approached him at a gas station in 2012 and made sexually explicit remarks to him.

         Plaintiff claims that because of the ongoing sexual harassment he lives in fear of retaliation for refusing Sergeant Hare's advancements and has suffered from mental trauma. Id. at p. 7.


         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following two counts.

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Hare for sexual harassment.
Count 2: First Amendment claim against Hare for retaliating against Plaintiff for protesting Hare's sexual comments and advances.

         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 should be considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pleaded under the Twombly[1] pleading standard.

         The Complaint does not survive preliminary review under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Although the courts are obligated to accept factual allegations as true, courts “should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements.” Brooks v. Ross, 578F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Plaintiff claims that he has been the victim of ongoing sexual harassment from Sergeant Hare and fears retaliation for rejecting his advances are vague and conclusory. Other than alleging incidences of sexual harassment and retaliation on the part of Hare that are time barred or not brought properly under Section 1983, [2] Plaintiff does not include recent substantive allegations. The reason that plaintiffs, even those proceeding pro se, for whom the Court is required to liberally construe complaints, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972), are required to associate specific defendants with specific claims is so these defendants are put on notice of the claims brought against them and so they can properly answer the complaint. “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.' ” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Thus, where a plaintiff has not included substantive allegations against a defendant in his statement of the claim, the defendant cannot be said to be adequately put on notice of which claims in the complaint, if any, are directed against him. For these reasons the Complaint is dismissed.

         Leave ...

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