United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ALLEN L. GILLS, Plaintiff,
PINCKNEYVILLE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Allen Gills filed this pro se civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that he was
brutally attacked by another inmate while he was in custody
at Pinckneyville Correctional Center. He is requesting money
damages. Along with the Complaint, Plaintiff filed a motion
to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP
Motion”). (Doc. 2).
time he filed this Complaint, Plaintiff was living in a
personal residence and public records show that he was
released for parole on February 15, 2019. Additionally, he
indicates in his IFP Motion (Doc. 2, p. 1) that he is
currently not incarcerated. As such, Plaintiff does not meet
the statutory definition of a
“prisoner” for purposes of the IFP statute, which
states that “[t]he term ‘prisoner' means any
person incarcerated or detained in any facility who is
accused of, convicted of, sentenced for, or adjudicated
delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms and
conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or
diversionary program.” See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(h). The Court, however, may allow a civil case to
proceed without prepayment of fees, if the litigant
demonstrates that he is indigent under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(1) by submitting “an affidavit that includes a
statement of all assets [he] possesses [showing] that the
person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor[,
]” and the Complaint survives review under 28 U.S.C.
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on January 17, 2019, he was
brutally attacked by another inmate, Shone Jones, while
incarcerated at Pinckneyville. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He also
alleges that he lost two pints of blood following the attack.
1915(e)(2) requires careful threshold scrutiny of the
Complaint. The district court may deny an otherwise qualified
plaintiff leave to proceed IFP and dismiss a case, if the
action is clearly frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim, or is a claim for money damages against an immune
defendant. Id.; Lucien v. Roegner, 682 F.2d
625, 626 (7th Cir. 1982). The test for determining if an
action is frivolous or meritless is whether the plaintiff can
make a rational argument on the law or facts in support of
the claim. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
(1989). An action fails to state a claim if it does not plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). At this juncture, the
factual allegations of the pro se Complaint are
liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
Complaint does not survive preliminary review under Section
1915(e)(2)(B). It is not entirely clear if Plaintiff intends
to name Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”) or Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) or both as a defendant since
the only named Defendant is “Pinckneyville Illinois
Department of Corrections” and he does not mention this
entity anywhere in his Complaint other than in the case
caption. The reason that plaintiffs, even those proceeding
pro se for whom the Court is required to liberally
construe Complaints, are required to associate specific
defendants with specific claims is so these defendants are
put on notice of the claims brought against them and 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
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
Thus, where a plaintiff has not included a defendant in his
statement of claim, the defendant cannot be said to be
adequately put on notice of which claims in the complaint, if
any, are directed against him. Additionally, to the extent
Plaintiff is attempting to name Pinckneyville or IDOC as a
defendant, he cannot pursue a request for money damages
against either entity because they are not
“persons” within the meaning of the Civil Rights
Act, and are therefore not subject to a § 1983 lawsuit.
See Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491
U.S. 58, 71 (1989). Because Plaintiff has failed to associate
specific defendants with specific claims, his Complaint must
be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted.
however, will be given an opportunity to re-plead his claims
in an amended complaint if he wishes to proceed with this
case. A successful Complaint generally alleges “the
who, what, when, where, and how…” DiLeo v.
Ernst & Young, 901 F.2d 624, 627 (7th Cir. 1990).
When preparing the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff should
identify each defendant in the case caption and set forth
sufficient allegations against each defendant to describe
what the defendant did or failed to do to violate his
for Recruitment of Counsel
has also filed a Motion for Recruitment of Counsel (Doc. 3).
There is no constitutional or statutory right to appointment
of counsel in federal civil cases. Romanelli v.
Suliene, 615 F.3d 847, 851 (7th Cir. 2010). Federal
District Courts have discretion under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(1) to request counsel to assist pro se
litigants. Id. When presented with a request to
appoint counsel, the Court must consider: “(1) has the
indigent plaintiff made a reasonable attempt to obtain
counsel or been effectively precluded from doing so; and if
so, (2) given the difficulty of the case, does the plaintiff
appear competent to litigate it himself [.]” Pruitt
v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654 (7th Cir. 2007).
regard to the first step of the inquiry, Plaintiff states
that he has contacted all of the Chicagoland prison
associated pro bono attorneys in an attempt to retain
counsel. (Doc. 3, p. 1). The Court finds, however, that
because Plaintiff has not provided more information, such as
proof of rejections from these law offices, he has not
demonstrated that he has made a reasonable attempt to find
counsel. For this reason, Plaintiff's motion is
DENIED without prejudice. The Court
encourages Plaintiff to renew his request for the appointment
of counsel at a later date. If Plaintiff does renew his
request, he should give the Court rejection letters from at
least three lawyers to prove that he has recently made
reasonable efforts to find a lawyer on his own.
IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion for Leave to
Proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 2) is DENIED
without prejudice, and the Complaint (Doc. 1) is
DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Motion for Recruitment
of Counsel (Doc. 3) is ...