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Richmond v. Brookhart

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 20, 2019

RASHAD K. RICHMOND, #M41803, Plaintiff,
v.
DEANNA M. BROOKHART, and RUSSELL GOINS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Rashad Richmond, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Hill Correctional Center, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights that occurred while at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”). Plaintiff claims that he was subjected to cruel and unusual conditions of confinement while at Lawrence, by being held in a cell without a working toilet for almost two months. He seeks monetary damages.

         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

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations: On April 12, 2019, he was placed in segregation under investigative status and assigned to a cell with a nonworking toilet. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Although he notified various prison staff, wrote grievances, went on a hunger strike, and threatened to kill himself, unless the toilet was fixed, the toilet remained broken, and was constantly full of feces and urine. Id. at pp. 8-9. On June 7, 2019, in response to his grievance, a counselor came and inspected the toilet. When the counselor saw that the toilet was broken, Plaintiff was moved to a different cell. Id. at p. 10.

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to designate the following Count:

Count 1: Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual conditions of confinement claim for being placed in a cell with a broken toilet from April 12, 2019, until June 7, 2019.

         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[1] pleading standard.

         The Court finds that Plaintiff’s Complaint, as currently drafted, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Plaintiff identifies Chief Administrative Officer Deanna Brookhart and Assistant Ward of Operations Russell Goins as defendants in the case caption, but he does not describe how either defendant violated his constitutional rights. In fact, neither defendant is referenced in the statement of claim at all. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires “‘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)). Merely invoking the name of a potential defendant by listing him or her in the case caption is not sufficient to state a claim against that individual. See Collins v. Kibort, 143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th Cir. 1998). Because Plaintiff has failed to associate his claims with any of the named defendants, the Complaint will be dismissed.

         The Court further notes that in the Complaint Plaintiff directs allegations against various staff members at Lawrence, but none of these individuals are listed in the case caption. The Court will not treat individuals not listed in the caption as defendants, and any claims against them are considered dismissed without prejudice. See Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d 551, 551–52 (7th Cir. 2005) (to be properly considered a party a defendant must be “specif[ied] in the caption”).

         In light of these deficiencies, Plaintiff’s Complaint does not survive preliminary review and shall be dismissed. If he wishes to pursue his claims, Plaintiff must file an amended complaint describing how defendants, named as a party in the case caption, violated his rights, keeping in mind that in Section 1983 actions, there is no supervisory liability. To be held individually liable a defendant must be “‘personally responsible for the deprivation of a constitutional right.’” Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 740 (7th Cir. 2001) (quoting Chavez v. Ill. State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir. 2001)).

         Motion for Recruitment of Counsel

         Plaintiff has filed a Motion for Recruitment of Counsel (Doc. 3), which will be denied at this time. See Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654 (7th Cir. 2007) (articulating the test for recruiting counsel). In the Motion, Plaintiff states that he has written several law firms and that his wife has also tried to contact an attorney, but he has not received any responses. (Doc. 3, p. 1). In regard to ...


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