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Rector v. Clark

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 7, 2019

STANLEY E. RECTOR, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
DOUGLAS CLARK, and MARSHA LILY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Stanley Rector, Jr., a detainee at Jackson County Jail, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights at Perry County Jail (“Jail”) in 2019. In the Complaint, Plaintiff claims that Major Clark and Lieutenant Lily forced him to sleep on the floor next to a toilet and denied him medical care when he became ill. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-10). He seeks monetary relief against the defendants. (Id. at p. 7).

         The 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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his Complaint: During Plaintiff's detention at the Jail in May and June 2019, Major Clark and Lieutenant Lily subjected him to inhumane conditions of confinement. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-10). At various times, they forced him to sleep on the floor near the toilet and denied his requests for a sleeping “boat.” (Id. at p. 10). Plaintiff became sick. (Id. at pp. 8-9). During a two-day period in May, he had eighteen bowel movements and did not urinate. When he reported these symptoms to staff, Major Clark and Lieutenant Lily had Officer Ben “play doctor” by filling out paperwork with Plaintiff. An hour later, Officer Alise brought Plaintiff five pills pursuant to the Jail doctor's[1] phone orders. Plaintiff refused to take them because Officer Alise was not a medical professional, could not identify the pills, did not know the side effects, and would not produce the pill bottle. Plaintiff's family ultimately intervened on his behalf and demanded medical care. He was transported to Pinckneyville Hospital, where he was treated in the urgent care unit for food poisoning, malnutrition, and dehydration. (Id.).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following enumerated Counts:

Count 1: Defendants subjected Plaintiff to unconstitutional conditions of confinement by forcing him to sleep on the floor near the toilet and denying him a “boat” at the Jail and May/June 2019.
Count 2: Defendants denied Plaintiff adequate medical care at the Jail for food poisoning and related symptoms in May 2019.

         Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed herein is considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under Twombly.[2]

         The Fourteenth Amendment governs claims of unconstitutional living conditions and inadequate medical care brought by pretrial detainees, and the Eighth Amendment governs the same claims of convicted persons. See Hardeman v. Curran, 933 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2019); Miranda v. Cty. Of Lake, 900 F.3d 335, 352 (7th Cir. 2018); McCann v. Ogle Cty., Ill., 909 F.3d 881 (7th Cir. 2018) (defining current and evolving standards applicable to these claims). At this stage, it is unclear whether Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee or convicted prisoner when his claims arose. However, the applicable legal standard can be determined as this case proceeds. Counts 1 and 2 survive preliminary review under both standards, based on Plaintiff's allegations of prolonged exposure to unsanitary conditions and inadequate medical treatment at the direction or consent of the defendants. Counts 1 and 2 shall receive further review.

         Pending Motion

         Plaintiff's Motion for Recruitment of Counsel (Doc. 3) is DENIED without prejudice. See Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654 (7th Cir. 2007) (articulating factors district court should consider when presented with a request for counsel). Plaintiff describes his mother's telephone contacts with attorneys, but he offers few details about the number of contacts, the names of the attorneys, the dates of contact, and their exact responses to her request for representation of Plaintiff. (Doc. 3, p. 1). Plaintiff has not yet demonstrated reasonable efforts to locate counsel. Moreover, Plaintiff appears competent to represent himself in this matter. He prepared a Complaint that survives screening. He demonstrates knowledge of key events, defendants, and witnesses. Other than his limited education, Plaintiff identifies no other impediments to pro se litigation, such as language, education, medical, or mental health barriers. The Court declines to recruit counsel at this time.

         D ...


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