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McDaniels v. Austin

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

October 16, 2019

GERI L. McDANIELS, Plaintiff,
v.
GLEN AUSTIN, et al., Defendants.

          MERIT REVIEW AND CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER

          HAROLD A. BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The case is now before the court for a merit review of plaintiff's claims. The court is required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to “screen” the plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         In reviewing the complaint, the court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to “state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(citation omitted). The court has reviewed the complaint and has also held a merit review hearing in order to give the plaintiff a chance to personally explain his claims to the court.

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Fox Valley Adult Transition Center. However, plaintiff's claims arise from her incarceration at Logan Correctional Center (“Logan”). Plaintiff alleges that officials at Logan ridiculed her for her heroin addiction, accused her of selling her medication, placed her in segregation, and otherwise ignored her while she was 8 1/2 months pregnant.

         Plaintiff also alleges that officials delayed taking her to a hospital after she began experiencing contractions and vaginal bleeding, ultimately resulting in a C-section. Plaintiff alleges that when she returned to Logan after giving birth, she suffered from extreme depression, that she was forced to sleep on a concrete slab without clothing or a blanket, and that medical staff refused to address her withdrawal symptoms or mental health issues.

         Plaintiff states a claim for deliberate indifference to serious medical and mental health needs. Petties v. Carter, 836 F.3d 722, 729-30 (7th Cir. 2016) (en banc). Plaintiff also states an Eighth Amendment claim for inhumane conditions of confinement for the conditions she allegedly endured after giving birth. Townsend v. Fuchs, 522 F.3d 765, 773 (7th Cir. 2008).

         Plaintiff, however, does not identify which prison officials were responsible for these deprivations. Plaintiff cannot sue the warden just because he is in charge, and she will need to amend her complaint to include the officials actually responsible for the alleged constitutional violations once she determines their identities. The Court will keep Defendant Austin as a defendant solely for purposes of identifying these individuals. Donald v. Cook Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 95 F.3d 548, 555-56 (7th Cir. 1996) (Court may name high level administrators as defendants for purposes of identifying Doe defendants).

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:

         1. Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court finds that the plaintiff states Eighth Amendment claims for deliberate indifference to serious medical and mental health needs and for inhumane conditions of confinement against Doe defendants. Any additional claims shall not be included in the case, except at the court's discretion on motion by a party for good cause shown or pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.

         2. This case is now in the process of service. The plaintiff is advised to wait until counsel has appeared for the defendants before filing any motions, in order to give the defendants notice and an opportunity to respond to those motions. Motions filed before defendants' counsel has filed an appearance will generally be denied as premature. The plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the court at this time, unless otherwise directed by the court.

         3. The court will attempt service on the defendants by mailing each defendant a waiver of service. The defendants have 60 days from the date the waiver is sent to file an answer. If the defendants have not filed answers or appeared through counsel within 90 days of the entry of this order, the plaintiff may file a motion requesting the status of service. After the defendants have been served, the court will enter an order setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.

         4. With respect to a defendant who no longer works at the address provided by the plaintiff, the entity for whom that defendant worked while at that address shall provide to the clerk said defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be used only for effectuating service. Documentation of forwarding addresses shall be retained only by the clerk and shall not be maintained in the public docket nor disclosed by the clerk.

         5. The defendants shall file an answer within 60 days of the date the waiver is sent by the clerk. A motion to dismiss is not an answer. The answer should include all defenses appropriate under the Federal Rules. The answer and subsequent pleadings shall be to the issues and claims stated in this opinion. In general, an answer sets forth the defendants' positions. The court does not rule on the merits of those positions unless and until a motion is filed by the defendants. Therefore, no response to the answer is necessary or will be considered.

         6. This district uses electronic filing, which means that, after defense counsel has filed an appearance, defense counsel will automatically receive electronic notice of any motion or other paper filed by the plaintiff with the clerk. The plaintiff does not need to mail to defense counsel copies of motions and other papers that the plaintiff has filed with the clerk. However, this does not apply to discovery requests and responses. Discovery requests and responses are not filed with the clerk. The plaintiff must mail his discovery requests and responses directly to defendants' counsel. Discovery requests or responses sent to the clerk will be returned unfiled, unless they are attached to and the subject of ...


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