Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Whitehead v. Shawnee Correctional Center

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 28, 2019

JEFFREY WHITEHEAD, #N84560, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Jeffrey Whitehead, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Shawnee Correctional Center (“Shawnee”), brings this civil rights action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-34). Plaintiff claims that he was denied medical treatment for injuries he sustained by falling from an unsecured step box at Shawnee on September 21, 2018. (Id. at p. 18). Although he filed grievances seeking repair of the step box and compensation for the delay in diagnosing and treating his injuries, Plaintiff's request for compensation was denied. (Id.). He now seeks monetary relief from the prison. (Id. at p. 34).

         The Complaint is 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. 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. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Based on the allegations, the Court finds it convenient to designate a single count in the pro se Complaint:

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Shawnee Correctional Center for delaying Plaintiff's medical treatment for injuries he sustained when he fell from an unsecured step box on September 21, 2018.

         The parties and the Court will use this designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by this Court. Any claim in the Complaint that is not addressed herein should be considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under Twombly.[1]

         Count 1 does not survive preliminary review. Plaintiff names a single defendant in connection with the claim: Shawnee Correctional Center. The prison is not a “person” subject to a suit for money damages under Section 1983. Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). The Eleventh Amendment bars suits against states in federal court for money damages. Wynn v. Southward, 251 F.3d 588, 592 (7th Cir. 2001). The Supreme Court has held that “neither a State nor its officials acting in their official capacities are ‘persons' under § 1983.” Will, 491 U.S. at 71. The IDOC is immune from suit by virtue of the Eleventh Amendment. Billman v. Ind. Dep't of Corr., 56 F.3d 785, 788 (7th Cir. 1995). And, as a division of the IDOC, Shawnee is likewise immune. Count 1 shall therefore be dismissed with prejudice against the prison.

         But even if Plaintiff named a person, such as the prison warden, as a defendant, he would have fared no better. There is no respondeat superior liability in a Section 1983 action. 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)). To be held individually liable, a defendant must be “‘personally responsible for the deprivation of a constitutional right.'” Id. Therefore, Plaintiff must name those individuals who were responsible for the delay or denial of medical care as defendants in the case caption and also set forth allegations describing what each defendant did, or failed to do, to deprive him of a constitutional right. Plaintiff's Complaint and exhibits mention the names of several individuals who may have been responsible for delaying or denying him necessary medical care, but Plaintiff decided not to name them as defendants. When parties are not listed in the caption, this Court will not treat them as defendants, and any claims against them should be considered dismissed without prejudice. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(a) (noting that the title of the complaint “must name all the parties”); Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d 551, 551-52 (7th Cir. 2005) (holding that to be properly considered a party, a defendant must be “specif[ied] in the caption”). All claims against these non-parties should be considered dismissed without prejudice.

         For these reasons, Plaintiff's Complaint shall be dismissed without prejudice. Plaintiff will have an opportunity to file a First Amended Complaint, if he wishes to proceed with this matter. If he chooses to do so, Plaintiff must comply with the deadline and instructions set forth below.


         IT IS ORDERED that the Complaint (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         IT IS ORDERED that COUNT 1 is DISMISSED with prejudice against Defendant SHAWNEE CORRECTIONAL CENTER, and the Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to TERMINATE this defendant as a party in the Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (“CM/ECF”) system.

         Plaintiff is GRANTED leave to file a First Amended Complaint on or before November 29, 2019. The First Amended Complaint is subject to review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         It is strongly recommended that Plaintiff use the civil rights complaint form designed for use in this District. He should label the form “First Amended Complaint” and use the case number for this action (No. 19-cv-00943-NJR). To enable Plaintiff to comply with this Order, the CLERK is DIRECTED to mail Plaintiff a blank civil rights complaint form. An amended complaint generally supersedes and replaces the original complaint, rendering the original complaint void. See Flannery v. Recording Indus. Ass'n of Am., 354 F.3d 632, 638 n. 1 (7th Cir. 2004). The ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.