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Donald v. Warden

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 5, 2019

CAREY B. DONALD, #M33774, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, and CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Carey B. Donald, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff asserts a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need and seeks monetary damages. (Doc. 1).

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the Court to screen prisoner Complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of the Complaint that is legally frivolous, 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).

         The Complaint includes a one paragraph statement of claim. Plaintiff alleges he has a right to weekly Procrit injections prescribed for him, but the injections have not been provided. (Doc. 1, p. 17). Based on the exhibits attached to the Complaint, it appears that some weekly shots were not given as prescribed. (Id., p. 15). Plaintiff has not, however, alleged what role the Warden, Medical Director, or Chief Administrative Officer played in his medical care. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, the Complaint must include a short, plain statement of the case against each individual. Merely naming a party in the caption of a Complaint is not enough to state a claim against him. Collins v. Kibort, 143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th Cir. 1998). In other words, Plaintiffs are required to associate specific defendants with specific claims, so that defendants are put on notice of the claims brought against them and so they can properly answer the Complaint. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         Additionally, because Plaintiff failed to allege specific acts of wrongdoing by the Warden, Medical Director, and CAO, the personal involvement requirement necessary for Section 1983 liability is not met. Gentry v. Duckworth, 65 F.3d 555, 561 (7th Cir. 1995). They cannot be held liable based solely on their positions as administrators as the doctrine of respondeat superior does not apply to section 1983 actions. Chavez v. Illinois State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (2001); Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 740 (7th Cir. 2001). Accordingly, the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and will be DISMISSED without prejudice.

         Motion for Recruitment of Counsel

         Civil litigants do not have a constitutional or statutory right to counsel. Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 649 (7th Cir. 2007). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), however, the Court has discretion to recruit counsel to represent indigent litigants in appropriate cases. Johnson v. Doughty, 433 F.3d 1001, 1006 (7th Cir. 2006). When deciding whether to recruit counsel for an indigent litigant, the Court must consider (1) whether the indigent plaintiff has made reasonable attempts to secure counsel on his own, and, if so, (2) whether the difficulty of the case exceeds the plaintiff's capacity as a layperson to coherently present it. Navejar v. Iyiola, 718 F.3d 692, 696 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Pruitt, 503 F.3d at 654).

         Plaintiff discloses no efforts to locate counsel on his own and, therefore, his request for recruitment of counsel is premature. Plaintiff may renew his request for counsel at any time during the pending action, after first attempting to locate counsel on his own. If Plaintiff does renew his request, he should give the Court rejection letters from at least three attorneys to prove that he has made reasonable efforts to obtain counsel on his own. For the reasons stated, the Motion for Recruitment of Counsel (Doc. 3) is DENIED without prejudice.

         Disposition

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this matter does not survive 28 U.S.C. § 1915A review, and the Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion for Recruitment of Counsel (Doc. 3) is DENIED without prejudice.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff is GRANTED leave to file a First Amended Complaint on or before December 5, 2019. Should Plaintiff decide to file a First Amended Complaint, he 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 constitutional rights. A successful complaint generally alleges “the who, what, when, where, and how ....” DiLeo v. Ernst & Young, 901 F.2d 624, 627 (7th Cir. 1990). Plaintiff should attempt to include the relevant facts of his case in chronological order, inserting each defendant's name where necessary to identify the actors and each defendant's actions. The First Amended Complaint should comply with Rule 8 and Twombly pleading standards.

         If Plaintiff fails to file his First Amended Complaint within the allotted time or consistent with the instructions set forth in this Order, the entire case shall be dismissed with prejudice for failure to comply with a court order and/or for failure to prosecute his claims. Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b); Ladien v. Astrachan, 128 F.3d 1051 (7th Cir. 1997); Johnson v. Kamminga, 34 F.3d 466 (7th Cir. 1994); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The dismissal shall count as one of Plaintiff's three allotted “strikes” under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).

         An amended complaint 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 Court will not accept piecemeal amendments to the original Complaint. Thus, the First Amended Complaint must stand on its own, without reference to any previous pleading, and Plaintiff must re-file any relevant exhibits ...


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