United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Phillip Bailey, an individual who is currently being held at
Jackson County Jail, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights
while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”). In the Complaint, Bailey alleges
Defendant Trace A. Brown failed to protect him from an inmate
assault. He asserts claims against the defendant under the
Eighth Amendment. Bailey seeks declaratory judgment and
case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the
Complaint 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).
Complaint, Bailey makes the following allegations: On
February 9, 2019, while he was in receiving at Menard, Bailey
had an altercation with Inmate Richard “Tattoo”.
Inmate Richard was handing out food when he heard Bailey make
a comment that angered him. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Sergeant Trace A.
Brown opened Bailey's locked cell door to allow Inmate
Richard into the cell so that he could assault Bailey. Inmate
Richard beat Bailey, and Bailey's cellmate had to
intervene. Sergeant Brown was later charged by Randolph
County for his role in the assault. (Id.). Bailey
did not receive medical treatment until a week later.
on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to designate a single count in this pro
Count 1: Trace A. Brown failed to protect Bailey from
the assault by Inmate Richard in violation of the Eighth
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 other claim that
is mentioned in the Complaint but not
addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed
without prejudice as inadequately pled under
the Twombly pleading
extent that Menard Correctional Center is listed as a party
in Bailey's caption, the correctional center is not a
proper party. The Supreme Court has held that “neither
a State nor its officials acting in their official capacities
are ‘persons' under § 1983.” Will v.
Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
See also Wynn v. Southward, 251 F.3d 588, 592 (7th
Cir.2001)(Eleventh Amendment bars suits against states in
federal court for money damages); Billman v. Ind.
Dep't of Corr., 56 F.3d 785, 788 (7th Cir.1995)
(state Department of Corrections is immune from suit by
virtue of Eleventh Amendment). Thus, Bailey cannot maintain
his claim against Menard because it is a division of the
Illinois Department of Corrections, a state government
agency. Based on this authority, Menard is not a
“person” within the meaning of the Civil Rights
Act and shall be dismissed from this action. See
Will, 491 U.S. at 71.
also identifies Inmate Richard as a defendant. (Doc. 1, p.
2). Section 1983 is only applicable to those acting under
color of law, such as prison officials. See 42
U.S.C. § 1983; Henderson v. Pate, 409 F.2d 507,
508 (7th Cir.1969) (absent any evidence that an
aggressor-inmate was acting under color of law, that inmate
cannot be held liable under Section 1983); See West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49 (1988) (“The traditional
definition of acting under color of state law requires that
the defendant in a § 1983 action have exercised power
‘possessed by virtue of state law and made possible
only because the wrongdoer is clothed with the authority of
state law.'”). There are no allegations in the
Complaint to suggest Inmate Richard was acting under color of
state law when he attacked Bailey. Therefore, Inmate Richard
is DISMISSED with prejudice.
Bailey's Complaint alleges that he was denied medical
treatment and seeks relief from the staff that failed to
treat him. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7). He does not, however, associate
any named Defendant with that claim. As such, his claim
regarding the care he received after the assault is
DISMISSED without prejudice.