United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Omarrion Jones, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently
incarcerated at Dixon Correctional Center
(“Dixon”), brings this action for deprivations of
his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
regarding his medical care and conditions of confinement
while at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”)
original Complaint, First Amended Complaint, and
corresponding motions, filed pro se, were dismissed
for noncompliance with Rule 8 and for failure to state a
claim. See Doc. 14. The Court recruited counsel to
represent Plaintiff, and Plaintiff's Second Amended
Complaint is now 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. 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 fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). The claim must cross “the line between
possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. On
screening, the Court accepts as true all of the well-pleaded
facts in the Second Amended Complaint and draws all
reasonable inferences in favor of Plaintiff. Kubiak v.
City of Chicago, 810 F.3d 476, 480-81 (7th Cir. 2016).
The Court also must consider whether any claims are
improperly joined and subject to severance or dismissal.
See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir.
Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges the following: He
has been diagnosed with mental illnesses, attention
deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, and suicidal
tendencies, and classified for a period of time as Seriously
Mentally Ill. (“SMI”). (Doc. 33, pp. 5, 10).
While at Menard and Dixon, he has been continually placed in
cells with other inmates who are unprepared or ill-equipped
to deal with a person with mental health issues and
disabilities. (Id. at p. 6). As a result, he has had
altercations and violent conflicts with cellmates, and he
injured his shoulder during one conflict. (Id. at p.
6). At one point, Plaintiff asked Mental Health Professional
VanPelt if he could be placed in a single cell. (Id.
at p. 6).
at Menard in June 2018, he became depressed and suicidal.
(Id. at p. 5). On August 30, 2018, he asked gallery
officers and prison staff, “John Does, ” to place
him on crisis watch, but they left him in his general
population cell. (Id. at p. 6). Plaintiff then
attempted suicide with a rope. His cellmate took the rope
away and gave it to the evening nurse, Jane Doe.
(Id.). Jane Doe said she would get help, but no one
intervened or provided care. (Id.). He then
continued to attempt suicide and inflict self-harm that
evening but was not placed in a crisis cell until two in the
was placed in crisis cells for suicidal thoughts from August
31, 2018, until October 26, 2018. (Id.). During the
time he spent in crisis cells 503 and 509, he was subjected
to unconstitutional conditions of confinement. (Id.
at p. 7). The cells were filthy with urine, blood, and feces
on the walls, dirty floors and mattress, and improperly
functioning sinks and toilets. While in cell 509, the light
was left on at all times, and he was exposed to extremely
high heat and low air flow, aggravating his asthma.
(Id. at p. 7). Because of the extreme conditions,
three other inmates in adjacent cells died. Plaintiff
complained to Dr. Leven about the inhumane conditions and his
lack of medical treatment, but she took no action.
(Id. at p. 9).
on crisis watch, Plaintiff had a meeting with Dr. Floreani
and Mental Health Professional Weatherford on September 19,
2018. (Id. at p. 8). Plaintiff told them he was
suicidal. (Id. at pp. 18-19). They responded that
they did not believe him and ordered him to be released from
crisis watch and returned to general population. He returned
to his crisis cell with instructions to be taken off crisis
watch classification and was given back his property.
Plaintiff then attempted suicide by hanging himself with his
shoelaces. (Id. at p. 8).
the incident, Dr. Floreani changed Plaintiff's diagnosis
and medications without explaining the medication and its
side effects. (Id. at p. 9). He was taken off of
Wellbutrin without his knowledge, and all of his requests for
Wellbutrin to be reinstated have been denied. (Id.
at p. 10). Between September and October 2018, Plaintiff was
forced to take medication by Dr. Floreani that caused him to
blackout. (Id. at p. 12).
of the multiple suicide attempts, he suffers from neck and
upper body injuries. (Id. at pp. 6, 9). Plaintiff
was notified that physical therapy appointments would be
scheduled to treat his injuries, but he never received any
treatment for neck and back pain. (Id. at p. 9).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure prohibits a plaintiff
from asserting unrelated claims against different defendants
or sets of defendants in the same lawsuit. Under Rule 20,
multiple defendants may not be joined in a single action
unless the plaintiff asserts at least one claim to relief
against each respondent that arises out of the same
transaction or occurrence or series of transactions or
occurrences and presents a question of law or fact common to
all. George, 507 F.3d at 607; 3A Moore's
Federal Practice § 20.06, at 2036-45 (2d ed.1978).
Rule 18 allows a party to join unrelated claims against
defendants in a lawsuit. Notably, however, this rule applies
only after the requirements for joinder of parties have been
satisfied under Rule 20. Intercon Research Ass'n,
Ltd. v. Dresser Ind., Inc., 696 F.2d 53, 57 (7th Cir.
1983)(citing 7 Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal
Practice & Procedure).
Plaintiff's claims pertaining to his treatment (or lack
thereof) at Menard and Dixon are not properly joined in a
single action. The discretionary actions taken by different
officials at different prisons do not constitute the same
series of transactions and occurrences with questions of fact
common to each of the defendants. The defendants employed at
Menard and those at Dixon have made independent judgments
about Plaintiff's condition, treatment, and grievances as
it appeared to them at the time. As a result, John Baldwin,
former IDOC Director, John Varga, Warden of Dixon, Dr.
Raymond Marquez, psychiatrist at Dixon, and Rob Jeffreys,
current IDOC Director, from whom Plaintiff requests
injunctive relief regarding his current medical treatment at
Dixon, are not properly joined under Rule 20(a)(2), and the
claims against them pertaining to alleged violations that
occurred or are occurring at Dixon do not belong in this
these reasons, the Court exercises its authority under Rule
21 and severs the improperly joined claims. Any claims
directed against Varga, Marquez, Jeffreys, and Baldwin
regarding Plaintiff's treatment at Dixon will be severed
into a separate action. This separate action will have a
newly assigned case number and shall undergo preliminary
review pursuant to Section 1915A after the new case number
and judge assignments have been made.
brings claims against John Does, whom he describes as prison
staff and corrections officers in the North I, Gallery 3 on
August 30, 2018, and Jim Does, described as corrections
officers in the North II, Gallery 5 from on or about August
31, 2018, to September 5, 2018, and September 14, 2018, to
October 25, 2018. (Doc. 33, p. 5). While a plaintiff may use
the “John Doe” designation to refer to specific
individuals whose names are unknown, a plaintiff will run
afoul of the pleading standards in Iqbal and
Twombly by merely asserting that groups of staff
violated his constitutional rights. See Brooks v.
Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 580 (7th Cir. 2009)(citing
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009);
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). When a plaintiff does nothing but state that a group
of corrections officers harmed him without providing more,
all he has done is establish that there is a “sheer
possibility” that someone in that group harmed him.
That is, Plaintiff may not know the name of individual
defendants, but he must describe the “who, what, why,
where, and how” that form the basis of the claim
against that person (e.g. John Doe #1 did X and John
Doe #2 did Y). To allow otherwise would be effectively
allowing Plaintiff to amend his complaint further at will
without review of this Court, a result contrary to both the
local rules and Section 1915A. Although the Complaint does
reference the actions of a Lieutenant, a Sergeant, and three
gallery officers, these individuals are not listed in the
case caption, but grouped in with the description of
“John Does.” See Myles v. United States,
416 F.3d 551, 551-52 (7th Cir. 2005)(to be properly
considered a party a defendant must be “specif[ied] in
the caption”). Because the Complaint neither
individually describes the unknown defendants nor their
conduct, Plaintiff could ascribe any conduct he chooses to
any number of people that occurred at any time during the
relevant time period. For these reasons, Defendants John Does
and Jim Does are dismissed without prejudice. Should
Plaintiff amend his complaint as the case progresses, he must
specifically describe the unconstitutional conduct that any
unknown defendant engaged in and name such defendant in the
any request for injunctive relief against the Menard
Defendants is denied without prejudice as moot, given
Plaintiff's transfer from the facility. Only if Plaintiff
can show a realistic possibility that he would again be
incarcerated at Menard under the conditions described in the
Second Amended Complaint would it be proper for the Court to
consider injunctive relief against those Defendants. See
Maddox v. Love, 655 F.3d 709, 716 (7th Cir. 2011)(citing
Ortiz v. Downey, 561 F.3d 644, 668 (7th Cir. 2009)).
on the allegations in the Second Amended Complaint, the Court
finds it convenient to delineate the claims in this case into
the following twelve Counts:
Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Jane
Doe for failure to protect and deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff's risk of suicide on August 30, 2018.
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim against Dr.
Floreani and Weatherford for failure to protect and
deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's risk of suicide on
September 19, 2018.
Count 3: Eighth Amendment claim against
Jeffreys, Lawrence, Baldwin, Lashbrook, Dr. Leven, Dr.
Goldman, Dr. Floreani, Weatherford, VanPelt, and Pappas for
subjecting Plaintiff to unconstitutional conditions of
confinement while on crisis watch in cell 509 from August 31,
2018, until September 5, 2018, and in cell 503 from September
14, 2018, until October 26, 2018.
Count 4: Fourteenth Amendment claim against
Jeffreys, Lawrence, Baldwin, and Lashbrook for interference
with the grievance process.
Count 5: Violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act claim against
Jeffreys and Lawrence.
Count 6: Eighth Amendment claim against
Jeffreys, Lawrence, Baldwin, Lashbrook, Dr. McShan, Dr.
Goldman, Dr. Gupta, Dr. Glenn, Dr. Floreani, Dr. Leven,
Weatherford, VanPelt, and Pappas for failing to protect
Plaintiff from himself, prison staff, medical providers, and
Count 7: Monell claim against
Jeffreys, Lawrence, Baldwin, and Lashbrook, in their official
capacities, for unconstitutional practices and policies.
Count 8: Eighth Amendment claim against Dr.
McShan, Dr. Goldman, Dr. Gupta, Dr. Floreani, Weatherford,
Dr. Leven, Dr. Glenn, VanPelt, Pappas, and Wexford for
exhibiting deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious
medical needs regarding treatment for his mental illnesses
and related injuries while at Menard.
Count 9: First Amendment claim against Dr.
Floreani for retaliating against Plaintiff by changing his