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Cason v. Hare

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 15, 2019

DONNELL CASON, Plaintiff,
v.
MIKE HARE, and MADISON COUNTY JAIL, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Donnell Cason[1] brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights that occurred while he was a pretrial detainee at Madison County Jail. Plaintiff asserts claims related to a strip search, lockdown, and loss of personal property. (Doc. 1). He seeks monetary damages. (Id.).

         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

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint: On May 28, 2019, Sgt. Mike Hare came to the detainee cellblock and told Plaintiff to gather his things. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Hare took Plaintiff to the hallway in front of the cellblock, told him to strip, and threatened him with mace. (Id.). Officers Miller and Schmidt were also present. (Id.). Hare forced Plaintiff to stand naked in front of other inmates. (Id., pp. 6, 10). Hare confiscated Plaintiff's underwear and t-shirt and told him he could not wear or possess clothing that belonged to other inmates. (Id.). Later, Plaintiff was placed on lockdown without a ticket or any disciplinary action. (Id., p. 6).

         Preliminary Dismissals

         Madison County Jail

         Plaintiff named Madison County Jail (“the Jail”) as a defendant. However, the Jail is not a “person” subject to suit under Section 1983. Smith v. Knox Cnty. Jail, 666 F.3d 1037, 1040 (7th Cir. 2012); Powell v. Cook Cnty. Jail, 814 F.Supp. 757, 758 (N.D. Ill. 1993). The Jail is not even a legal entity. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17, a defendant must have the legal capacity to be sued. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 17(b). When determining whether an entity has this capacity, federal courts look to state law. Magnuson v. Cassarella, 812 F.Supp. 824, 827 (N.D. Ill. 1992). The Jail is not considered a suable entity under Illinois law. Isaacs v. St. Clair Cnty. Jail, No. 08-0417-DRH, 2009 WL 211158, at *3-4 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 29, 2009); Hedger v. HCP, No. 18-cv-2081-JPG, 2019 WL 117986, at *2 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 7, 2019). Accordingly, Madison County Jail is dismissed with prejudice.

         Miller and Shmidt

         Plaintiff makes allegations against Miller and Shmidt, but these individuals are not identified as defendants in the case caption. The Court will not treat individuals not listed in the caption as defendants, and any claims against Miller and Shmidt are considered dismissed without prejudice. 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 specified in the caption).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to designate the following counts:

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Hare for the strip search on May 28, 2019 that was conducted in a harassing or humiliating manner.[2]
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment property loss claim against Hare for confiscating Plaintiff's ...

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