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Loy v. Scott

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

December 11, 2019

JOHN LOY, Plaintiff,
GREGG SCOTT, et al., Defendant



         The pro se Plaintiff is detained in the Rushville Treatment and Detention Center and seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). [3]. The “privilege to proceed without posting security for costs and fees is reserved to the many truly impoverished litigants who, within the District Court's sound discretion, would remain without legal remedy if such privilege were not afforded to them.” Brewster v. North Am. Van Lines, Inc., 461 F.2d 649, 651 (7th Cir. 1972). Additionally, a court must dismiss cases proceeding IFP “at any time” if the action is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim, even if part of the filing fee is paid. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d)(2). Accordingly, this Court grants leave to proceed IFP only if the allegations state a federal claim for relief.

         In reviewing the Complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in Plaintiff's favor. See Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7thCir. 2103). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to "'state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'" Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(citation omitted).

         Plaintiff claims his constitutional rights were violated at Rushville Treatment and Detention Center by Program Director Greg Scott, Grievance Examiner P. Vincent, Grievance Examiner Sandra Simpson, Program Administrator Sharon Coleman Weems, Secretary Grace B. Hou, and unspecified Jane and John Does.

         Plaintiff says on June 8, 2019, he fell off the top of a bunk bed hitting his head on a box. Plaintiff suffered a cut to his head and injuries to his left knee, hip, and arm. As a result, Plaintiff suffers with constant pain in his left arm and forehead. Plaintiff also claims he is “showing signs of post- traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, panic attacks, elevated blood pressure, weight loss, and the sound of static electricity in left ear.” (Comp., p. 4). Plaintiff does not indicate whether he sought or received medical care after the fall.

         Plaintiff says because of his age and “physical disability, ” he should never have been assigned to a top bunk. (Comp., p. 4). Unfortunately, Plaintiff does not provide his age or his specific disability. In addition, Plaintiff does not state whether he ever requested a lower bunk permit.

         Nonetheless, Plaintiff says he was forced to remain in the top bunk after his injury even though there was an empty room nearby. Plaintiff claims he had to climb into the top bunk at least 15 times a day with a sore hip, knee, and broken arm.

         Plaintiff further alleges there is a history at Rushville of requiring older or disabled residents to take the top bunk resulting in dangerous falls. Therefore, Plaintiff claims the Defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his health and safety. Plaintiff requests damages, a safer way to access top bunks, and a transfer to a mental health facility due to his fear of retaliation.

         Plaintiff's complaint only mentions the Defendants in the list of intended Defendants. (Comp, p. 2); see Potter v Clark, 497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir. 1974)(“Where a complaint alleges no specific act or conduct on the part of the defendant and the complaint is silent as to the defendant except for his name appearing in the caption, the complaint is properly dismissed, even under the liberal construction to be given pro se complaints.”). Plaintiff makes one general reference to “defendants” in the body of his complaint, but Plaintiff does not explain how each individual was specifically involved in his claims.

         In order to hold any individual liable pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§1983, Plaintiff must allege “the defendants were personally responsible for the deprivation of their rights.” Wilson v. Warren Cty., Illinois, 2016 WL 3878215, at *3 (7th Cir. 2016). “A defendant is personally responsible ‘if the conduct causing the constitutional deprivation occurs at his direction or with his knowledge and consent.'” Id. quoting Gentry v. Duckworth, 65 F.3d 555, 561 (7th Cir. 1995).

         In addition, an individual cannot be held liable simply because he or she is a supervisor. See Ali v. West, 2017 WL 176304, at *3 (E.D.Wis. Jan. 17, 2017)(“[b]ecause personal involvement is required for liability to attach, the respondeat superior doctrine- supervisor liability-is not applicable to Section 1983 actions.”); Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 740 (7th Cir. 2001)(“The doctrine of respondeat superior does not apply to § 1983 actions…”).

         Therefore, Plaintiff's complaint is insufficient to state a claim against any of the named Defendants. In addition, Plaintiff cannot include an unspecified number of Jane or John Doe Defendants without providing any additional information. Plaintiff may include a Doe Defendant if Plaintiff states how that individual was involved in his claim and he provides at least some description of that individual such as a physical description or job title and working hours.

         Plaintiff's complaint is therefore dismissed as a violation of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court will allow Plaintiff an opportunity to file an amended complaint clarifying his claims. Plaintiff's amended complaint must stand complete on its own, must not make reference to the original complaint, and must include any intended claims and Defendants.

         For any named Defendant, Plaintiff must specifically state how the individual was involved in his claims. In addition, if Plaintiff complained about his bunk bed assignment either before or after the fall, Plaintiff should state who he complained to, how he complained, when he complained, and what reaction he received. Plaintiff should ...

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