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Wade v. Anderson

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 12, 2019

DEVIN WADE, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
VINCE ANDERSON and JOHN DOE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Devin Wade, Jr., an inmate at St. Clair County Jail, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for constitutional deprivations that occurred during his arrest in East St. Louis, Illinois, on August 30, 2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-6). Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment, money damages, and unspecified “Rule 65” injunctive relief.[1] (Id. at pp. 1, 4).

         The Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, [2]which requires the Court to screen prisoner complaints and filter out non-meritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a complaint that is legally frivolous or 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). At this juncture, the factual allegations are liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         In the Complaint, Plaintiff makes the following allegations: On or around August 30, 2017, Officers Vince Anderson and John Doe (an unknown officer) entered the home of Plaintiff's relative through an open door-without a warrant, consent, or exigent circumstances. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-3). With guns drawn, the officers searched the home and seized two firearms. (Id. at p. 2). They coerced Plaintiff's grandmother into signing an unidentified document in the process. (Id. at p. 3).

         As this occurred, Plaintiff stood in the living room with his hands up. (Id. at p. 2). Officer Doe “slammed” Plaintiff in his face and chest until he dropped to the ground. (Id.). With his knee against Plaintiff's neck, Officer Doe threatened to “blow [Plaintiff's] head off” if he moved. (Id.). Plaintiff called for help, but Officer Anderson stood by and “allowed the abuse to continue.” (Id. at p. 3). Plaintiff was taken into custody and released without being charged. (Id.). He suffered neck and shoulder pain following the incident, as well as anxiety and fear. (Id.).

         Based on the allegations, the Court finds it convenient to organize the pro se Complaint into the following enumerated Counts:

Count 1: Fourth Amendment claim against Defendants for the unlawful search, seizure, and arrest of Plaintiff on August 30, 2017.
Count 2: Fourth Amendment claim against Defendants for the unlawful use of force against Plaintiff during his arrest on or around August 30, 2017.
Count 3: Fourth amendment claim against Defendants for denying Plaintiff medical care for the physical and emotional injuries he suffered on August 30, 2017.

         Any claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed herein is considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under Twombly.[3]

         Counts 1 and 2 survive screening under Section 1915A, but Count 3 does not. With respect to Count 3, the objectively unreasonable denial of medical care by an officer or jailer supports a Fourth Amendment claim of an arrestee. Currie v. Chhabra, 728 F.3d 626, 629-30 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Villanova v. Abrams, 972 F.2d 792, 797 (7th Cir. 1992)). However, this claim-like all others brought pursuant to Section 1983-hinges on personal liability and is predicated upon fault. Pepper v. Village of Oak Park, 430 F.3d 809, 810 (7th Cir. 2005). Plaintiff sets forth no allegations suggesting that either defendant was personally responsible for the denial of his medical care or mental health treatment on or after August 30, 2017. He discloses no efforts to notify the defendants of his shoulder, neck, or emotional injuries. He makes no claim that his injuries were obvious or that he requested medical attention from the defendants. The allegations thus support no claim against the defendants for the denial of medical care, and Count 3 shall be dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim.

         Identification of Unknown Defendant

         Plaintiff shall be allowed to proceed with Counts 1 and 2 against Officer John Doe. However, this defendant must be identified with particularity before service of the Complaint can be made on the officer. Plaintiff will have the opportunity to engage in limited discovery to ascertain the identity of this defendant. Rodriguez, 577 F.3d at 832. The Chief of Police of East St. Louis Police Department will be added as a defendant, in his or her official capacity only, and shall be responsible for responding to discovery aimed at identifying the unknown defendant. Once the name is discovered, ...


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