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Ezebuiroh v. Doe

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 20, 2019

JERRY B. EZEBUIROH, #19059152, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN DOE #1, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. Phil Gilbert United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court for preliminary review of the Amended Complaint (Doc. 23) filed by Plaintiff Jerry B. Ezebuiroh on December 16, 2019. Plaintiff, a detainee at Marion County Law Enforcement Center, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to challenge the conditions of his confinement at Marion County Law Enforcement Center. (Id. at pp. 1-8). Plaintiff seeks money damages and injunctive relief.[1] (Id. at p. 9).

         The Amended Complaint is subject to review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the Court to screen prisoner complaints and 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).

         Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Amended Complaint (Doc. 23, pp. 1-8): Plaintiff has been detained at Marion County Law Enforcement Center since July 27, 2019. (Id. at pp. 6-8). Since then, he has been housed in a holding cell that is smeared with feces and infested with mice. (Id.). He has been allowed four showers in four months, and his cell has no running water. (Id.). Plaintiff has also been forced to sleep on a moldy mat and eat on a food tray from the “sick floor.” (Id.).

         Plaintiff attempted to address these conditions by speaking directly to Jail Administrator John Doe. (Id. at pp. 4-5). He also filed written grievances with Doe. In response, Doe instructed his employees to “find a blind spot [and] trash [Plaintiff's] grievance[s].” (Id. at p. 5). Plaintiff also got his “ass beat” for complaining. (Id. at p. 4).

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

Count 1: Fourteenth Amendment claim against Jail Administrator Doe for subjecting Plaintiff to unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment claim against Jail Administrator Doe for subjecting Plaintiff to the unauthorized use of force when he complained about the conditions of his confinement.
Count 3: First Amendment claim against Jail Administrator Doe for retaliating against Plaintiff when he complained about the conditions of his confinement by subjecting him to the unauthorized use of force.

         Any claim that is mentioned in the Amended Complaint but not addressed herein is considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under Twombly.[2]

         Plaintiff appears to be a pretrial detainee, so his claims in Counts 1 and 2 are analyzed under the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause. The Fourteenth Amendment entitles him to more robust protections than the Eighth Amendment. However, Count 1 survives screening under either standard. See Hardeman v. Curran, 933 F.3d 816, 823 (7th Cir. 2019) (articulating different standards for conditions claims brought by pretrial detainees and prisoners). This claim shall receive further review against Jail Administrator John Doe.

         Counts 2 and 3 do not survive preliminary review because Plaintiff does not allege that Jail Administrator Doe was involved in either constitutional deprivation. Section 1983 “creates a cause of action based on personal liability and predicated upon fault; thus liability does not attach unless the individual defendant caused or participated in a constitutional violation.” Vance v. Peters, 97 F.3d 987, 991 (7th Cir. 1996). Plaintiff must make plausible allegations against an individual, and he has failed to do so in connection with either of these claims. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (2007). Accordingly, Counts 2 and 3 shall be dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim.

         Identification of ...


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