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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, JOHN DOE #2, JOHN DOE #3, JOHN DOE #4, and JANE DOE #5, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court for preliminary review of the Amended Complaint (Doc. 25) filed by Plaintiff Jerry B. Ezebuiroh on October 21, 2019. Plaintiff, a detainee at Marion County Law Enforcement Center, brings this action for constitutional deprivations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff claims that he was sexually assaulted by a correctional officer on or around June 1, 2019. (Id. at pp. 1-13). He seeks money damages and injunctive relief.[1] (Id.).

         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. 25, pp. 1-13). On or around June 1, 2019, an unknown correctional officer (John Doe 1) fondled Plaintiff's genitals during a pat down search. (Id. at p. 7). When Plaintiff complained to the officer, he told Plaintiff to “deal with it.” (Id.). In June and July 2019, Plaintiff reported the incident to an unknown Safe officer (John Doe 2), Jail administrator (John Doe 3), and detective (John Doe 4), but they allegedly delayed the investigation and ultimately denied him relief. (Id. at pp. 8-9). Plaintiff met with an unknown nurse (Jane Doe 5) to discuss his injuries (i.e., genital pain and redness), but she told him that it “[wa]s to[o] much for her ears” and refused to treat him thereafter. (Id.).

         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 John Doe 1 (correctional officer) for fondling Plaintiff's genitals unnecessarily during a pat down search on or around June 1, 2019.

         Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment claim against John Doe 2 (Safe officer), John Doe 3 (Jail administrator), and John Doe 4 (detective) for delaying, disregarding, and/or denying his grievances and complaints regarding the incident.

         Count 3: Fourteenth Amendment claim against Jane Doe 5 (nurse) for denying Plaintiff medical treatment for the injuries he sustained during the incident.

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

         Counts 1 and 3 survive screening under the Fourteenth Amendment[3] and Section 1915A. See McCann v. Ogle Cty., Illinois, 909 F.3d 881, 886 (7th Cir. 2018) (citing Miranda v. County of Lake, 900 F.3d 335, 352 (7th Cir. 2018)) (articulating legal standards for excessive force and medical claims brought by pretrial detainees). Accordingly, Count 1 shall receive further review against John Doe 1 (officer), and Count 3 shall receive further review against Jane Doe 5 (nurse).

         However, Count 2 does not survive screening. Standing alone, the mishandling of inmate complaints by grievance officials states no constitutional claim. “[A] state's inmate grievance procedures do not give rise to a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause.” Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1430 (7th Cir. 1996). The Constitution requires no procedure at all, and the failure of state prison officials to follow their own procedures does not, of itself, violate the Constitution. Maust v. Headley, 959 F.2d 644, 648 (7th Cir. 1992); Shango v. Jurich, 681 F.2d 1091, 1100-01 (7th Cir. 1982). Count 2 shall be dismissed with prejudice against John Doe 2 (Safe officer), John Doe 3 (Jail administrator), and John Doe 4 (detective) for failure to state a claim.

         Identification of Unknown Defendants

         Plaintiff shall be allowed to proceed with Counts 1 and 3 against John Doe 1 and Jane Doe 5. However, these defendants must be identified with particularity before service of the Amended Complaint can be made on them. Plaintiff will have the opportunity to engage in limited discovery to ascertain the identity of these defendants. Rodriguez, 577 F.3d at 832. The Marion County Sheriff will be added as a defendant, in his or her official capacity only, for purposes of identifying each of the defendants by name. Once their names are discovered, ...


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