United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
PHIL GILBERT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Darwin Walters, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), brings this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of
his constitutional rights. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff claims he was
denied timely and adequate medical care for a broken finger
that he sustained at St. Clair County Jail on December 16,
2018. (Id. at pp. 8-9). Numerous officers, nurses,
and doctors at St. Clair County Jail, Menard Correctional
Center, and Shawnee Correctional Center delayed proper
treatment for his injury and caused Plaintiff to suffer
unnecessarily. (Id.). In connection with this claim,
Plaintiff seeks monetary relief against a single defendant:
Officer Jerry. (Id. at p. 7).
Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the Court to
screen prisoner Complaints and filter out non-meritorious
claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of the
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).
on the allegations summarized above, the Court finds it
convenient to designate a single claim in the pro se
Count 1: Defendant denied Plaintiff adequate
medical care for a broken finger he sustained at St. Clair
County Jail on December 16, 2018.
other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not
addressed herein is considered dismissed
without prejudice as inadequately pled under
analytical framework for this claim depends on
Plaintiff's status as a pretrial detainee or prisoner
when his claim against Officer Jerry arose. If he was a
pretrial detainee at the time, the Fourteenth Amendment
governs his claim for the denial of medical care. Currie
v. Chabra, 728 F.3d 626, 628-29 (7th Cir. 2013). If he
was a convicted person, the Eighth Amendment controls.
Id. Although Plaintiff provides insufficient
information to determine his status, this omission is not
fatal to his claim.
the Complaint suffers from a more fundamental defect.
Plaintiff fails to mention Officer Jerry anywhere in the
statement of his claim. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9). The Court is
therefore unable to determine whether any conduct on the part
of Officer Jerry supports a claim against him. Section 1983
creates a cause of action based on personal liability and
predicated upon fault. Pepper v. Village of Oak
Park, 430 F.3d 809, 810 (7th Cir. 2005). An individual
defendant cannot be liable under Section 1983, unless he or
she causes or participates in a constitutional deprivation.
Id. The allegations must at least suggest that the
defendant violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights.
reason that plaintiffs are required to associate specific
defendants with specific claims is so these defendants have
notice of the claims against them and so they can properly
answer the Complaint. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2)
requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” in
order to “‘give the defendant fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Merely
listing a potential defendant's name in the case caption
is not enough to state a claim against that person.
Collins v. Kibort, 143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th Cir.
1998). Because Plaintiff has done just that, Count 1 shall be
dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim
against Officer Jerry.
Complaint does not survive preliminary review and shall be
dismissed. However, Plaintiff will have an opportunity to
re-plead his claim(s) against the defendant(s), if he wishes
to proceed with this action. He is bound by the instructions
and deadlines set forth in the disposition.
Motion for Recruitment of Counsel (Doc. 9) is
DENIED without prejudice. A district court
faced with a request for counsel must consider whether the
indigent plaintiff made a reasonable attempt to obtain
counsel and, if so, whether the plaintiff appears competent
to litigate the case. Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647,
654 (7th Cir. 2007). Plaintiff describes unsuccessful efforts
to locate counsel on his own. Even assuming, without
deciding, that his efforts were reasonable, the Court is not
persuaded that Plaintiff requires court-recruited counsel to
assist him. He has some high school education and presents
his single, straightforward claim and related requests for
relief in coherent, well-drafted pleadings. Plaintiff appears
competent to litigate this matter on his own, by re-pleading
his claims in an amended complaint, preparing motions, and
conducting discovery as the case proceeds. The Court
therefore declines to recruit counsel at this time. Plaintiff
may renew his request, if counsel becomes necessary as the