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Sanders v. Eales

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 16, 2020

JOHN SANDERS, #S00990, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff John Sanders, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Graham Correctional Center (“Graham”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the alleged denial of mental health treatment by officials at Madison County Jail and Alton City Jail in 2019. (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 8-11). Plaintiff claims that he requested and was denied treatment of an unspecified mental health condition by jail officials who offered him no valid explanation for the denial. (Id.). He seeks money damages against the Madison County Jail Administrator, Madison County Jail Health Care Administrator, and Alton City Jail Administrator. (Id. at p. 7).

         The 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).


         Based on the allegations summarized above, the Court finds it convenient to designate a single claim in the pro se Complaint:

Count 1: Defendants denied Plaintiff mental health treatment in violation of his constitutional rights at Madison County Jail and/or Alton City Jail in 2019.

         Any other claim mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed herein is considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under Twombly.[1]

         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). In order to pursue a Section 1983 claim for money damages against a state actor, a plaintiff must name the individual as a defendant in the action and set forth allegations showing that the defendant caused or participated in a deprivation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights. Id. Plaintiff cannot state a claim against a defendant by merely listing the individual as a party to the action. Collins v. Kibort, 143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th Cir. 1998).

         Plaintiff has done just that. In the case caption and list of defendants, he names three defendants: (1) Madison County Jail Administrator (Captain Eales); (2) Madison County Jail Health Care Administrator; and (3) Alton City Jail Administrator (John Doe). (Doc. 1, pp. 1-2). He does not mention these individuals anywhere in the statement of his claim. Although he attaches grievances filed in connection with this matter, the grievances also do not mention any defendants. The Court has no way to assess whether each defendant acted, or failed to act, in manner that violated Plaintiff's rights.

         Plaintiff must set forth basic allegations describing what each individual did, or failed to do, in violation of his constitutional rights. The reason that he must associate specific defendants with specific claims is to put each defendant on notice of the claims against him or her, so each defendant can properly answer the Complaint. Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 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)). Because Plaintiff has not set forth any allegations against the defendants in the Complaint, Count 1 shall be dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim against them.

         The 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 deadline set forth in the disposition.


         IT IS ORDERED that the Complaint, including COUNT 1, is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to state a claim for relief against Defendants MADISON COUNTY JAIL ADMINISTRATOR (Captain Eales), MADISON COUNTY JAIL HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATOR, and ALTON CITY JAIL ADMINISTRATOR (John Doe).

         Plaintiff is GRANTED leave to file a “First Amended Complaint” on or before February 13, 2020. Should Plaintiff fail to file a First Amended Complaint within the allotted time or consistent with the instructions set forth in this Order, the entire case shall be dismissed with prejudice for failure to comply with a court order and/or for failure to prosecute his claims. Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b); Ladien v. Astrachan, 128 F.3d 1051 (7th Cir. 1997); Johnson v. Kamminga, 34 F.3d 466 (7th Cir. 1994); 28 U.S.C. ยง ...

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