Williams v. Wahner

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Case Number: 
No. 12-1886
Decision Date: 
October 1, 2013
Federal District: 
C.D. Ill.
Reversed and remanded
Dist. Ct. erred in dismissing without leave to amend plaintiff-prisoner’s section 1983 action alleging that defendants-jail officials willfully failed to prevent other inmates from assaulting him, where instant dismissal was based on oral statements made by plaintiff during telephonic “merit-review hearing” that occurred after complaint had been docketed, but before any other filings, except for granting of in forma pauperis petition, had occurred. Dist. Ct. could not dismiss instant case, where Dist. Ct. resolved material factual disputes on oral representations made by plaintiff, under circumstances, where Dist. Ct.’s questions took form of judicial cross-examination designed to elicit admissions from plaintiff. As such, if Dist. Ct. was unclear about any aspect of instant complaint, it should have dismissed it with leave to amend, after giving plaintiff guidance as to areas that needed clarification.