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Case Law Update: Joinder in 1983 Action

Askew v. Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, No. 07-2190 (5/18/09) is a Seventh Circuit decision that found that the district court erred in dismissing with prejudice under Rule 19 plaintiff-prisoner’s section 1983 action alleging that defendants-prison official and Sheriff violated his constitutional rights by subjecting him to excessive force and by being deliberately indifferent to attacks made by other prisoners after finding that plaintiff’s failure to included Cook County as indispensable party required dismissal of instant action. While Cook County was indispensable party, Dist. Ct. should have ordered its joinder as additional defendant under Rule 19(a)(2) and should have proceeded to merits of case. However, plaintiff waived issue with respect to joinder of Cook County by incorrectly conceding that Dist. Ct. properly dismissed his lawsuit against Sheriff in his official capacity, and thus plaintiff can only proceed against individual prison official upon remand of case back to Dist. Ct. This case will affect lawsuits in Chicago, Illinois.