United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
WILLIAM M. CONLEY DISTRICT JUDGE.
Dana Hyche brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against defendants, the State of Wisconsin and the Dane
County Jail. Hyche claims that the drinking water at the Dane
County Jail violates his constitutional and state law rights.
The complaint is now before the court for screening pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. After review, the court concludes
that while plaintiff has articulated Fourteenth Amendment due
process and state law negligence claims related to the
environmental hazards at the jail, he will be required to
file an amended complaint that names a proper defendant to
OF FACT 
April 29, 2017, plaintiff Dana Hyche was held at the Dane
County Jail in the “old jail level 7-11-H.” He
alleges that while he was there, a sign was posted that
directed inmates to “run drinking water 2 minutes
before drinking.” Hyche followed the directions on the
notice, but he was never able to draw cold water from the
tap. Additionally, Hyche noticed particles floating in the
water. Hyche was transferred to another level, “7-10-H,
” where the water had the same problem. Hyche claims
that he filed a grievance about the water, and was told that
95 percent of the water was clean, and 5 percent was tainted.
As to the 5 percent, Hyche was told that they were
“working on it.”
plaintiff indicated on the form complaint that he is suing
under state law, his allegations implicate both
constitutional and state law claims. As to his constitutional
claim, plaintiff does not explain whether he was a pretrial
detainee or a convicted prisoner during the relevant time
period, which is relevant to the legal standard that applies
to his claims. If he is a detainee, his claims are governed
by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; if he
is a prisoner, then his claim is governed by the Eighth
Amendment. Smith v. Dart, 803 F.3d 304, 309-10 (7th
Cir. 2015). Historically, the Seventh Circuit has applied the
Eighth Amendment standard to detainee's constitutional
claims related to conditions of confinement, but it recently
changed course based on the Supreme Court's reasoning in
Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466 (2015), that
excessive force claims by pretrial detainees are governed by
the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Id. at 2475. Specifically, in Miranda v. Cty. of
Lake, 900 F.3d 335 (7th Cir. 2018), the Seventh Circuit
extended the holding in Kingsley to medical care claims.
Id. at 352-53. Given that a prisoner's medical
care is just one subset of a conditions of confinement claim,
it is reasonable to infer that Kingsley applies with equal
force to the type of conditions of confinement claims
plaintiff outlines here. Indeed, other courts in this circuit
have assumed the same. See Moore v. Germaine, No.
18-cv-01378-JPG, 2018 WL 4027575, at *2 (S.D. Ill. Aug. 23,
2018) (screening pretrial detainee conditions of confinement
claim under Fourteenth Amendment standard, citing Miranda);
McWilliams v. Cook Cty., No. 15 C 53, 2018 WL
3970145, at *5 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 20, 2018)
(“Miranda's logic reaches the broader genus of
conditions of confinement claims, of which medical treatment
claims are merely a species.”) (citation omitted).
under Kingsley and Miranda, the failure to provide adequate
conditions of confinement violates the Due Process Clause if:
(1) the defendants acted with purposeful, knowing, or
reckless disregard of the consequences of their actions; and
(2) the defendants' conduct was objectively unreasonable.
Miranda, 900 F.3d at 352-53. While it is not enough to show
negligence, the plaintiff is not required to prove the
defendant's subjective awareness that the conduct was
unreasonable. Id. at 353. Plaintiff's complaint
is about the lack of clean drinking water, and it is
reasonable to infer that jail employees have exhibited
deliberate indifference to that condition in failing to take
steps to provide him with drinkable water. It is similarly
reasonable to infer that these allegations state a claim for
negligence under Wisconsin law. See Paul v. Skemp,
2001 WI 42, ¶ 17, 242 Wis.2d 507, 625 N.W.2d 860.
plaintiff may not proceed at this time because he has not
identified a proper defendant. The State of Wisconsin is not
implicated by plaintiff's allegations because Dane
County, not the state, administers the jail, and plaintiff
does not include any allegations suggesting that any state
employee has been involved in administering the jail.
Additionally, the “Dane County Jail” is not a
suable entity for purposes of § 1983 since jail is a
building and cannot be sued because it cannot accept service
of the complaint. Smith v. Knox County Jail, 666
F.3d 1037, 1040 (7th Cir. 2012).
the court is dismissing plaintiff's complaint without
prejudice. Since the court lacks the authority to amend
plaintiff's complaint for him to substitute a proper
defendant, see Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d 551,
551 (7th Cir. 2005), if plaintiff wants to proceed on his
claims in this lawsuit, he will need to file an amended
complaint that identifies a proper defendant. Such a
defendant would include any jail employee that knew that
plaintiff did not have access to clean and safe water and
failed to take reasonable steps to ensure he had access to
clean water. Minix v. Canarecci, 597 F.3d 824,
833-34 (7th Cir. 2010) (“[I]ndividual liability under
§ 1983 requires personal involvement in the alleged
constitutional deprivation.”). If plaintiff does not
know the identities of such person or persons, he may amend
his complaint and identify the defendant or defendant by the
name “Jane Doe” or “John Doe” as
appropriate. Should plaintiff take that approach, the court
will screen his complaint and plaintiff will then be afforded
the opportunity to conduct discovery that will help him
identify and substitute the proper defendants.
Plaintiff Dana Hyche's complaint is DISMISSED without
prejudice for failure to identify a proper defendant.
Plaintiff may have until May 16, 2019, to submit an amended
complaint that identifies a suable person or entity for
purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. If plaintiff fails to
respond by that deadline, then this case will be dismissed
with prejudice for failure to prosecute.