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Myers v. Indiana Department of Correction

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

May 6, 2015




This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Jason Tye Myers ("Mr. Myers") Verified Motion to Show Cause, in which Mr. Myers has responded to the order to show cause why the action should not be dismissed. It is also before the Court for Screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915A(b).

I. Show Cause

In his response, Mr. Myers has requested that the Court reconsider its ruling on severance of his two claims. Mr. Myers's motion to show cause (Dkt. 9) is GRANTED to the extent that he has presented a sufficient explanation of the timeliness issue. Accordingly, the action will not be dismissed at this time based on the statute of limitations. In addition, the Court has reconsidered its prior ruling on severing the laundry claim.

II. Screening

As noted in the screening Entry of March 30, 2015, however, there are other reasons some claims should be dismissed. The Court shall, therefore, proceed to screen the complaint on other issues. As an initial matter, Plaintiff is reminded that Rule 8(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief...." Therefore, the 19 page memorandum containing legal authority and argument in support of the complaint, (Dkt. 2), is stricken as improper.

As noted in the Entry of March 30, 2015, Mr. Myers is currently incarcerated at the Plainfield Correctional Facility. He brings this civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, alleging that when he was confined at the Correctional Industrial Facility ("CIF") his constitutional rights were violated. He has named nine (9) defendants: 1) the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC"); 2) former Superintendent Donna L. Carneygee; 3) former Assistant Superintendent of Re-Entry Tim Purcell; 4) former Assistant Superintendent of Operations Kathy Griffin; 5) former Facility Policy and Grievance Coordinator Robert Stafford; 6) former Executive Assistant/Legal Liaison/Mailroom Supervisor Ms. Woods; 7) Unknown Party former Department Policy Manager at IDOC; 8) Pen Products Laundry Supervisor Russell Hiatt; and 9) Final Reviewing Authority of Grievance Procedures at IDOC L.A. Vanatta. Mr. Myers sues the defendants in their individual and official capacities. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.

A. Claims Relating to Denial of Access to Courts

Mr. Myers' first claims are a First Amendment claim of denial of access to the courts, a due process Fourteenth Amendment claim, and an Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment claim. These claims are asserted against defendants IDOC, former Superintendent Carneygee, Assistant Superintendent of Re-Entry at CIF Purcell, former Assistant Superintendent of Operations at CIF Griffin, former Facility Policy Coordinator at CIF Stafford, Ms. Woods (former Executive Assistant), and an unknown former Department Policy Manager at IDOC.

1. Allegations

In support of these claims, Mr. Myers alleges that when he was confined at the CIF he filed a civil rights action in Tippecanoe County which was later transferred to Montgomery County and dismissed based on the two year statute of limitations. Mr. Myers filed an appeal of the dismissal of his claim, asserting that a five year statute of limitations should have been applied. He sent a copy of his "appendix" to the state appellate court but failed to provide a copy to counsel for the defendant, so he requested that the clerk of the court return the appendix to him. The clerk of the Indiana Court of Appeals mailed the appendix to Mr. Myers at CIF sometime between September 23, 2010, and September 28, 2010, but Mr. Myers did not receive it. On October 29, 2010, the court ordered Mr. Myers to re-file the appendix within thirty (30) days, but Mr. Myers could not comply "due to fee issues regarding a copy from Montgomery County Clerk, and the failure to deliver the appendix by CIF personnel." Dkt. 1, Complaint, pp. 5-6. The appeal was dismissed on December 14, 2010.

On April 9, 2013, CIF counselor Ms. Rice delivered to Mr. Myers the appendix which had been found by Lt. Poer in his drawer in the C housing unit. The appendix was not in an envelope and the first 14 pages were "[torn] off." Dkt. 1, Complaint, p. 6. Lt. Poer had been recently assigned to C housing unit, and was cleaning out drawers in his assigned area. Lt. Poer did not know how the appendix came to be in the drawer because the drawers had been used for multiple purposes in the past two years. Mr. Myers alleges that Chaplain Smith said that the appendix had been in an inner-facility mail envelope addressed to Ms. Kohn, a former C unit counselor at CIF. Id. Mr. Myers alleges that the appendix had not been delivered to him in accordance with IDOC policies and procedures.

2. Analysis

Any claim for injunctive relief is dismissed as moot because Mr. Myers is no ...

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