United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
William C. Lee, Judge United States District Court
Orr, a pro se prisoner, filed an amended complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (DE 17.) “A document filed
pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro
se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held
to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (quotation marks and citations omitted). Nevertheless,
“a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 672 (2009) (quotation marks and
citations omitted). “Threadbare recitals of the
elements of the cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Id. at 678. Thus,
a plaintiff “must do better than putting a few words on
paper that, in the hands of an imaginative reader,
might suggest that something has happened to her
that might be redressed by the law.”
Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 403 (7th
Cir. 2010) (emphasis in original). To state claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege: “(1) that
defendants deprived him of a federal constitutional right;
and (2) that the defendants acted under color of state
law.” Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th
December 15, 2012, Orr was incarcerated at the Indiana State
Prison (“ISP”) and was being housed in the
Administrative Segregation Unit (“D-Unit”). On
this date, Orr was to be segregated from other inmates during
indoor recreation and shower time. Nevertheless, Officer S.
Brown escorted Orr to the showers along with another inmate.
Once the two inmates were uncuffed, a fight broke out between
them in the showers. Orr was stabbed multiple times and he
fell, hitting his head on the concrete floor. Orr alleges
that Officer Brown orchestrated the fight between he and the
other inmate. Orr sues Officer Brown for failing to protect
him against being assaulted.
the Eighth Amendment, “prison officials have a duty to
protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other
prisoners.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
833 (1994) (citations and internal punctuation omitted).
However, “[p]risons are dangerous places. Housing the
most aggressive among us, they place violent people in close
quarters.” McGill v. Duckworth, 944 F.2d 344,
345 (7th Cir. 1991). Therefore, when an inmate is attacked by
another inmate, the Eighth Amendment is violated only if
“deliberate indifference by prison officials
effectively condones the attack by allowing it to happen . .
..” Haley v. Gross, 86 F.3d 630, 640 (7th Cir.
1996). The defendant “must be both aware of facts from
which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of
serious harm exists, and he must draw the inference.”
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. Here, Orr has alleged that
Officer Brown orchestrated and condoned the inmate's
attack on him. That is enough to proceed at this stage.
believes that Officer Brown's deliberate indifference
also constitutes a state law claim for negligence. It does
not. These are two different causes of action. Deliberate
indifference is intentional or reckless conduct, Gayton
v. McCoy, 593 F.3d 610, 620 (7th Cir. 2010), whereas
negligence is more akin to an accident. An intentional act
cannot constitute an accident. Further, Orr has not provided
any factual allegations that demonstrate Officer Brown was
negligent. The only allegations are that Officer Brown
intentionally orchestrated a fight between he and another
inmate. Therefore, as pleaded, Orr has not plausibly stated a
claim for negligence.
Orr has sued three unnamed officers and Howard Morton, the
Assistant Superintendent at ISP, because they were Officer
Brown's supervisors. As a practical matter his case
cannot proceed against any of the unnamed inmates. See
Wudtke v. Davel, 128 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 1997)
(“[I]t is pointless to include lists of anonymous
defendants in federal court; this type of placeholder does
not open the door to relation back under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15, nor
can it otherwise help the plaintiff.”). Moreover, Orr
cannot hold any of these individuals liable as the official
responsible for supervising Officer Brown because there is no
general respondeat superior liability under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and these defendants cannot be held liable
simply because they are supervisors at the prison. Chavez
v. Ill. State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir. 2001);
see also Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 596 (7th
Cir. 2009) (“[P]ublic employees are responsible for
their own misdeeds but not for anyone else's.”).
Therefore, these three defendants must be dismissed.
Orr sues Warden William Wilson and IDOC Commissioner Bruce
Lemmon for “failing to take a more severe disciplinary
action against defendant Brown.” (DE 17 at 15.)
However, Orr does not have a constitutional right to have
Officer Brown punished. Linda R.S. v. Richard D.,
410 U.S. 614 (1973) (“[A] private citizen lacks a
judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution or
nonprosecution of another.”). Thus, these claims must
as a result of the December 2012 altercation between Orr and
the other offender, Orr was charged and convicted of the
prison disciplinary rule of with fighting at the prison. Orr
brings a claim against the investigation officer, Robert
Hough and hearing officer, Officer V. Taylor, for their role
in the disciplinary hearing. He argues that he is not guilty
of that charge, but this is not the proper proceeding to
challenge the prison disciplinary hearing board's finding
because “habeas corpus is the exclusive remedy for a
state prisoner who challenges the fact or duration of his
confinement . . ..” Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477, 481 (1994).
Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641 (1997), the United
States Supreme Court made clear that the principles of
Heck also apply to prison disciplinary cases.
In Heck, this Court held that a state prisoner's
claim for damages is not cognizable under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 if a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would
necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or
sentence, unless the prisoner can demonstrate that the
conviction or sentence has previously been invalidated.
Edwards, 520 U.S. at 643 (citation and quotation
marks omitted). Here, Orr has not even alleged that the
finding of guilt has been invalidated. Because a finding of
liability in this case would inherently undermine the
validity of his disciplinary hearing, he may not proceed with
these claims until that finding is overturned on
administrative appeal or in a habeas corpus proceeding.
Therefore, his claims against Hough and Taylor are dismissed
Orr has filed another motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. (DE 18). He has already been granted
leave to proceed in forma pauperis, (DE 4), and
there is no need to file another motion here.
these reasons, the court:
DENIES as moot the motion for leave to