United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY GRANTING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN
DISTRICT OF INDIANA
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Proceed in forma pauperis and for screening pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis
[dkt. 2] is granted. Notwithstanding the foregoing ruling,
the filing fee is still accessed. “All [28 U.S.C.]
§ 1915 has ever done is excuse pre-payment of
the docket fees; a litigant remains liable for them, and for
other costs, although poverty may make collection
impossible.” Abdul-Wadood v. Nathan, 91 F.3d
1023, 1025 (7th Cir. 1996).
courts have an obligation under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) to screen complaints before service on the
defendants, and must dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous
or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. Dismissal under the in forma pauperis
statute is an exercise of the Court's discretion.
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 34 (1992). In
determining whether the complaint states a claim, the Court
applies the same standard as when addressing a motion to
dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
See Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th
Cir. 2006). To survive dismissal under federal pleading
[the] 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, 678 (2009). 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).
Marc Brooks brings this action against defendants Nikolas
Layton, Sgt. Steven Parks, and two other unnamed law
enforcement officers. He purports to bring this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and in support of his
claims, alleges the following facts:
21, 2015, Mr. Brooks was riding his bicycle at night on the
street in Indianapolis when he was struck by a car, and the
driver of the car left the scene of the accident without
stopping. Law enforcement officers and emergency medical
personnel arrived at the scene. Mr. Brooks gave a statement
to unnamed law enforcement officers before being taken to the
hospital for treatment of his injuries. No more than three
days later, Mr. Brooks saw the vehicle that struck him parked
at a residence in Indianapolis. Mr. Brooks's final
factual allegation, although difficult to discern, appears to
be that he submitted a complaint or claim for compensation to
the police department regarding the incident on July 21,
2015, and he sent it to the attention of defendant Nikolas
written, Mr. Brooks factual allegations are insufficient to
state a viable § 1983 action against the defendants.
First, to state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution
or laws of the United States and must show that the alleged
deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of
state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights;
instead it is a means for vindicating federal rights
elsewhere conferred. Ledford v. Sullivan, 105 F.3d
354, 356 (7th Cir. 1997) (citing Baker v. McCollan,
443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979)). Therefore, “the first
step in any [§ 1983] claim is to identify the specific
constitutional right infringed.” Albright v.
Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994). Mr. Brooks's
allegations do not establish that any constitutional or other
federal right was infringed, and thus fail to state a viable
§ 1983 claim.
even if the allegations were sufficient to establish the
violation of a constitutional or other federal right, the
claims would be dismissed because Mr. Brooks does not allege
wrong doing on the part of the either defendant. Only persons
who cause or participate in violations are responsible for
them. See Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 656-57 (7th
Cir. 2005); Reed v. McBride, 178 F.3d 849, 851-52
(7th Cir. 1999); Vance v. Peters, 97 F.3d 987,
992-93 (7th Cir. 1996). And Mr. Brooks has failed to allege
any facts showing that Nikolas Layton or Sgt. Steven Parks
personally participated in depriving him of any
as to the defendant unnamed law enforcement officers, claims
against them are also dismissed because “it is
pointless to include [an] anonymous defendant [ ] 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.” Wudtke v. Davel, 128 F.3d
1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 1997) (internal citations omitted).