United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING FURTHER
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
Allenn Peterson, an inmate at the New Castle Correctional
Facility, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 alleging that the defendants violated his civil rights
when he was terminated from his prison job. He alleges that
he was terminated from his job as a library clerk because the
computer server had been tampered with even though the
defendants knew that Peterson was not the culprit.
Peterson is a “prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(h), the complaint is subject to the screening
requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). Pursuant to this
statute, “[a] complaint is subject to dismissal for
failure to state a claim if the allegations, taken as true,
show that plaintiff is not entitled to relief.”
Jones v. Bock, 127 S.Ct. 910, 921 (2007). To survive
a motion to dismiss, 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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)
(quotations omitted). “A pleading that offers
‘labels and conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.’ Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]’ devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.’” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)(quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 & 557). Pro se
complaints such as that filed by the plaintiff, are construed
liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers. Erickson, 551 U.S. at
94; Obriecht v. Raemisch, 517 F.3d 489, 491 n.2 (7th
on this screening, certain claims will be dismissed while
others will proceed.
claim that the defendants’ actions violated
Peterson’s equal protection or due process rights under
the Fourteenth Amendment or amounted to employment
discrimination in violation of Title VII of the of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 must be dismissed. First, an inmate has no
due process interest in a prison job. See Lucien v.
DeTella, 141 F.3d 773, 774 (7th Cir. 1998)
(“Classifications of inmates implicate neither liberty
nor property interests. . . .”) (citing Sandin v.
Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995)); Wallace v.
Robinson, 940 F.2d 243, 247 (7th Cir. 1991). With
respect to his Equal Protection and employment discrimination
claims, Peterson has not alleged any facts that would raise
the inference that the termination from his job was based on
his membership in a protected class. See Herro v. City of
Milwaukee, 44 F.3d 550, 552 (7th Cir. 1995) (“A
person bringing an action under the Equal Protection Clause
must show intentional discrimination against him because of
his membership in a particular class, not merely that he was
treated unfairly as an individual.”); McGee v.
Mayo, 211 F. App’x 492, 494 (7th Cir. 2006)
(“He does not suggest that the defendants confined him
to his cell and kept him from working because of his
membership in a protected group, and so his claims of equal
protection and employment discrimination fail.”)
(citing Bennett v. Schmidt, 153 F.3d 516, 518 (7th
Cir. 1998)). The bare allegation that he “was treated
less favorably than similarly situated workers outside his
class” is in sufficient to raise his right to relief
beyond a speculative level.
any claim based on the assertion that the classification
action violated Indiana Department of Correction policy must
be dismissed because Peterson has identified no violation of
his rights based on any alleged policy violation and the
Court can ascertain none. See Thompson v. City of
Chicago, 472 F.3d 444, 454 (7th Cir. 2006) (the
violation of police regulations or even a state law is
completely immaterial as to the question of whether a
violation of the federal constitution has been established).
addition, any state law claim for intentional infliction of
emotional distress must be dismissed. To establish a claim
for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff
must prove that the defendant: (1) intentionally or
recklessly (2) engaged in ‘extreme and
outrageous’ conduct that (3) caused (4) severe
emotional distress. Doe v. Methodist Hospital, 690
N.E.2d 681, 691 (Ind. 1997)). Indiana requires conduct that
is so extreme that it “go[es] beyond all possible
bounds of decency.” Bradley v. Hall, 720
N.E.2d 747, 752-53 (Ind.Ct.App. 1999). “Generally, the
case is one in which the recitation of the facts to an
average member of the community would arouse his resentment
against the actor, and lead him to exclaim,
‘Outrageous!’” Id. Here, Mr.
Peterson has not alleged conduct that “goes beyond all
possible bounds of decency.” His allegations are based
on the alleged termination of his prison job. These are not
circumstances under which a reasonable fact finder would
conclude that the defendants engaged in “extreme and
claim against defendant Keith Butts must also be dismissed
because those claims are based on defendant Butts’
supervisory role as the Superintendent of the New Castle
Correctional Facility, which is not enough to state a §
1983 violation. Crowder v. Lash, 687 F.2d 996, 1006
(7th Cir. 1982); Vance v. Rumsfeld, 701 F.3d 193,
204, 2012 WL 5416500, 10 (7th Cir. 2012) (knowledge of
subordinates’ misconduct is not enough for liability).
claim that defendants Thombleson and French have retaliated
against Peterson for Peterson’s filing of lawsuits
shall proceed. Any claim against defendant Upchurch for
retaliation is dismissed because Peterson does not adequately
allege a chronology of events from which retaliation may
plausibly be inferred.” Zimmerman v. Tribble,
226 F.3d 568, 573 (7th Cir. 2000) (quoting Cain v.
Lane, 857 F.2d 1139, 1143 n.6 (7th Cir. 1988)).
“[A]lleging merely the ultimate fact of retaliation is
insufficient.” Murphy v. Lane, 833 F.2d 106,
108 (7th Cir. 1987). The clerk shall terminate all defendants
except Thombleson and French from the docket.
clerk is designated pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P.
4(c)(3) to issue process to defendants Thombleson and French
in the manner specified by Rule 4(d). Process shall consist
of the complaint, applicable forms (Notice of Lawsuit and
Request for ...