United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING COMPLAINT, SEVERING MISJOINED
CLAIMS, AND DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
Michael Dewayne Hickingbottom, an inmate at the New Castle
Correctional Facility, brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the defendants violated his
constitutional rights when they exercised excessive force
against him and displayed deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs.
Screening of the Complaint
Hickingbottom 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). 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 Cir. 2008).
claims that defendants Lieutenant Reece, Sergeant Hobbs, and
Officers Shelton, Mozo, and Becker subjected him to
unconstitutionally excessive force by attacking and injuring
him when he was not resisting. This claim shall proceed as a
claim that these defendants violated Hickingbottom’s
Eighth Amendment right to be free of cruel and unusual
Severance of Misjoined Claims
also alleges in his complaint that he has not received and
still is not receiving adequate medical care for his
injuries. These claims must be severed from the claim for
George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007),
the Court of Appeals explained that “[u]nrelated claims
against different defendants belong in different
suits.” Rule 18 allows joinder of multiple parties only
when the allegations against them involve the same conduct or
transaction and common questions of fact and law as to all
defendants. Here, the claims of excessive force and the
claims of inadequate medical care relate to different actions
by different parties and are for this reason improperly
a situation, “[t]he court may . . . sever any claim
against a party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 21. Generally, if a
district court finds that a plaintiff has misjoined parties,
the court should sever those parties or claims, allowing
those grievances to continue in spin-off actions, rather than
dismiss them. Elmore v. Henderson, 227 F.3d 1009,
1012 (7th Cir. 2000). That is the remedy which will be
applied to the complaint.
with the foregoing, the claims against Keith Butts, Dr.
Hippel, Nurse Johnson, Nurse Womack, Ms. Miller, and John Doe
Eye Doctor are severed from the original complaint.
Therefore, one new civil action from the Indianapolis
Division shall be opened, consistent with the following:
a. Michael Dewayne Hickingbottom shall be the plaintiff the
newly opened action.
b. The Nature of Suit in the newly opened action shall be
c. The Cause of Action of the newly opened action shall be
d. The complaint in this action shall be filed and
re-docketed as the complaint in the newly opened action.
Hickingbottom’s request to proceed in forma
pauperis shall likewise be filed ...