United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DISMISSING COMPLAINT
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE
Anthony W. Reed, an inmate at Putnamville Correctional
Facility, filed this civil action for incidents that occurred
while Reed was incarcerated at the Hamilton County Jail. Reed
alleges that the defendants Mark Bowen, Jason Sloderbeck, Lt.
Benson, J. Miller, Cindy Gitman and Jane Doe violated his
constitutional rights in a variety of ways.
complaint is subject to the screening requirement of 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b). This statute directs that the Court
dismiss a complaint or any claim within a complaint which
“(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” Id. To satisfy the notice-pleading
standard of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
complaint must provide a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,
” which is sufficient to provide the defendant with
“fair notice” of the claim and its basis.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per
curiam) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) and quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
the standards set forth above the following claims or
defendants must be dismissed.
Reed's claims against defendant J. Miller are dismissed
for failure to state a claim. To prevail on his First
Amendment retaliation claim, a plaintiff must show that
“(1) he engaged in activity protected by the First
Amendment; (2) he suffered a deprivation that would likely
deter First Amendment activity in the future; and (3) the
First Amendment activity was ‘at least a motivating
factor' in the Defendants' decision to take the
retaliatory action.” Bridges v. Gilbert, 557
F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009); see Mays v.
Springborn, 719 F.3d 631, 635 (7th Cir. 2013). The
plaintiff has not met this criteria. Here, the plaintiff
engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment:
litigation against the defendants. And in response, the
defendant allegedly disposed of Reed's legal papers.
However, this is not a deprivation that would likely deter
his First Amendment activity in the future, as evidenced by
this complaint. This isolated act is not the sort of action
that the Court finds would deter a person of ordinary
firmness from participating in First Amendment activity.
Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 552 (7th Cir.
2009). This claim is dismissed.
Reed's Eighth Amendment claims against defendants Benson,
Sloderbeck, and Bowen are dismissed for failure to state a
claim. Here, the plaintiff's alleges that he was placed
with two other inmates in a double-cell for up to twenty
hours per day and exposed to inadequate cleaning supplies
that made his nose run, and caused him to suffer from intense
itching on his face.
claim that any of the conduct alleged in the complaint
violated the Eighth Amendment's proscription against the
imposition of cruel and unusual punishments is dismissed
because conditions of confinement may rise to the level of a
constitutional violation only if those conditions involved
the deprivation of a single identifiable human need or the
denial of the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities. Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298305
(1991). Nothing in the complaint's allegations remotely
suggests such a deprivation. Duran v. Elrod, 760
F.2d 756 (7th Cir. 1985) (“The conditions of
imprisonment, whether of pretrial detainees or of convicted
criminals, do not reach even the threshold of constitutional
concern until a showing is made of ‘genuine privations
and hardship over an extended period of
time.'”)(quoting Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S.
520, 542 (1979)). See also Carroll v. DeTella, 255
F.3d 470, 473 (7th Cir. 2001) (“[F]ailing to provide a
maximally safe environment, one completely free from
pollution or safety hazards, is not [cruel and unusual
punishment].”); McNeil v. Lane, 16 F.3d 123,
125 (7th Cir. 1993) (inmate's exposure to moderate levels
of environmental contaminants did not violate the Eighth
Amendment, because such exposure “is a common fact of
contemporary life and cannot, under contemporary standards,
be considered cruel and unusual”).
Reed's claims against defendants Bowen, Sloderback and
the Hamilton County Jail for denial of access are dismissed
for failure to state a claim. He alleges he was denied access
to the law library by the defendants, but when he was finally
able to use the law library, the equipment was outdated. This
claim is frivolous.
have a fundamental right of access to the courts that prisons
must facilitate by providing legal assistance. Bounds v.
Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 97 S.Ct. 1491, 52 L.Ed.2d 72
(1977). The right of access, however, is not “an
abstract freestanding right to a law library or legal
assistance.” Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343,
351, 116 S.Ct. 2174, 135 L.Ed.2d 606 (1996). To
satisfactorily state a claim for an infringement of the right
of access, prisoners must also allege an actual injury.
Casey, 518 U.S. at 353; Ortiz v. Downey,
561 F.3d 664, 671 (7th Cir. 2009) (“That right [to
access courts] is violated when a prisoner is deprived of
such access and suffers actual injury as a result.”).
to access-to-courts claim exists only if a prisoner is
unreasonably prevented from presenting legitimate grievances
to a court; various resources, documents, and supplies merely
provide the instruments for reasonable access, and are not
protected in and of themselves. Thus, when a plaintiff
alleges a denial of the right to access-to-courts, he must
usually plead specific prejudice to state a claim, such as by
alleging that he missed court deadlines, failed to make
timely filing, or that legitimate claims were dismissed
because of the denial of reasonable access to legal
resources. Ortloff v. United States, 335 F.3d 652,
656 (7th Cir. 2003) (general allegations that destruction of
legal papers prejudiced pending lawsuits did not state a
Reed's claims against the unknown Jane Doe defendant are
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted 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). Bringing
suit against unnamed, or “Jane Doe, ” defendants
in federal court is generally disfavored by the Seventh
Finally, Reed's Eighth Amendment claim that that his
constitutional rights were violated by being served sugary
and salty snacks is dismissed for failure to state a claim.
In evaluating an Eighth Amendment claim, Courts conduct both
an objective and a subjective inquiry. Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834, 114 S.Ct. 1970, 128 L.Ed.2d
811 (1994). The objective prong asks whether the alleged
deprivation is “sufficiently serious” so that
“a prison official's act results in the denial of
the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities.” Id. Inmates are entitled to be
provided with adequate food, clothing, shelter, bedding,
hygiene materials, and sanitation. Knight v.
Wiseman, 590 F.3d 458, 463 (7th Cir. 2009). “[T]he
Constitution does not mandate comfortable prisons, ”
Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 349, 101 S.Ct.
2392, 69 L.Ed.2d 59 (1981), and inmates can't expect the
“amenities, conveniences, and services of a good
hotel.” Harris v. Fleming, 839 F.2d 1232, 1235
(7th Cir. 1988). Inmates are entitled to a nutritionally
adequate diet, but not to food that is tasty, hot, or even
appetizing. Lunsford v. Bennett, 17 F.3d 1574, 1578
(7th Cir. 1994). Reed does not allege he has been deprived of
an adequate diet, or that he suffered an injury from the food
he was served. The types of snacks Reed received while at the
Hamilton County Jail is not the type of severe deprivation
that amounts to a constitutional deprivation.
complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim. He shall
have October 3, 2016, in which to show cause why Judgment
consistent with this Entry should not issue. See Luevano
v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,722 F.3d 1014, 1022 (7th Cir.
2013) (“Without at least an opportunity to amend or to
respond to an order to show cause, an IFP applicant's
case could be tossed out of court without giving the