United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
T. MOODY, JUDGE
Martin, a pro se prisoner, filed an amended complaint (DE #
18) naming three defendants. He alleges that they did not
protect him from an attack by an unknown inmate on April 13,
2016. “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, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, the court must review the merits of a prisoner
complaint and dismiss it if the action is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. “In order to state a claim
under § 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
states that he believes that Case Worker Sinder told an
unknown inmate that Martin was talking to internal affairs
about trafficking in the prison. He has not provided any
facts to support this speculation. A complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter to “state a claim that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content 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) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “Factual allegations
must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations
in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quotation marks, citations
and footnote omitted). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts
do not permit the court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it
has not shown-that the pleader is entitled to
relief.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679
(quotation marks and brackets omitted). 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). Such is the
case here. Martin speculates that Case Worker Sinder
knowingly provided information to an unknown inmate with the
intent to cause Martin harm. However, he has not alleged any
facts from which it can be plausibly inferred that Case
Worker Sinder provided any information to any inmate. As
such, this complaint does not state a claim against Case
is also suing Superintendent Ron Neal. When an inmate is
attacked by another inmate, the Constitution 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 both be aware of facts
from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial
risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the
inference.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
837 (1994). Here, Martin has not alleged Superintendent Neal
knew anything about his being at risk of harm. He is merely
alleged to be the Superintendent. There is no general
respondeat superior liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 609 (7th Cir. 2007).
“[P]ublic employees are responsible for their own
misdeeds but not for anyone else's.” Burks v.
Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 596 (7th Cir. 2009). Therefore
the complaint does not state a claim against Superintendent
third defendant that Martin is suing is identified only as
“Sgt.” It is unclear who this is, but Martin
alleges that “Sgt. told Kevin Martin he would move him
[and] claim he will looking into this issue.” DE 18 at
3. However, the complaint does not say what Martin told Sgt.
or why Sgt. would have known that Martin was in substantial
risk of serious harm. General requests for help and
expressions of fear are insufficient to alert guards to the
need for action. Klebanowski v. Sheahan, 540 F.3d
633, 639-40 (7th Cir. 2008).
Klebanowski testified during his deposition that he told
officers twice on September 8 that he was afraid for his life
and he wanted to be transferred off the tier. Those
statements, and the officers' knowledge of the first
beating, are the only pieces of evidence in the record that
can assist Klebanowski in his attempt to show that the
officers were aware of any risk to him. We have previously
held that statements like those made by Klebanowski are
insufficient to alert officers to a specific threat.
Butera, 285 F.3d at 606 (deeming insufficient to
establish deliberate indifference statements by a prisoner
that he was “having problems in the block” and
“needed to be removed”). In Butera, we
deemed the inmate's statements insufficient to give
notice to the officers because they did not provide the
identities of those who threatened the inmate, nor state what
the threats were.
The facts of this case make clear our reason for requiring
more than general allegations of fear or the need to be
removed. By Klebanowski's own testimony, the officers
knew only that he had been involved in an altercation with
three other inmates, and that he wanted a transfer because he
feared for his life. He did not tell them that he had
actually been threatened with future violence, nor that the
attack on September 8 was inflicted by gang members because
of his non-gang status. Without these additional facts to
rely on, there was nothing leading the officers to believe
that Klebanowski himself was not speculating regarding the
threat he faced out of fear based on the first attack he
suffered. This lack of specificity falls below the required
notice an officer must have for liability to attach for
Id. at 639-40 (footnote omitted). Additionally, the
complaint alleges that an unknown inmate set a fire in
Martin's cell, but it says nothing about how big the fire
was or whether Martin suffered any physical injury as a
result of the fire. As presented, this complaint does not
state a claim against the unknown Sgt.
the sixth complaint (DE ## 1, 3, 7, 9, 14, and 18) Martin has
filed in this case. He has had more than an ample opportunity
to present facts supporting a claim if he has any.
Nevertheless, because he is proceeding pro se and because he
has omitted so many facts, he will be permitted one last
chance to file an amended complaint which states a claim. In
it he needs to provide facts - not guesses or beliefs. He
needs to explain what facts exist which plausibly lead to the
conclusion that Case Worker Sinder spoke to the inmate who
attacked him. He needs to list everyone who knew that he was
talking to prison officials about trafficking. He needs to
explain why it was not reasonable to believe that he would be
safe in administrative segregation. He needs to identify Sgt.
if he can. If not, he needs to describe Sgt. so that it might
be possible for someone to identify this person because he
cannot proceed against an unknown defendant. He needs to be
very specific about what he told Sgt. and why Sgt. could have
concluded that he was in substantial risk of serious injury.
He needs to describe the fire, how it was started, how big it
was, what physical injury he suffered, and what medical
treatment he received. He needs to identify or describe the
unknown inmate who started the fire.
Martin has filed four motions. First (DE # 19), he asks to
file the amended complaint. This motion was unnecessary
because he had already been granted leave to file it.
other motions (DE ## 20 and 22), he argues that he is being
retaliated against and asks to be moved to the Pendleton
Correctional Facility. “A preliminary injunction is an
extraordinary and drastic remedy; it is never awarded as of
right.” Munaf v. Geren, 553 U.S. 674, 689-690
(2008) (quotation marks and citations omitted). “[A]
preliminary injunction . . . should not be granted unless the
movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of
persuasion.” Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S.
968, 972 (1997). “A plaintiff seeking a preliminary
injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the
merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the
absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities
tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public
interest.” Winter v. NRDC, Inc., 555 U.S. 7,
20 (2008). Martin alleges that legal mail (it appears he
means court orders because he makes no reference to receiving
mail from an attorney) are opened outside of his presence. He
alleges that his cell has been frequently searched and that
he has not been able to obtain copies or responses to
grievances. He alleges that prison officials are not keeping
video proof when he gives them papers and he fears they will
lose his property when he goes to court on December 1, 2016.
None of these allegations describe irreparable harm and there
is no basis for ordering him transferred to another prison.
last motion (DE # 21), Martin wants to court to order the
Superintendent to produce several videotapes which he alleges
will prove that he is telling the truth about his various
interactions with guards. This is unnecessary. The court has
accepted his current allegations as true. However, they are
insufficient to state a claim. Therefore Martin does not need
these videotapes in order to file an amended complaint. What
he needs to do is file an amended complaint with additional
facts. The form he needs - Prisoner Complaint (INND Rev.
8/16) - is available in his prison law library.
these reasons, the court (1) DENIES the motions (DE # 19, 20,
21, and 22); (2) GRANTS Kevin Martin until December 27, 2016,
to file an amended complaint; and (3) CAUTIONS Kevin Martin
that if he does not respond by that deadline, this case will
be dismissed without further notice pursuant to 28 U.S.C.