United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DISMISSING INSUFFICIENT CLAIMS AND DIRECTING
William T. Lawrence, Judge
the plaintiff is a “prisoner” as defined by 28
U.S.C. § 1915(h), a pretrial detainee at the Vigo County
Jail, this Court has an obligation under 28 U.S.C. §
1915A to screen his complaint 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. 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 pleadings standards,
[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim for 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). 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. Obriecht v. Raemisch,
517 F.3d 489, 491 n. 2 (7th Cir. 2008). Nonetheless,
“[p]ro se litigants are masters of their own complaints
and may choose who to sue-or not to sue, ” Myles v.
United States, 416 F.3d 551, 552 (7th Cir. 2005), and
the Court may not rewrite a complaint to include claims that
were not presented. Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d
1128 (10th Cir. 1999); Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d
411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993).
plaintiff's federal claim is brought pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. A cause of action is provided by 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against “[e]very person who, under
color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or
usage, of any State or Territory, . . . subjects, or causes
to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other
person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of
any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws” of the United States. Section
1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights; instead,
it is a means for vindicating federal rights conferred
elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94
(1989) (citing Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144
n.3 (1979)). The initial step in any § 1983 analysis is
to identify the specific constitutional right which was
allegedly violated. Id. at 394; Kernats v.
O'Sullivan, 35 F.3d 1171, 1175 (7th Cir. 1994);
see also Gossmeyer v. McDonald, 128 F.3d 481, 489-90
(7th Cir. 1997). Here, the plaintiff's alleges the
defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical
need in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment when they would
not allow him to continue his prescription for hydrocodone,
Percocet and morphine. This caused his to suffer pain and
difficulty with daily tasks. He seeks injunctive relief in
the form of being prescribed his medications again. He also
seeks money damages.
The claims against the Vigo County Commissioners and Vigo
County are dismissed as legally insufficient because it is
the Sheriff who is responsible for the care of prisoners
within a jail, and a county does not control or direct the
manner in which that responsibility is met. Estate of
Drayton v. Nelson, 53 F.3d 165, 167 (7th Cir. 1994)
(“Marion County has no authority over the Sheriff and
his deputies . . . .”); Weatherholt v. Spencer
County, 639 N.E.2d 354, 357 n.2 (Ind.Ct.App.
1994)(“the sheriff is not a representative of the
county but he holds a separate office created by the Indiana
claims against Sheriff Greg Ewing are dismissed. The
plaintiff alleges that Sheriff Ewing entered into a contract
for medical care with Correctional Care and he received
deficient care from Correctional Care staff. However, there
are no allegations of wrong doing on his part. See Burks
v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 593-94 (7th Cir. 2009)
(“Section 1983 does not establish a system of vicarious
responsibility. Liability depends on each defendant's
knowledge and actions, not on the knowledge or actions of
persons they supervise. . . . Monell's rule [is
that] that public employees are responsible for their own
misdeeds but not for anyone else's.”)(citing
Monell v. New York City Dep't of Social Services,
436 U.S. 658 (1978)). If an official, who is not otherwise
responsible for allegedly unconstitutional conditions or
actions, could be held liable upon being notified by the
plaintiff, then a plaintiff could choose to bring any and all
officials within the scope of liability simply by writing a
series of letters. To allow liability to be based upon
“such a broad theory. . . [would be] inconsistent with
the personal responsibility requirement for assessing damages
against public officials in a § 1983 action.”
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).
Similarly, any claims Quality Correctional Care are
dismissed. The reason for this is that this defendant,
whether private corporations or a municipal entity, are not
vicariously liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the
alleged misdeeds of their employees, but if the injury
alleged is the result of a policy or practice. Rodriguez
v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816 (7th Cir.
2009). No such claim is present in the complaint.
The plaintiff also alleges violations of the Rehabilitation
Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 794-94e, and the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§
12111-213. Prisons and jails are public entities covered by
the ADA. See, Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections v.
Yeskey, 524 U.S. 206, 118 S.Ct. 1952, 141 L.Ed.2d 215
(1998). And Title II applies to prisoners. Stanley v.
Litscher, 213 F.3d 340, 343 (7th Cir. 2000).
II of the ADA prohibits state and local entities from
discriminating against any qualified individual with a
disability in programs, services, and activities. 42 U.S.C.
To establish a violation of Title II, [a] plaintiff must
show: (1) that he is a qualified individual with a
disability; (2) that he was either excluded from
participation in or denied the benefits of some public
entity's services, programs, or activities, or was
otherwise discriminated against by the public entity; and (3)
that such ...