United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY SCREENING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING FURTHER
William T. Lawrence, Judge
plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis
[dkt. 2] is granted. The plaintiff is assessed an initial
partial filing fee of $30.00 (Thirty Dollars). He shall have
through December 28, 2016, to pay this sum to the clerk.
plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Putnamville
Correctional Facility. Because the plaintiff is a
“prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C. §
1915(h), this Court has an obligation under 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b) to screen his complaint before service on the
defendants. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court
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,
[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).
plaintiff's claims are 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).
claims are to be addressed under the most applicable
provision. See Conyers v. Abitz, 416 F.3d 580, 586
(7th Cir. 2005). The suit charges deliberate indifference to
the plaintiff's medical needs, in violation of the cruel
and unusual punishments clause of the Eighth Amendment.
order for an inmate to state a claim under § 1983 for
medical mistreatment or the denial of medical care, the
prisoner must allege “acts or omissions sufficiently
harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 106 (1976). Deliberate indifference exists only when an
official “knows of and disregards an excessive risk to
an inmate's health; the official 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)(construing Estelle).
is in this case the hint of a serious medical condition such
as could satisfy the objective element of an Eighth Amendment
claim. Henderson v. Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 846 (7th
Cir. 1999)(explaining that a serious medical need is one that
has been diagnosed by a physician as needing treatment or one
for which even a layperson would recognize the need for a
doctor's care). There is not, however, even the hint (in
the language of Bell Atlantic) of deliberate
indifference in relation to an allegation sufficient to raise
the plaintiff's right to relief above the speculative
level or enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face. Board v. Farnham, 394 F.3d
469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005)(“[C]onduct is deliberately
indifferent when the official has acted in an intentional or
criminally reckless manner, i.e., the defendant must
have known that the plaintiff was at serious risk of being
harmed and decided not to do anything to prevent that harm
from occurring even though he could have easily done
so.”)(quotation marks and citation omitted).
plaintiff names twenty-two defendants in this action.
However, the plaintiff fails to identify a particular
individual that was the cause of or directed any conduct
causing a constitutional deprivation.
order to be held liable for a violation of § 1983 in an
individual capacity, a defendant must be “personally
responsible for the deprivation of a constitutional
right.” Gentry v. Duckworth, 65 F.3d 555, 561
(7th Cir. 1995) (citing Sheik-Abdi v. McClellan, 37
F.3d 1240, 1246 (7th Cir. 1994)). Such personal
responsibility exists if the conduct causing a constitutional
deprivation occurred at the individual's direction or
with his knowledge or consent. Smith v. Rowe, 761
F.2d 360, 369 (7th Cir. 1985) (other citations omitted)).
Thus, “some causal connection or affirmative link