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Douglas v. Lemmon

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

December 2, 2016

MONWELL DOUGLAS, Plaintiff,
v.
BRUCE LEMMON Commissioner, IDOC, K. GILMORE Assistant Superintendent, MICHAEL OSBORN Southern Regional Director, TERESA LITTLEJOHN Grievance Specialist, UNIT TEAM MANAGER Southside WVCF, HEATHER BLASINGANE, WORKER MANAGER CWM, WVCF, FAITH REEVES, HEAD NURSING AID CORIZON MEDICAL, KIM HOBSON, BOBBI RIGGS Corizon Medical Nurse WVCF, Defendants.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER, DISMISSING COMPLAINT, AND DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO SHOW CAUSE

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         I. Background

         The plaintiff, Monwell Douglas, is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility (“Wabash Valley”). 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).

         The plaintiff names the following defendants: 1) Bruce Lemmon, Commissioner; 2) Richard Brown, Superintendent; 3) Kevin Gilmore, Acting Superintendent; 4) Michael Osborn, Southern Regional Director for the Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”); 5) Teresa Littlejohn, Grievance Specialist; 6) Heather Blasingane, Unit Team Manager; 7) Faith Reeves, Counselor/Casework Manager; 8) Kim Hobson, Head Nurse; and 9) Bobbi Riggs, Nursing Aid. He seeks temporary injunctive relief in the form of a transfer to another prison. He also requests compensatory and punitive damages.

         The 22-page complaint sets forth a detailed report of incidents that occurred from February 2016 through mid-September 2016 at Wabash Valley. In addition to setting forth some factual allegations, the complaint is full of the plaintiff's opinions, characterizations, and legal conclusions as they relate to those incidents. As noted above, for purposes of screening, the Court must determine whether the factual allegations, accepted as true, are sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief.

         II. Temporary Restraining Order

         The plaintiff first seeks a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) under Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Dkt 2, pp 2-3. He seeks an order transferring him to a different prison. In accordance with Rule 65, a TRO may be issued without notice only if specific facts “show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse party can be heard in opposition.” Rule 65(b)(1)(A). “The essence of a temporary restraining order is its brevity, its ex parte character, and … its informality.” Geneva Assur. Syndicate, Inc. v. Medical Emergency Servs. Assocs. S.C., 964 F.2d 599, 600 (7th Cir. 1992). In addition to the immediate and irreparable damage requirement for a TRO, to justify issuance of preliminary injunctive relief, the plaintiff must first demonstrate that 1) he has a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits, 2) he has no adequate remedy at law, and 3) he will suffer irreparable harm if preliminary injunctive relief is denied. See Stifel, Nicholaus & Company, Inc. v. Godfre & Kahn, 807 F.3d 184, 193 (7th Cir. 2015).

         The plaintiff alleges that he is experiencing mistreatment at Wabash Valley consisting of false conduct reports, denial of necessary health care examinations, disposal of his legal mail, and numerous shake downs of his cell. It is for these reasons he wants to be transferred to a different prison. None of these circumstances, however, rise to the level of causing “irreparable harm.” Moreover, the plaintiff has no right, constitutional or otherwise, to demand that he be placed in any particular prison. Therefore, he has not shown a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits. See Olim v. Waukinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 245 (1983) (holding that a prisoner has no constitutional right to select a particular correctional facility for his placement or to be transferred to a different facility upon request.). Accordingly, the plaintiff's request for a TRO is denied.

         III. Screening

         The Court will discuss the plaintiff's claims as they are asserted against each defendant.

         Bruce Lemmon, Richard Brown, Kevin Gilmore, and Michael Osborn

         The plaintiff alleges that defendants Lemmon, Brown, Gilmore, and Osborn have denied plaintiff's requests for assistance in securing a transfer to another prison. As noted above, the plaintiff has no constitutional right to be transferred to another prison, and therefore, the claims against these defendants are dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In addition, to the extent these defendants are named solely because of their supervisory positions, such claims fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Liability depends on each defendant's knowledge and actions, not on the knowledge or actions of persons they supervise.”) ...


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