United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING FURTHER
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis
was granted by previous entry. The plaintiff is assessed an
initial partial filing fee of $4.00 (Four Dollars). He shall
have through February 28, 2017, to pay this sum to the clerk.
plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Wabash
Valley 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). Constitutional claims are to be addressed
under the most applicable provision. See Conyers v.
Abitz, 416 F.3d 580, 586 (7th Cir. 2005).
on this screening, the complaint must be dismissed. Ferrell
brings his claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and
alleges that he has not received appropriate treatment for
his serious mental illness in violation of the Eighth
Amendment and that he is being placed in a special needs unit
that only exacerbates his mental illness. But he does not
allege who is directly responsible for the alleged
constitutional deprivations. Without an allegation of the
person or persons directly responsible for the denials, the
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. Munson v. Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 637 (7th
Cir. 2012) (section 1983 liability requires a defendant's
personal involvement in the alleged constitutional
violation); 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)).
Ferrell names the Commissioner Indiana Department of
Correction and Superintendent Dick Brown in the caption but
does not reference actions on the part of the Commissioner or
the Superintendent in the body of the complaint. He has
therefore failed to state a claim against either defendant.
See Potter v. Clark, 497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir.
1974) (“Where a complaint alleges no specific act or
conduct on the part of the defendant and the complaint is
silent as to the defendant except for his name appearing in
the caption, the complaint is properly dismissed.”).
dismissal of the complaint will not yet lead to the dismissal
of the action. Instead, Ferrell shall have through February
28, 2017, in which to file an amended complaint.
filing an amended complaint, Ferrell shall conform to the
following guidelines: (a) the amended complaint shall comply
with the requirement of Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure that pleadings contain “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)); (b) the amended complaint must include
a demand for the relief sought; (c) the amended complaint
must identify what legal injury they claim to have suffered
and what persons are responsible for each such legal injury;
and (d) the amended complaint must include the case number
referenced in the caption of this Entry. The plaintiff is
further notified that “[u]nrelated claims against
different defendants belong in different suits.”
George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007).
organizing his complaint, Ferrell may benefit from utilizing
the Court's complaint form. The clerk is directed to
include a copy of the prisoner civil rights complaint form
along with the plaintiff's copy of this Entry.
amended complaint is filed as directed above, it will be
screened. If no amended complaint is filed, this action will