United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS
J. MCKINNEY, JUDGE.
plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis
[dkt. 14] is denied as moot. The $400.00
filing fee was paid in this action on January 25, 2017. [Dkt.
complaint is now subject to the screening requirement of 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b). This statute directs that the court
dismiss a complaint or any claim within a complaint which
“(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” Id. To satisfy the notice-pleading
standard of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
complaint must provide 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)). The
purpose of this requirement is “to give the defendant
fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007)(citing Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 47 (1957)); see also Wade v. Hopper, 993
F.2d 1246, 1249 (7th Cir. 1993)(noting that the main purpose
of Rule 8 is rooted in fair notice: a complaint “must
be presented with intelligibility sufficient for a court or
opposing party to understand whether a valid claim is alleged
and if so what it is.”) (quotation omitted)). The
complaint “must actually suggest that the plaintiff has
a right to relief, by providing allegations that raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.” Windy
City Metal Fabricators & Supply, Inc. v. CIT Tech. Fin.
Servs., 536 F.3d 663, 668 (7th Cir. 2008) (quoting
Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1084 (7th Cir.
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 that on
June 14, 2016, Officer Pitts opened the door to his cell.
Officer Gates entered the plaintiff's cell and began
choking him. Supervisor Sgt. Hition observed Officer Gates
choke the plaintiff but waited several minutes before yelling
at Officer Gates to stop. Approximately twenty minutes later,
the plaintiff notified Sgt. Hition and Officer Pitts he was
injured and needed medical treatment. They both ignored him.
plaintiff alleges that these events implicate the
Eighth's Amendment proscription against the imposition of
cruel and unusual punishment.
The Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment
prohibits the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.
Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 319 (1986). The use
of excessive force can support a viable claim under the
Eighth Amendment. Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 6
(1992). To determine whether a viable excessive force claim
is presented here, the “core judicial inquiry” is
whether “force was applied in a good-faith effort to
maintain or restore discipline, or maliciously and
sadistically to cause harm.” Wilkins v. Gaddy,
130 S.Ct. 1175, 1178 (2010) (citing Hudson, 503 U.S.
at 7) (internal quotation marks omitted). “The
infliction of pain in the course of a prison security
measure, therefore, does not amount to cruel and unusual
punishment simply because it may appear in retrospect that
the degree of force authorized or applied for security
purposes was unreasonable, and hence unnecessary in the
strict sense.” Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S.
312, 319, (1986). See also Guitron v. Paul, 675 F.3d
1044, 1045-46 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting Whitley).
In order for an inmate to state a claim under § 1983 for
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).
these standards, the plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim
for excessive force and deliberate indifference to a serious
medical need may proceed.
Service of Process
clerk is designated pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P.
4(c)(3) to issue process to defendants Officer Gates, Officer
Pitts, and Sgt. Hition in the manner specified by Rule 4(d).
Process shall consist of the complaint filed on November 2,
2016, [dkt. 2], applicable forms (Notice of Lawsuit and
Request for Waiver of Service of Summons and Waiver of
Service of Summons), and this Entry.
plaintiffs motion for the United States Marshal to service
the defendants [dkt. 15] is denied as
clerk is designated to serve the Indiana Department of