United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING COMPLAINT, DISMISSING INSUFFICIENT
CLAIMS, AND DIRECTING SERVICE OF PROCESS
William T. Lawrence, Judge
plaintiff Samuel Davis, Jr., 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).
complaint is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and names
the following defendants: 1) Superintendent Richard Brown; 2)
Sergeant Lantrip; and 3) Correctional Officer Morris. Mr.
Davis seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Davis alleges that he was written up for a rule violation on
October 14, 2016. The conduct report was allegedly written by
Officer Morris and also signed by his Supervisor Sgt.
Lantrip. The hearing officer found Mr. Davis not guilty.
During the disciplinary proceedings, Mr. Davis learned that
Sgt. Lantrip had forged Officer Morris' signature on the
conduct report. Sgt. Lantrip was then demoted from Sergeant
to Correctional Officer. Mr. Davis alleges that Sgt. Lantrip
falsified the conduct report in retaliation for Mr. Davis
filing grievances and lawsuits against his fellow officers
who are friends of Sgt. Lantrip.
process claim for writing a false conduct report must be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted because Mr. Davis does not have a constitutional
right to avoid false disciplinary charges. Lagerstrom v.
Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624-25 (7th Cir. 2006) (due
process rights are not violated if a false conduct report is
filed). Any impropriety with the conduct report itself would
be properly addressed during the disciplinary proceedings,
the result of might be challenged in a habeas proceeding, not
a civil rights action.
facts do state a possible claim, however, of retaliation
based on the First Amendment. This claim shall proceed
against Sgt. Lantrip.
are no allegations of wrongdoing asserted against
Superintendent Brown. In addition, to the extent this
defendant is named solely because of his supervisory
position, such claim fails 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.” Burks v.
Raemsich, 555 F.3d 592, 594 (7th Cir. 2009). “It
is well established that there is no respondeat
superior liability under § 1983.” Gayton
v. McCoy, 593 F.3d 610, 622 (7th Cir. 2010). The claim
against Superintendent Brown is dismissed for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Davis alleges that “Officer Morris exposed Sgt. Lantrip
for falsifying C/O Morris' statement and for forging C/O
Morris' signature in the report of conduct.” These
allegations, assuming they are true, do not constitute a
constitutional violation. Rather, it appears that Officer
Morris did nothing unlawful. Rather, he may have been the
person to point out that wrongdoing had occurred by someone
else. The claim against Officer Morris is dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
partial final judgment shall issue regarding the dismissal of
claims against Superintendent Brown and Officer Morris.
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