United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
TOBY T. MAXWELL, Plaintiff,
RUSSELL MAJ., HENDRICKS CPT., ALLEN LT., FISCHER LT., VIRZNA SGT., WILLIS C/O, BENNETT C/O, MRAZIK C/O, CYNTHIA YORK Nurse, KIM HOBSEN NURSE, BOBBI RIGGS NURSE, CORIZON MEDICAL SERVICES, Defendants.
ENTRY DISCUSSING COMPLAINT, SEVERING CERTAIN CLAIMS,
AND DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE JUDGE.
Toby Maxwell, an inmate of the Wabash Valley Correctional
Facility, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging that he was injured in an attack by another
prisoner and the defendants failed to protect him from the
attack. He also alleges that he did not receive appropriate
medical care for his injuries. For the reasons explained
below, Maxwell's claims based on the assault itself will
proceed in this case and his claims based on inadequate
medical care will be severed into a new action.
The Screening Requirement
Maxwell is a “prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(h), the complaint is subject to the screening
requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). Pursuant to this
statute, “[a] complaint is subject to dismissal for
failure to state a claim if the allegations, taken as true,
show that plaintiff is not entitled to relief.”
Jones v. Bock, 127 S.Ct. 910, 921 (2007). To survive
a motion to dismiss, the complaint “must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to 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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)
(quotations omitted). 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.
Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94; Obriecht v.
Raemisch, 517 F.3d 489, 491 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008).
Claims Based on the Assault
alleges that defendants C/O Willis and C/O Bennett
disseminated private information about him to other inmates
which resulted in him being assaulted by another inmate. He
also alleges that defendant C/O Mrazik witnessed the assault
but failed to intervene to stop it and that C/O Mrazik, Sgt.
Virzina, Lt. Davis, and Lt. Fischer failed to send him to the
medical department for treatment of his injuries. He goes on
to allege that defendants Maj. Russell, Cpt. Hendricks, Lt.
Fischer, Sgt. Davis and Sgt. Vrzina failed to investigate his
grievances after the attack.
on the screening described above, the following claims shall
proceed in this case: Maxwell's claim against Willis,
Bennett, and Mrazik shall proceed as a claim that these
defendants failed to protect Maxwell from assault in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. His claims against Mrazik,
Virzina, Davis, and Fisher shall proceed as claims that these
defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to Maxwell's
serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
claims based on the investigation of the assault are
dismissed. Maxwell alleges that Russell, Hendricks, Fischer,
Davis, and Vrzina failed to properly investigate the assault
and Maxwell's medical care, but he does not allege that
this allegedly faulty investigation resulted in any injury to
Maxwell or otherwise violated his constitutional rights. This
is because an inmate does not have a constitutional right to
a grievance procedure See Grieveson v. Anderson, 538
F.3d 763, 772 (7th Cir. 2008); cf. Rossi v. City of
Chicago, 790 F.3d 729, 735 (7th Cir. 2015) (An
individual “does not have a constitutional right to
have the police investigate his case at all, still less to do
so to his level of satisfaction.”).
Severance of Claims Based on Medical Care
remaining claims cannot proceed with the claims described
above because they are misjoined. In George v.
Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007), the Court of
Appeals explained that “[u]nrelated claims against
different defendants belong in different suits.” Rule
18 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows
joinder of multiple parties only when the allegations against
them involve the same conduct or transaction and common
questions of fact and law as to all defendants. Rule 20(a)
allows defendants to be joined in one action if a right to
relief is asserted against them jointly with respect to the
same transaction or occurrence, and a question of law or fact
common to all defendants will arise in the action. In such a
situation, “[t]he court may . . . add or drop a party.
The Court may also sever any claim against a party.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 21. Generally, if a district court finds that a
plaintiff has misjoined parties, the court should sever those
parties or claims, allowing those grievances to continue in
spin-off actions, rather than dismiss them. Elmore v.
Henderson, 227 F.3d 1009, 1012 (7th Cir. 2000). This is
the remedy that will be applied to the complaint.
with the foregoing, the claims that defendants C. York, K.
Hobsen, Nurse Knust, B. Riggs, and Corizon failed to provide
Maxwell with adequate medical care for the injuries sustained
in the assault are severed from the original
complaint. A new civil action from the Terre Haute
Division shall be opened, consistent with the following:
a. Toby Maxwell shall be the plaintiff in the newly opened
b. The Nature of Suit in the newly opened action shall be
c. The Cause of Action of the newly opened action shall be