United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION TO STRIKE
William T. Lawrence, Judge
the Court is the plaintiff's motion to strike the
defendant's affirmative defenses. The motion has been
fully briefed. This motion [dkt. 15] is granted in part and
denied in part.
preliminary matter, the complaint reflects that the plaintiff
has sued the following defendants: 1) Bruce Lemmon, former
Commissioner of the Department of Correction, in his official
and individual capacities; and 2) Scott Brenneke, Department
Record Coordinator, in his individual and official
official capacity claim against the defendant individuals as
employees of the Indiana Department of Correction would in
essence be against the State of Indiana. Such claims are
barred by the Eleventh Amendment to the United States
Constitution, and the doctrine of sovereign immunity. See
Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165-67 and n.14
(1985) (suit for damages against state officer in official
capacity is barred by the Eleventh Amendment); see also
Omosegbon v. Wells, 335 F.3d 668, 673 (7th Cir. 2003)
(the state is not a “person” that can be sued
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Although, there are
circumstances under which the plaintiff could seek
prospective injunctive relief from an individual defendant in
his official capacity, those circumstances are not present in
this case because no ongoing violation of Mr. Jackson's
constitutionally protected rights that can be identified
given the facts alleged. Indiana Protection and Advocacy
Services v. Indiana Family and Social Services Admin.,
603 F.3d 365, 371 (7th Cir. 2010)(J. Hamilton). To the
contrary, the injury - inability to present a product
liability action to the court - has already occurred and Mr.
Jackson is no longer incarcerated. Further, the defendants
report that Mr. Jackson's medical records have been
discovered and are now available to him. Under these
circumstances, any official capacity claim is frivolous and
subject to dismissal. “District judges have ample
authority to dismiss frivolous or transparently defective
suits [or claims] spontaneously, and thus save everyone time
and legal expense.” Hoskins v. Poelstra, 320
F.3d 761, 762 (7th Cir. 2003)(citing Rowe v. Shake,
196 F.3d 778, 783 (7th Cir. 1999)). Simply put, nothing can
be gained by the plaintiff including an official capacity
claim in this action at this time.
these circumstances, the defendants' suggestion that
substitution of the official officeholder is necessary is
denied as moot. Any objection to this statement of the
defendants must be filed by May 2, 2017.
clerk is directed to update the docket to reflect that the
only defendants in this action are Bruce Lemmon and Scott
Brenneke in their individual capacities. All other defendants
plaintiff seeks to strike the affirmative defenses raised in
the answer. Generally, motions to strike are disfavored
because they potentially serve only to delay. Heller Fin.
v. Midwhey Powder Co., 883 F.2d 1286, 1294 (7th Cir.
1989). But where motions to strike remove unnecessary
clutter, they serve to expedite, not delay. Id. The
defendants raise eight affirmative defenses, each is
considered below. Accordingly, the motion to strike is
granted in part and denied in part consistent with the
Defenses #1 and #6-8.
Defense #1. The Complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
defense is better understood when read alongside the
complaint and paired with affirmative defense numbers 6-8.
Defense #6. Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity
from damages under 42 U.S.C. §1983 with respect to any
claim for damages by the plaintiff based upon federal
constitutional principles or federal law because their
actions were objectively reasonable and did not violate
clearly established principles of law.
Defense #7. The purported action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 as against Defendants fails to state an actionable claim
for relief because there is no personal involvement alleged
and there is no liability in an action under § 1983
absent direct personal involvement in the facts giving rise