United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING FURTHER
William T. Lawrence, Judge
plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at New Castle
Correctional Industrial Facility (“New Castle”).
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 brings this action against defendants Sheriff
Layton of the Marion County Sheriff's Department and Eric
Higginson from the classification division of the Marion
County Jail. The plaintiff's claims are brought pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging Eighth Amendment claims
against the defendants. The following allegations are drawn
from the plaintiff Complaint.
plaintiff was taken to Marion County Jail from New Castle on
October 11, 2016. He informed jail staff during intake that
he was legally blind and thus needed to be placed on a bottom
bunkbed in the medical wing. Later that night, the plaintiff
was informed that the classification department had assigned
him to the medical block, but when he arrived there, he was
placed on a top bunkbed. The next day, on October 12, 2016,
the plaintiff fell while trying to climb down from the top
bunkbed, “causing severe injury.” He seeks
monetary damages for his injuries.
plaintiff's claims must be dismissed for the following
reasons. First, to be liable under § 1983, the
defendants must have personal involvement in the
constitutional deprivations alleged, and there are no such
allegations against these defendants. See Matz v.
Klotka, 769 F.3d 517, 528 (7th Cir. 2014); see also
Minix v. Canarecci, 597 F.3d 824, 833 (7th Cir. 2010)
(“[I]ndividual liability under § 1983 requires
‘personal involvement in the alleged constitutional
deprivation.'”) (citation and quotation mark
omitted). Indeed, neither defendant is named in the body of
the Complaint at all.
the plaintiff alleges that “the classification
department” assigned him the top bunkbed. Although
defendant Mr. Higginson is labeled as from the classification
department, there are no allegations that he made the
classification decision for the plaintiff. But even if he
did, to state an Eighth Amendment claim, the plaintiff must
allege “‘incarcerated under conditions posing a
substantial risk of serious harm' and that [each
defendant] was deliberately indifferent to that risk.”
Olson v. Morgan, 750 F.3d 708, 713 (7th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834
(1994)). “The ‘deliberate indifference'
requirement means that ‘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.'” Id. (quoting
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837). Therefore, even if it was
adequately alleged that Mr. Higginson made the classification
decision at issue, there are no allegations that would permit
the conclusion that he did so with deliberate indifference.
For this additional reason, the plaintiffs claims must be
plaintiffs Complaint must be dismissed for the reasons set
forth above. However, the Court will give him an opportunity
to file an amended complaint so that, if possible, he may
cure the above noted deficiencies. See Luevano v.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,722 F.3d 1014, 1022 (7th Cir.
2013) (“Without at least an opportunity to amend or to
respond to an order to show cause, an IFP applicant's
case could be tossed out of court without giving the
applicant any timely notice or opportunity to be heard to
clarify, contest, or simply request leave to amend”).
The plaintiff has through June 19, 2017, in which ...