United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
RAFAEL R. TORRES, Plaintiff,
BRIAN KNIGHT, C.A. PENFOLD, PAUL PRULHIERE, ROACH LT., Defendants.
ENTRY GRANTING IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS,
SCREENING COMPLAINT, DISMISSING DEFENDANT,
AND DIRECTING SERVICE OF PROCESS
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
In Forma Pauperis Status
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, dkt.
, is granted. He is assessed an initial partial filing fee
of twenty-three dollars and seventy-seven cents ($23.77),
which shall be paid to the clerk of the district court no
later than June 26, 2017. Notwithstanding this ruling,
plaintiff remains liable for the entire filing fee.
“All [28 U.S.C.] § 1915 has ever done is excuse
pre-payment of the docket fees; a litigant remains
liable for them, and for other costs, although poverty may
make collection impossible.” Abdul-Wadood v.
Nathan, 91 F.3d 1023, 1025 (7th Cir. 1996).
Screening of the Complaint
complaint is subject to the screening requirements of 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. This statute directs that the court
shall 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)); 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. 2008)). The
Court construes pro se pleadings liberally, and holds pro se
pleadings to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers. Obriecht v. Raemisch, 517 F.3d
489, 491 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008).
an Indiana inmate, asserts that while incarcerated in the
Plainfield Correctional Facility he told defendants that his
life would be in danger if he was housed with inmates of a
certain housing unit. He contends that he was unfairly
labelled as a “snitch” by the defendants, and
that when he was moved against his will to the other housing
unit, he was seriously assaulted by other inmates. Liberally
construed, the complaint pleads facts asserting that
defendants C.A. Penfold, Paul Prulhiere, and Lt. Roach were
informed of the imminent danger to plaintiff, yet forced his
move regardless, and failed to protect plaintiff. Plaintiff
suffered injuries and continues to experience headaches as a
result of the assault.
state an Eighth Amendment failure-to-protect claim, plaintiff
must allege facts from which a court could conclude that he
faced a substantial risk of serious harm, and that the
defendants knew of and disregarded that risk. Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834, 837 (1994); Santiago v.
Walls, 599 F.3d 749, 756 (7th Cir. 2010). A tangible
threat to safety or well-being must be plead. Grieveson
v. Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 777 (7th Cir. 2008);
Billman v. Indiana Dep't of Corrections, 56 F.3d
785, 788 (7th Cir. 1995) (noting distinction between actual
and feared exposure). A substantial risk of serious harm is
one in which the risk is “so great” that it is
“almost certain to materialize if nothing is
done.” Brown v. Budz, 398 F.3d 904, 911 (7th
action shall proceed as plead against C.A. Penfold, Paul
Prulhiere, and Lt. Roach. The complaint also names Brian
Knight, the Superintendent of the prison, and alleges that
Superintendent Knight's “administration was put on
notice” of the danger to plaintiff. No other personal
involvement is plead. Because liability under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 cannot be vicariously based or asserted under a
respondeat superior theory, the complaint fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted as to
Superintendent Knight. See Burks v. Raemisch, 555
F.3d 592, 593-94 (7th Cir. 2009) (“Section 1983 does
not establish a system of vicarious responsibility. Liability
depends on each defendant's knowledge and actions, not on
the knowledge or actions of persons they supervise.) The
claims against the Superintendent are dismissed. 28 U.S.C.
Eighth Amendment failure-to-protect claim shall proceed
against defendants C.A. Penfold, Paul Prulhiere, and Lt.
Roach. The claims against Superintendent Brian Knight are
dismissed. The clerk is directed to
terminate Superintendent Brian Knight as a defendant in this
action. This is the only viable claim the Court is able to
discern from the complaint. If plaintiff believes the Court
has overlooked claims or defendants, he shall have through
June 27, 2017, in which to inform the Court
of the omitted claims and/or defendants.
Service of Process
clerk is designated pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P.
4(c)(3) to issue process to defendants (1) C.A. Penfold, (2)
Paul Prulhiere, and (3) Lt. Roach in the manner specified by
Rule 4(d). Process shall consist of the complaint (dkt. 1),
applicable forms (Notice of Lawsuit and Request for ...