United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
ENTRY SCREENING COMPLAINT, DENYING IN FORMA PAUPERIS
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, dkt.
, is denied as submitted without
prejudice to being renewed. Plaintiff shall have through
September 18, 2017, in which to either pay the $400.00 filing
fee for this action or demonstrate that he lacks the
financial ability to do so. If he renews his request to
proceed in forma pauperis, his motion must be
accompanied by a copy of the transactions associated with his
institution trust account for the 6-month period preceding
the filing of this action on August 11, 2017.
plaintiff is a prisoner, the 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).
is an inmate in the Clark County, Indiana, jail. It is not
clear from the complaint whether he is a pre-trial detainee
or a convicted offender. He has been incarcerated since
November 6, 2016. He complains about the conditions in the
jail, asserting there is black mold in the showers, a
ventilation system that was not cleaned after a fire, a mold
growing around the vents, and a problem with mice, ants, and
flies. Plaintiff complains that the jail will not furnish the
correct cleaning supplies to allow him to clean the mold, and
has done nothing about the pest problem. Finally, plaintiff
also complains that other inmates are sick and suffering from
conditions such as staph infections and Hepatitis C but are
not segregated from other inmates.
does not claim a specific injury due to these conditions
other than being incarcerated in the conditions. He seeks
monetary damages as well as injunctive relief. For injunctive
relief, he seeks (1) the cleaning of the jail ventilation
system on a regular basis, (2) providing inmates with the
correct cleaning supplies to kill the black mold, (3)
establishment of a medical wing for sick inmates to be housed
and not infect other inmates, (4) a resolution to the pest
problem, and (5) an adequate fire response plan.
the complaint liberally, as the Court must, plaintiff
presents a viable complaint alleging unconstitutional
conditions of confinement. The Eighth Amendment imposes
duties on prison and jail officials to provide humane
conditions of confinement to inmates. Officials must ensure
that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, and
medical care, and must “take reasonable measures to
guarantee the safety of the inmates.” Hudson v.
Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 526-527 (1984); Helling v.
McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31-32 (1993); Washington v.
Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 225 (1990). Actual physical injury
is not “a filing prerequisite for the federal action
itself.” Calhoun v. DeTella, 319 F.3d 936, 940
(7th Cir. 2003); see also Helling, 509 U.S. at 33;
Cassidy v. Indiana Dep't of Correction, 199 F.3d
374, 376-77 (7th Cir. 2000); Allah v. Al-Hafeez, 226
F.3d 247, 251 (3d Cir. 2000). Prison officials who recklessly
expose a prisoner to a substantial risk of a serious physical
injury violate his Eighth Amendment rights, and therefore are
subject to those remedies not barred by 28 U.S.C. §
1997e(e) (injunctive relief, nominal damages, and punitive
damages). See Calhoun v. DeTella, 319 F.3d 936,
940-41 (7th Cir. 2003); Hutchins v. McDaniels, 512
F.3d 193, 198 (5th Cir. 2007) (per curiam); Mitchell v.
Horn, 318 F.3d 523, 533 (3d Cir. 2003); Royal v.
Kautzky, 375 F.3d 720, 723 (8th Cir. 2004).
complaint names the Clark County Jail as defendant. In
Indiana, jails are not a suable entity. Smith v. Knox
County Jail, 666 F.3d 1037, 1040 (7th Cir. 2012) (county
jail not a suable entity). The Court will substitute the
Sheriff of Clark County, Indiana, as defendant, in his
personal and official capacities.
summarize, plaintiff may proceed against the Sheriff of Clark
County, Indiana, on his Eighth Amendment claim for the
conditions of confinement in the jail. If plaintiff believes
the Court has overlooked claims or defendants, he shall have
through September 11, 2017, in which to notify the Court.
clerk is directed to modify the docket to terminate
the Clark County jail as a defendant and substitute the