United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY SCREENING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING FURTHER
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Pendleton
Correctional Facility (“Pendleton”). 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's Complaint contains claims against defendants
Lt. Donald Williams and Dr. Paul Talbot. He alleges that Lt.
Williams harassed him and encouraged others to harass him,
which ultimately resulted in the plaintiff being attacked by
another inmate. As to Dr. Talbot, the plaintiff alleges he
failed to properly treat his injuries, including a several
week delay in necessary treatment. He also alleges that Dr.
Talbot would not place him in the infirmary, which led him to
be housed in a normal cell block where he sustained further
injuries, including due to repeatedly falling down the
claims against Dr. Talbot are misjoined, so the Court will
discuss these claims before turning to the claims against Lt.
George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007),
the Seventh Circuit explained that “[u]nrelated claims
against different defendants belong in different
suits.” When unrelated claims are brought in the same
suit, “[t]he court may . . . sever any claim against a
party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 21. The purpose of this rule is
“not only ‘to prevent the sort of morass'
produced by multi-claim, multi-defendants suits like this
one, but also to ensure that prisoners pay all fees required
under the Prison Litigation Reform Act.” Owens v.
Hinsley, 635 F.3d 950, 952 (7th Cir. 2011) (quoting
George, 507 F.3d at 952).
Eighth Amendment medical claims against Dr. Talbot are
unrelated to the Eighth Amendment claims against Lt. Williams
stemming from his harassment and encouragement of the same.
The claims against Dr. Talbot are therefore misjoined and
cannot proceed in this action. The Court notes, however, that
on the same date the plaintiff filed this action, he filed
another action in this Court against Dr. Talbot. See
Case No. 1:17-cv-2380-TWP-TAB. Thus rather than opening a new
action against Dr. Talbot, if the plaintiff's claims
against Dr. Talbot are to proceed at all, he may present them
in Case No. 1:17-cv-2380-TWP-TAB. Those claims are
dismissed without prejudice from this
Properly Joined Claims
plaintiffs allegations against Lt. Williams are sufficient
state an Eighth Amendment claim. Therefore, this action
shall proceed against Lt. Williams.
the foregoing, the following ...