United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
Plaintiff submitted a Complaint [ECF No. 1] against
the Defendants, the City of Fort Wayne Police Department and
an unknown officer, on September 6, 2017, and also filed a
Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 2] on
the same date.
a plaintiff must pay a statutory filing fee to bring an
action in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). However,
the federal in forma pauperis (IFP) statute, 28 U.S.C. §
1915, provides indigent litigants an opportunity for
meaningful access to the federal courts despite their
inability to pay the costs and fees associated with that
access. See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319
(1989). To authorize a litigant to proceed IFP, a court must
make two determinations: first, whether the litigant is
unable to pay the costs of commencing the action, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(1); and second, whether the action is
frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. §
the first inquiry, an indigent party may commence an action
in federal court, without prepayment of costs and fees, upon
submission of an affidavit asserting an inability “to
pay such fees or give security therefor.” Id.
§ 1915(a). Here, the Plaintiff's Motion establishes
that he is unable to prepay the filing fee.
inquiry does not end there. District courts have the power
under § 1915(e)(2)(B) to screen complaints even before
service of the complaint on the defendants, and must dismiss
the complaint if it fails to state a claim. Rowe v.
Shake, 196 F.3d 778, 783 (7th Cir. 1999). Courts apply
the same standard under § 1915(e)(2)(B) as when
addressing a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). Luevano v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1018, 1027 (7th Cir. 2013).
state a claim under the federal notice pleading standards, a
complaint must set forth a “short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Factual allegations are
accepted as true and need only give “fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” EEOC v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc.,
496 F.3d 773, 776-77 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). However, a
plaintiff's allegations must show that his entitlement to
relief is plausible, rather than merely speculative.
Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1083 (7th Cir.
Plaintiff alleges that in June 2016, an unknown Fort Wayne
police officer took his blood without consent while he was
unconscious. (Compl. 2, ECF No. 1.) The Plaintiff alleges
that this incident occurred “on Coliseum due to an
accident, ” and, as a result, he was rushed to Parkview
North Hospital where he was treated. (Id.) The
Plaintiff alleges that because of this allegedly unconsented
blood test, he was charged with and convicted for a DUI, for
which he served thirty days in the Allen County Jail.
Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, is entitled to have his
Complaint liberally construed by this Court. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (“A document filed
pro se is ‘to be liberally construed, . . .' and
‘a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must
be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers. . . .'”) (quoting Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976)).
Court construes the Plaintiff's claims as a violation of
his Fourth Amendment rights, which are enforceable through a
civil action, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. When public
officers violate the constitutional rights of citizens,
§ 1983 provides the vehicle for a legal claim.
Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2006).
Section 1983 imposes liability on any “person”
who, while acting under color of state law, deprives an
individual of federally protected rights. 42 U.S.C. §
1983; see Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980).
Section 1983 authorizes claimants to sue persons in their
individual capacities who are alleged to have violated such
rights. Lewis v. Downey, 581 F.3d 467, 472-73 (7th
Cir. 2009). Section 1983 also authorizes claimants to sue
persons in their official capacities. See Estate of Sims
ex rel. Sims v. Cnty. of Bureau, 506 F.3d 509, 514-15
(7th Cir. 2007). Personal involvement is an element of every
claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Chavez v. Ill. State
Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir. 2001).
Plaintiff has alleged, for the purposes of this IFP
screening, a viable claim under § 1983. The
Plaintiff's allegations give “fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted); see also Alvarado
v. Litscher, 267 F.3d 648, 651 (7th Cir. 2001) (holding
that in order to state a cause of action under § 1983,
the Supreme Court requires only two elements that may be put
forth in a short and plain statement: (1) the plaintiff must
allege that some person has deprived him of a federal right
and (2) the plaintiff must allege that the person who has
deprived him of the right acted under color of state law).
the Plaintiff may advance his claims against the Defendants,
the City of Fort Wayne Police Department and an unknown
addition to the Plaintiff's claims against the City of
Fort Wayne Police Department and the unknown officer, the
Plaintiff's Petition establishes that he is unable to
prepay the ...