United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
STEVEN W. PRITT, Plaintiff,
JOHN LAYTON Sheriff; sued in individual capacity, et al. Defendants.
ENTRY SCREENING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING FURTHER
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE
Steven W. Pritt is a prisoner currently incarcerated at the
New Castle Correctional Facility. He brings this action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that his constitutional rights
were violated while he was confined at the Marion County
Jail. 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
[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).
alleges that while he was confined at the Marion County Jail,
defendant Sheriff “Matthew” prompted another
inmate to throw feces on him and did not allow him to shower.
He also alleges that the feces caused an infestation of
cockroaches at the Jail.
further alleges that he was not permitted to file grievances
and that his grievances and complaints have been ignored. He
states generally that this resulted in a risk of harm to him.
Discussion of Claims
the screening standard to the factual allegations in the
complaint certain claims are dismissed while other claims
shall proceed as submitted.
Claims that are dismissed
any claim against Sheriff John Layton must be
dismissed. Pritt asserts that Layton
maintained an inadequate grievance system and that
Layton's actions generally created an environment in
which Pritt was at risk of harm. But there is no
free-standing right to a prison grievance system. See
Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1430-31 (7th Cir.
1996). And Pritt's general allegations that the failure
of the grievance system caused him unspecified injuries are
insufficient to state a claim that his constitutional rights
were violated. See Windy City Metal Fabricators &
Supply, Inc. v. CIT Tech. Fin. Servs., 536 F.3d 663, 668
(7th Cir. 2008) (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.”). Finally, there is no allegation
that would raise an inference that Sheriff Layton was
personally involved in the specific acts at issue in the
complaint. Matz v. Klotka, 769 F.3d 517, 528 (7th
Cir. 2014) (“A damages suit under § 1983 requires
that a defendant be personally involved in the alleged
any claim against inmate John Doe must be
dismissed because “it is pointless to
include [an] anonymous defendant [ ] in federal court; this
type of placeholder does not open the door to relation back
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15, nor can it otherwise help the
plaintiff.” Wudtke v. Davel, 128 F.3d 1057,
1060 (7th Cir. 1997) (internal citations omitted). Bringing
suit against unnamed, or “John Doe, ” defendants
in federal court is generally disfavored by the Seventh
Circuit. If through discovery, Pritt is able to learn the
name of the unknown defendants, he may seek leave to add a
claim against them.