United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
CARL A. ECHOLS, Plaintiff,
X. ROESSLER, VRZINA SGT., C B. MIFFLIN Counselor, Defendants.
ENTRY GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST TO INCORPORATE
DOCUMENTS, GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS,
DENYING PENDING MOTIONS AS MOOT, AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL
Magntts-Stinson, Chief Judge United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
A. Echols, an Indiana inmate incarcerated at the Wabash
Valley Correctional Facility, brought this 42 U.S.C. §
1983 action pro se and in forma pauperis in
Sullivan County Superior Court. He could not have commenced
it in this Court without paying the full filing fee because
he was prohibited from doing so, in forma pauperis,
by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) due to his bringing three or more
actions that were dismissed as frivolous, malicious, or for
failing to state a claim. Mr. Echols was given notice of this
in Echols v. Latour, Case No. 2:14-cv-00057-JMS-WGH
(S.D. Ind. March 11, 2014). Defendants removed the action to
this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, and moved the
Court to screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) and dismiss it. The Court announced it would
treat the motion as a motion to dismiss and gave Mr. Echols
an opportunity to be heard in opposition. Mr. Echols has
responded, and defendants have replied.
Request to Incorporate Documents
Plaintiff's request to incorporate documents, dkt. ,
is granted. The Court has reviewed these
submissions in the course of addressing the pending motions
in this action.
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint and not the
merits of the suit. Gibson v. City of Chi., 910 F.2d
1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). Requirements for stating a claim
under the federal pleading standards are straight forward. A
pleading that states a claim for relief must set forth
“a short and plain statement of the grounds for the
court's jurisdiction . . . a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,
” and “a demand for relief sought.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). In considering motions to
dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court presumes all
well-pleaded allegations to be true, views them in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff, and accepts as true all
reasonable inferences to be drawn from the allegations.
Whirlpool Fin. Corp. v. GN Holdings, Inc., 67 F.3d
605, 608 (7th Cir. 1995).
a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when
the pleaded factual content 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) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556). Although the court must accept as true all well-pleaded
facts and draw all permissible inferences in plaintiff's
favor, it need not accept as true “[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements.” Id. at 678
(citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Legal conclusions
can provide a complaint's framework, but unless
well-pleaded factual allegations move the claims from
conceivable to plausible, they are insufficient to state a
claim. Id. at 680. A plaintiff can also plead
himself out of court if he pleads facts that preclude relief.
See Atkins v. City of Chi., 631 F.3d 823, 832 (7th
Cir. 2011); Edwards v. Snyder, 478 F.3d 827, 830
(7th Cir. 2007); McCready v. Ebay, Inc.,
453 F.3d 882, 888 (7th Cir. 2006). In reviewing pro
se complaints, the Court employs a liberal construction
and applies a less stringent standard than when it reviews
pleadings drafted by lawyers. Obriecht v. Raemisch,
517 F.3d 489, 491 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008).
the same standard applied to screening in forma
pauperis complaints pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th Cir.
Echols asserts that defendant Correctional Officer X.
Roessler allows certain other offenders on Mr. Echols'
pod to remain out of their cells with free movement, which
Mr. Echols asserts is a risk to his safety. Defendant Sgt.
Vrzina has been present on the unit when these offenders are
out of their cells. Defendant B. Mifflin is a counselor who
Mr. Echols asserts denied him a grievance form to complain
about the other offenders being allowed out of their cells.
Mr. Echols seeks better access to the grievance procedure and
a stop to the practice of exposing some offenders to a safety
risk from other offenders.
attachments to the complaint reflect that Mr. Echols has
complained to prison officials that this is a continuing
problem commencing on or about June 14, 2017.
motion for screening, treated as a motion to dismiss, argues
that Mr. Echols fails to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted because, to paraphrase their argument, he is
complaining not about constitutional rights but about details
of prison management and administration. Dkt. 5, pp. 3-4.
They argue that Mr. Echols has only made a vague allegation
about his safety and has not explained how his safety is in
danger. They also argue that Mr. Echols brings his complaint
against Counselor ...