United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY SCREENING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING FURTHER
William T. Lawrence, Judge
plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Lewisburg
U.S. Penitentiary. 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).
complaint alleges that, while plaintiff Mr. Riggleman was
incarcerated at Terre Haute Penitentiary, Matthew Tussey
assaulted him while he was restrained. Mr. Riggleman was
taken to the hospital and treated for several injuries
including a cut above his eye and a broken ankle. These
allegations are sufficient to raise an Eighth Amendment
excessive force claim against Matthew Tussey.
Riggleman seeks an injunction ordering a security camera to
be placed in the area where he was assaulted, his good time
credit to be restored, Matthew Tussey to be disciplined, and
requiring that inmates be given twenty minutes to eat their
meals as the facility policy requires.
Discussion of Claims
these allegations implicate Mr. Riggleman's Eighth
Amendment rights. The Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and
unusual punishment prohibits the unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain. Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312,
319 (1986). The use of excessive force can support a viable
claim under the Eighth Amendment. Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 6 (1992). To determine whether a
viable excessive force claim is presented here, the
“core judicial inquiry” is whether “force
was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore
discipline, or maliciously and sadistically to cause
harm.” Wilkins v. Gaddy, 130 S.Ct. 1175, 1178
(2010) (citing Hudson, 503 U.S. at 7) (internal
quotation marks omitted). The foregoing allegations reveal
that the force applied was maliciously or sadistically done
to cause harm. Therefore, Mr. Riggleman's excessive force
claim against Matthew Tussey shall proceed.
claims against all unknown John Doe defendants are
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted 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, Mr. Riggleman is able to learn
the name of the unknown defendants, he may seek leave to add
a claim against them.
the claim against the warden of Terre Haute U.S. Penitentiary
is dismissed for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted because the complaint
contains no factual allegations against the warden, let alone
allegations that he was personally involved in the alleged
assault. “A damages suit under § 1983 requires
that a defendant be personally involved in the alleged
constitutional deprivation.” Matz v. Klotka,
769 F.3d 517, 528 (7th Cir. 2014); see Minix v.
Canarecci, 597 F.3d 824, 833 (7th Cir. 2010)
(“[I]ndividual liability under § 1983 requires
‘personal involvement in the alleged constitutional
deprivation.'”) (citation and quotation marks
the Court notes that some of the injunctive relief requested
in this action is not available. Claims for the restoration
of earned credit time must be brought as a habeas petition,
not as a § 1983 claim. Heck v. Humphrey, 512
U.S. 477 (1994); Gilbert v. Cook, 512 F.3d 899, 900
(7th Cir. 2007).
plaintiff's Eighth Amendment excessive force claim
against Matthew Tussey shall proceed. This claim is the only
plausible claim identified by the Court. If the plaintiff
believes that additional claims were alleged in the
complaint, but not identified by the Court he shall have
through December 7, 2017, in which to
identify those claims.
Duty to ...