United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY GRANTING IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS, SCREENING
COMPLAINT, DISMISSING CERTAIN DEFENDANTS, AND DIRECTING
ISSUANCE AND SERVICE OF PROCESS
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE
In Forma Pauperis Status
Dustin Smith's second motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis, dkt. , is granted.
The assessment of even an initial partial filing fee is not
feasible at this time. Notwithstanding the foregoing ruling,
plaintiff owes the filing fee. “All [28 U.S.C.] §
1915 has ever done is excuse pre-payment of the
docket fees; a litigant remains liable for them, and for
other costs, although poverty may make collection
impossible.” Abdul-Wadood v. Nathan, 91 F.3d
1023, 1025 (7th Cir. 1996).
Screening of the Complaint
Smith is an inmate in the Madison County Correctional Complex
in Anderson, Indiana. Because he is a prisoner, the complaint
is subject to the screening requirements of 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. This statute directs that the court shall dismiss a
complaint or any claim within a complaint which “(1) is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” Id.
To satisfy the notice-pleading standard of Rule 8 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must provide a
“short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, ” which is
sufficient to provide the defendant with “fair
notice” of the claim and its basis. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
and quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Wade v.
Hopper, 993 F.2d 1246, 1249 (7th Cir. 1993) (noting that
the main purpose of Rule 8 is rooted in fair notice: a
complaint “must be presented with intelligibility
sufficient for a court or opposing party to understand
whether a valid claim is alleged and if so what it
is.”) (quotation omitted)). 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.” Windy City Metal Fabricators
& Supply, Inc. v. CIT Tech. Fin. Servs., 536 F.3d
663, 668 (7th Cir. 2008) (quoting Tamayo v.
Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1084 (7th Cir. 2008)). The
Court construes pro se pleadings liberally, and holds pro se
pleadings to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers. Obriecht v. Raemisch, 517 F.3d
489, 491 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008).
Plaintiff's Contentions - Amended Complaint filed
November 9, 2017 The amended complaint is titled “Civil
Rights Complaint” pursuant to “42 U.S.C. §
1983.” Plaintiff contends that on July 13, 2017, while
he was an inmate in the Madison County Correctional Complex,
defendant Correctional Officer Craig Jackson ordered him to
remove an imbedded staple from an electrical socket using a
pair of scissors. He contends that the electricity had not
been turned off, and that he suffered severe pain from being
shocked and has lost feeling in his left hand.
complaint also presents a negligence claim against Sheriff
Scott C. Mellinger and Chief of Security Mason Brizindine
because they had not ensured the electricity was turned off
prior to Officer Jackson ordering plaintiff to remove the
staple. Finally, plaintiff also asserts a deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs claim against
Jackson, Mellinger, and Brizindine for failing to take him to
the hospital after he was shocked.
Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment claim against
Officer Jackson, for causing plaintiff to suffer an
electrical shock, shall proceed. The Eighth
Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to plaintiff's
serious medical needs against Officer Jackson for not having
plaintiff's electrical shock treated shall also
claim against Security Chief Brizindine for negligence for
not ensuring the electricity to the outlet was turned off is
dismissed because this appears to be a claim
based on Brizindine's supervisory role. No facts are
plead from which the Court can infer that Brizindine had
personal involvement in the incident. Liability under Section
1983 requires each defendant to be personally involved in the
alleged constitutional violation. Vicarious or respondeat
superior liability claims are not cognizable in Section
1983 actions. See Matz v. Klotka, 769 F.3d 517, 528
(7th Cir. 2014); see also 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 omitted).
only allegation against Sheriff Mellinger is that he failed
to have plaintiff taken to the hospital after plaintiff was
shocked. The same allegation is made against Security Chief
Brizindine. This claim also appears to be based on Mellinger
and Brizindine's supervisory roles as no personal
involvement in the incident is plead or can be inferred from
the complaint. Because there is no vicarious or respondeat
superior liability in Section 1983 actions, this claim is
dismissed. Minix, 597 F.3d at 833.
Madison County Correctional Complex is named as a defendant.
However, it is not a suable entity. Smith v. Knox County
Jail, 666 F.3d 1037, 1040 (7th Cir. 2012) (county jail
not a suable entity). It is dismissed from
this action, and the clerk is ...