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Purvis v. Brown

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

December 13, 2017

WILLARD PURVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD BROWN, WRIGHT Mr., FISCHER Sergeant, POPE Mr., PATRICK Mr., COUNTERMAN Mrs., GILMORE Mr., LITTLEJOHN Mr., LITTLEJOHN Mr., POPE Mr., SGT. PETTY Lieutenant, ZIMMERMAN Mrs., CARPENTER Mr., JOHN #1 DOE, JOHN #2 DOE, JOHN #3 DOE, JOHN #4 DOE, SUPERINTENDENT WABASH VALLEY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, Defendants.

          ENTRY SCREENING COMPLAINT, SEVERING MISJOINED CLAIM, AND DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

          HON. WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT .

         Plaintiff Willard Purvis is a prisoner currently incarcerated at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. He brings this action against a number of defendants alleging that his civil rights have been violated in a number of ways.

         I. Screening Standard

         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).

         II. The Complaint

         Purvis's complaint is based on actions that took place over the course of approximately two weeks at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.

         Purvis alleges that on June 16, 2015, Officer Wright, Sergeant Fischer, Officer Patrick, Officer Pope, and Officer Counterman removed him from his cell to search it because he had recently filed a grievance against officers at Wabash Valley. He also states that one box of legal correspondence was removed from his cell and not returned to him. When he was returned to his cell, he tripped and Officer Wright yanked back on the lead-strap, injuring his shoulder and his ribs. Officer Wright told him that “Lt. Petty had his back” because Lt. Petty failed to notify Internal Affairs of this incident and to review and save the footage from the security camera. Later that day, these officers, with the exception of Lt. Petty, called him a “child molester” and other names and tried to encourage other inmates to assault him. Because of this, human waste was thrown on him.

         On June 20, 2015, Sergeant Fischer searched his cell in retaliation for asking for a grievance form. Sergeant Fisher then sprayed chemical spray in Purvis's cell and used force when he was removing Purvis from his cell. Before he was able to go to the shower, Sergeant Fischer and Officer Counterman ripped off his boxer shorts in view of other inmates and Officer Counterman made comments about his private parts, stating that is “why [he] had to rape kids.”

         After he was taken to the medical unit, Nurse Pope ignored his injuries. Sergeant Fischer took him into the hallway, pushed his head against the wall and stomped on his bare foot. This was done in view of Officer Counterman, Officer Wright, Officer Patrick, and Officer Pope.

         When he was led back to his cell, Officer Fischer twisted his arm, injuring him. He was notified that he was on “strip cell” and was given nothing for over 30 hours. When his property was returned, he was missing toothpaste and a medical ointment used for an allergic reaction he was having to his jumpsuit.

         On June 24, 2015, he was told he had to get dressed for a hearing in Sullivan County small claims court. He asked for a different jumpsuit or some clothing to put on underneath it because he was allergic to the material in the jumpsuit. Lt. Petty came to his cell and said that he refused to go to the hearing.

         On numerous occasions, when he went to the Disciplinary Hearing Board, Officer ...


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