United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
CHRISTOPHER A. PLATT, Plaintiff,
INDIANA STATE PRISON, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
A. Platt, a pro se prisoner, filed an amended
complaint. ECF 19. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, this
court must review the complaint and dismiss it if the action
is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. A complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to
“state a claim that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic 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). “A document filed pro se is to be
liberally construed, and a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers . . ..”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
“In order to state a claim under [42 U.S.C.] §
1983 a plaintiff must allege: (1) that defendants deprived
him of a federal constitutional right; and (2) that the
defendants acted under color of state law.” Savory
v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2006).
is an inmate at the Indiana State Prison (“ISP”).
While housed there on December 9, 2016, part of the ceiling
fell on him, striking his head and neck. Officer Hoffman
witnessed the ceiling fall and assured Platt that incoming
officers would get him medical attention. Sgt. D. Draper, M.
Buckman, M. Semla and S. Rodgers then came into Platt's
cell, took pictures and moved him to a different cell. They
told Platt that they would call the nurse and take him to
medical the next morning. However, they never did, which
Platt alleges violated his constitutional rights. Platt sues
Sgt. D. Draper, M. Buckman, M. Semla and S. Rodgers for money
damages for ignoring his request for medical
the Eighth Amendment, inmates are entitled to adequate
medical care. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104
(1976). To establish liability, a prisoner must satisfy both
an objective and subjecting component by showing: (1) his
medical need was objectively serious; and (2) the defendant
acted with deliberate indifference to that medical need.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). A
medical need is “serious” if it is one that a
physician has diagnosed as mandating treatment, or one that
is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize
the necessity for a doctor's attention. Greeno v.
Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005). On the
subjective prong, the plaintiff must establish that the
defendant “acted in an intentional or criminally
reckless manner, i.e., the defendant must have known that the
plaintiff was at serious risk of being harmed and decided not
to do anything to prevent that harm from occurring even
though he could have easily done so.” Board v.
Farnham, 394 F.3d 469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005).
Platt alleges that these four officers were aware that his
injuries required medical attention, but nevertheless refused
to let him see a nurse or be seen in medical. Because the
complaint alleges that these officers knew that he needed
medical attention, but denied him the opportunity to receive
medical treatment, it states a claim. See Gutierrez v.
Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1369 (7th Cir. 1997). Indeed, an
unnecessary delay in providing medical treatment can
constitute deliberate indifference when it causes unnecessary
pain or suffering, as alleged here. Arnett v.
Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 752-53 (7th Cir. 2011);
Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 779 (7th Cir.
Platt names the Indiana State Prison as a defendant. Though
ISP is where these events occurred, it is a building, not a
person or even a policy making unit of government that can be
sued pursuant to Title 42 U.S.C. section 1983. See Sow v.
Fortville Police Dep't, 636 F.3d 293, 300 (7th Cir.
final matter, Platt names ISP Superintendent Ron Neal as a
defendant. It is not clear why Platt is suing Neal, as the he
is not even mentioned in the body of the complaint. Section
1983 “liability depends on each defendant's
knowledge and actions, not on the knowledge or actions of
persons they supervise.” Burks v. Raemisch,
555 F.3d 592, 594 (7th Cir. 2009). “[P]ublic employees
are responsible for their own misdeeds but not for anyone
else's.” Id. at 596. The doctrine of
respondeat superior, which allows an employer to be
held liable for subordinates' actions in some types of
cases, has no application to § 1983 actions. Moore
v. State of Indiana, 999 F.2d 1125, 1129 (7th Cir.
1993). Thus, the amended complaint does not state a claim
against Neal in his individual capacity.
very well be that Platt is seeking injunctive relief against
Neal to receive medical treatment for the injuries he
suffered as a result of the 2016 ceiling collapse. Platt does
request various medical tests, ECF 19 at 4, and it is Neal in
his official capacity who is charged with ensuring Platt is
given necessary medical care. Though Platt is entitled to
adequate medical treatment as required by the Constitution,
he does not indicate that he has been unable to obtain
medical treatment for his injuries. Platt does not explain
any efforts he has made to obtain medical care, other than
asking the four correctional officer defendants for medical
attention one time on December 10, 2016. Platt does not say
who he has since spoken with, what request forms he has
filled out, who he gave them to, or what responses he got
back. Simply put, Platt has not alleged that the Neal or any
medical providers have refused to provide him with necessary
medical care. Therefore, Platt has not stated a plausible
injunctive relief claim.
these reasons, the court:
GRANTS the plaintiff leave to proceed against Sgt. D. Draper,
M. Buckman, M. Semla and S. Rodgers for denying him medical
treatment after the ceiling fell on him on December 9, 2016,
in violation of the Eighth Amendment;
DISMISSES any and all other claims contained in the amended
DISMISSES Indiana State Prison and Ron Neal as defendants;
DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Service to
issue and serve process on Sgt. D. Draper, M. Buckman, M.
Semla and S. Rodgers at the Indiana Department of Correction
with a copy of this order and the complaint as required by 28
U.S.C. § 1915(d); and
ORDERS, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), that Sgt.
D. Draper, M. Buckman, M. Semla and S. Rodgers respond, as
provided for in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and N.D.
Ind. L.R. 10-1(b), only to the claims for which ...