United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON JUDGE.
Turner Bey, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a complaint
alleging that his medical need to be housed on the first or
second floor has been disregarded throughout his
incarceration at the Indiana State Prison. A filing by an
unrepresented party “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) (quotation marks and citations omitted). Nevertheless,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I must review the merits
of a prisoner complaint and dismiss it if the action is
frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief.
Bey suffers from a seizure disorder. A member of the medical
staff determined that Turner Bey needs to be housed on the
200 range or below. As a result, he was issued a pass
indicating that he should be housed on the first or second
floor. Nonetheless, he has been placed on the 500 range. He
does not indicate who placed him on the 500 range. Although
the reasons are unclear, Lt. J. Connelly has directed that
the 500 range be treated as the second floor. Turner Bey
alleges that the 500 range is the fifth floor and that it
does not comply with his medical needs. Turner Bey has sued
five defendants as a result of his 200 range or below pass
not being honored: the Indiana Department of Correction,
Superintendent Ron Neal, Assistant Superintendent Mr. Pane,
Disciplinary Segregation Supervisor Lt. J. Connelly, and Ms.
initial matter, the IDOC is a State agency and is immune from
suit pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment. Wynn v.
Southward, 251 F.3d 588, 592 (7th Cir. 2001). There are
three exceptions to Eleventh Amendment immunity: (1) suits
directly against the State based on a cause of action where
Congress has abrogated the state's immunity from suit;
(2) suits directly against the State if the State waived its
sovereign immunity; and (3) suits against a State official
seeking prospective equitable relief for ongoing violations
of federal law. MCI Telecommunications Corp. v. Ill.
Commerce Comm' n, 183 F.3d 558, 563 (7th Cir. 1999).
Although one would think that what Mr. Turner Bey really
wants is an injunction to force the State to house him in
accordance with his doctor's suggestion, a review of the
Complaint shows the contrary; what he wants is money. DE 1 at
5. So none of the three exceptions discussed above apply
here, meaning Turner Bey cannot state a claim against the
medical cases, the Eighth Amendment test is expressed in
terms of whether the defendant was deliberately indifferent
to the plaintiff's serious medical need. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976). A medical need is
“serious” if it is “one that has been
diagnosed by a physician 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). Here, while
Turner Bey has a serious medical need, he has not alleged
that Superintendent Ron Neal, Assistant Superintendent Mr.
Pane, or Lt. J. Connelly knew it. Without knowledge of his
circumstances, these defendants cannot be deliberately
indifferent to Turner Bey's needs.
Fritter from the medical department did know of Turner
Bey's medical need. But documents attached to the
complaint show that Ms. Fritter confirmed that Turner Bey had
a pass to be housed in 200 range or below. There are no facts
in the complaint suggesting that Turner Bey was dissatisfied
with the care he received from Ms. Fritter, or that she was
in any way deliberately indifferent to his medical needs.
Therefore, Turner Bey has not stated a claim against Ms.
the amended complaint does not state a claim, Turner Bey will
be afforded an opportunity to replead his claims. Luevano
v. WalMart Stores, Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1022-23, 1025
(7th Cir. 2013); Loubser v. Thacker, 440 F.3d 439,
443 (7th Cir. 2006). In the amended complaint, he should
explain in his own words what happened, when it happened,
where it happened, who was involved, and how he was
personally injured by the conditions he describes, providing
as much detail as possible. Essentially, he needs to connect
the dots. To do so, he needs to explain who knew of his need
to be housed on the 200 range or below and disregarded it.
these reasons, the court:
(1) DIRECTS the clerk to place this cause number on a blank
Prisoner Complaint form (INND Rev. 8/16) and sent it to Akeem
(2) GRANTS Akeem Turner Bey to and including May 28, 2018, to
file an amended complaint; and
(3) CAUTIONS him that if he does not respond by the deadline,
this case will be dismissed without further notice pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because the current complaint does
not state a claim.