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Hubbard v. Indiana Department of Correction

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

April 30, 2018

BYRON HUBBARD, Plaintiff,
v.
INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, WEXFORD OF INDIANA, LLC, THE GEO GROUP, INC, MARION COUNTY JAIL, HAMILTON COUNTY JAIL, ARAMARK CORRECTIONS SERVICES, LLC, CORIZON CORRECTIONS MEDICAL CORPORATION, JOHN DOE, 1-25, MARION COUNTY SHERIFF, HAMILTON COUNTY SHERIFF, Defendants.

          ENTRY GRANTING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS, DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL, DISCUSSING COMPLAINT, AND DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

          SARAH EVANS BARKER, JUDGE United States District Court

         I. Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis

         The plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, dkt. [2], is granted. The assessment of an initial partial filing fee is not feasible at this time.

         II. Motion to Appoint Counsel

         The plaintiff's motion for assistance with recruiting counsel, dkt. [4], is denied as premature. the defendants have not been identified and served. The Seventh Circuit has found that “until the defendants respond to the complaint, the plaintiff's need for assistance of counsel . . . cannot be gauged.” Kadamovas v. Stevens, 706 F.3d 843, 845 (7th Cir. 2013).

         III. Screening of the Complaint

         A. 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); see also Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). 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).

         B. Discussion

         The plaintiff alleges generally that the defendants have interfered with his necessary medications. He asserts that the defendants have failed to bring his medications when he has been transported between facilities for court hearings and have otherwise denied his medications. He asserts that the policy of defendants IDOC, GEO, and Wexford was the moving force behind the denial of his medication. He seeks damages and injunctive relief.

         Applying the screening standard to the factual allegations in the complaint, the complaint must be dismissed.

         First, any claim against the Indiana Department of Correction must be dismissed. The Eleventh Amendment bars private lawsuits in federal court against a state that has not consented. Joseph v. Board of Regents of University of Wisconsin System, 432 F.3d 746, 748 (7th Cir. 2005). An agency of the state enjoys that same immunity. Nuñez v. Indiana Dep't of Child Services, 817 F.3d 1042, 1044 (7th Cir. ...


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