United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ANTHONY C. MARTIN, Plaintiff,
LARRY FOWLER, LISA ASH, DUSHAN ZATECKY, ALSIP, LIGONIER, COLE, MICHELLE RAINS, PENNY EDEN, DAVIS, LONG, STANFORD, SARAH PECKHAM, PAULA DICKSON,  Defendants.
ENTRY SCREENING FOURTH AMENDED COMPLAINT AND
DIRECTING SERVICE OF PROCESS
WALTON PRATT, United States District Court Judge
plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at
Correctional Industrial Facility (“CIF”). 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 fourth amended 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).
fourth amended complaint names thirteen defendants: 1) Larry
Fowler, 2) Lisa Ash, 3) Dushan Zatecky, 4) Mr. Alsip, 5) Mr.
Ligonier, 6) Mr. Cole, 7) Michelle Rains, 8) Penny Eden, 9)
Paula Dickerson, 10) Sarah Peckham, 11) Officer Davis, 12)
Internal Affairs Long, and 13) Internal Affairs Sandford. The
plaintiff alleges that, after reporting sexual assault at
Indiana State Prison, he was transferred to Pendleton
Correctional Facility where the defendants retaliated against
him for his complaints at Indiana State Prison by withholding
and destroying his legal papers and denying him access to the
law library and courts. He seeks monetary and injunctive
Discussion of Claims
the screening standard to the factual allegations in the
complaint certain claims are dismissed while other claims
shall proceed as submitted.
all claims against Mr. Ligonier, Mr. Cole and Paula Dickson
are dismissed because the complaint contains
no factual allegations against them.
all claims against Dushan Zatecky and Mr. Alsip are
dismissed. “A damages suit under
§ 1983 requires that a defendant be personally involved
in the alleged constitutional deprivation.” Matz v.
Klotka, 769 F.3d 517, 528 (7th Cir. 2014); see 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). See also Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592,
593-94 (7th Cir. 2009) (“Section 1983 does not
establish a system of vicarious responsibility. Liability
depends on each defendant's knowledge and actions, not on
the knowledge or actions of persons they supervise. . . .
Monell's rule [is that] that public employees
are responsible for their own misdeeds but not for anyone
else's.”)(citing Monell v. New York City
Dep't of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978)).
“knowledge of a subordinate's misconduct is not
enough for liability.” Vance v. Rumsfeld, 701
F.3d 193, 203 (7th Cir. 2012) (en banc). Indeed,
“inaction following receipt of a complaint about
someone else's conduct is [insufficient].”
Estate of Miller by Chassie v. Marberry, ___ F.3d
___, 2017 WL 396568, *3 (7th Cir. 2017). Mr. Martin has not
alleged that Mr. Zatecky or Mr. Alsip were personally
involved in the alleged constitutional violations. Instead,
he only alleges that they failed to respond to his complaints
about the violations. Such allegations are insufficient to
state a claim under § 1983.
Mr. Martin's Fourth Amendment and gross negligence claims
based on the search of his computer files on the Pendleton
Correctional law library servers are
dismissed. A convicted prisoner, while in
prison, has “no reasonable expectation of privacy in
his prison cell that would protect him under the Fourth
Amendment from unreasonable searches and seizures of his
property.” King v. McCarty, 781 F.3d 889, 899
(7th Cir. 2015). This principle extends to a prisoner's
mail and computer files, given that a “right of privacy
in traditional Fourth Amendment terms is fundamentally
incompatible with the close and continual surveillance of
inmates and their cells required to ensure institutional
security and internal order.” Hudson v.
Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 527-28 (1984).
Mr. Martin's claim that the defendants prevented him from
filing grievances is dismissed. The Prison
Litigation Reform Act's exhaustion requirement does not,
however, create a freestanding right under federal law to
access the administrative remedy process. The Seventh Circuit
has “specifically denounc[ed] a Fourteenth Amendment
substantive due process right to an inmate grievance
procedure.” Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d
763, 772 (7th Cir. 2008). As explained in Antonelli v.
Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1430-31 (7th Cir. 1996),
“any right to a grievance procedure is a procedural
right, not a substantive one. ...