United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER SCREENING AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND
DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO SHOW CAUSE
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
Screening and Dismissing Complaint A.
Benjamin H. Lee, Sr. is a prisoner currently incarcerated at
Indiana State Prison. The complaint relates to events that
occurred while he was incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional
Facility. 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. 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 under federal pleading standards,
[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to 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). Thus, a
“plaintiff must do better than putting a few words on
paper that, in the hands of an imaginative reader, might
suggest that something has happened to [him] that might be
redressed by the law.” Swanson v. Citibank,
N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 403 (7th Cir. 2010).
names as defendants: (1) Officer Barge; (2) K. Serour; and
(3) Pendleton CF. He alleges that although he handed mail to
Officer Barge, that mail was found on the microwave by an
inmate the next day. He alleges that he handed legal mail to
K. Serour to be mailed out by the mail library, but it was
returned to him two days later. He also asserts this was a
violation of Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) policy.
He alleges that Pendleton CF fails to train its employees
“on how to do a job, but when the job is not done
right[, ] they just wave it off.” Dkt. 2 at 3
(capitalization modified). For relief, he requests
“some [form] of compensation and some type of action
taken against them for no[t] doing the job right!”
Id. at 4.
Discussion of Claims
has, at most, alleged access-to-courts claims against Officer
Barge and K. Serour, but these claims must be
dismissed for failure to state a claim
because there are no allegations of injury. “Prisoners
have a fundamental right of access to the courts that prisons
must facilitate by providing legal assistance.” In
re Maxy, 674 F.3d 658, 660 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing
Bounds .v Smith, 430 U.S. 817 (1977)). At the same time,
however, prisoners do not have an “abstract,
freestanding right to a law library or legal
assistance.” Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351
(1996). Thus, to prevail on an access-to-courts claim, a
prisoner must “submit evidence that he suffered actual
injury-i.e., that prison officials interfered with his legal
materials-and that the interference actually prejudiced him
in his pending litigation.” Devbrow v.
Gallegos, 735 F.3d 584, 587 (7th Cir. 2013) (citations
omitted). Mr. Lee does not allege that the mail he gave
Officer Barge was legal mail. In addition, he does not allege
that the returned legal mail caused any harm to any specific
claims against Pendleton CF must be dismissed for
failure to state a claim because Pendleton CF is a
building, not a suable entity under § 1983.
also alleges a claim for K. Serour's failure to comply
with IDOC policy, rules and procedures. K. Serour's
alleged failure to follow IDOC policy, rules, and procedures
does not, in and of itself, violate the Constitution.
Estate of Simpson v. Gorbett, 863 F.3d 740, 746 (7th
Cir. 2017) (“Section 1983 protects against
constitutional violations, not violations of ... departmental
regulation and ... practices[.]”) (internal quotation
omitted); Waubanascum v. Shawano County, 416 F.3d
658, 670 (7th Cir. 2005) (neither negligence nor a violation
of state law provide a basis for liability under §
1983); J.H. ex rel. Higgin v. Johnson, 346 F.3d 788,
793 (7th Cir. 2003) (“State law violations do not form
the basis for imposing § 1983 liability.”).
Further, there is no indication that K. Serour's alleged
failure to follow IDOC policy, rules, and procedures
otherwise violated Mr. Lee's constitutional rights.
Accordingly, any claim related to a violation of IDOC policy,
rules, and procedures is dismissed for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Mr. Lee's complaint must be dismissed for failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
Duty to Update Address
pro se plaintiff shall report any change of address
within ten (10) days of any change. The Court must be able to
locate the plaintiff to communicate with him. If the
plaintiff fails to keep the Court informed of his current
address, the action may be subject ...