United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
LOWELL B. SMITH, DONALD G. DOWDEN, EDDIE JAMES BROWN, JR., MELVIN GENE FOREE, JARED ALLEN MICHAEL PARTON, DANIEL L. ROBBINS, SEAN GARRET GRIFFITH, SEAN ROBERTS, JADEN L. BALLARD, RANDY HAKIM WILSON, ANTON LAMONT THOMPSON, JARED EVANS, DAVID COPP, KENNETH COLE SIDWELL, Plaintiffs,
MATT MYERS, BOOTH, Defendants.
ENTRY DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING FURTHER
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
plaintiffs are a group of 14 inmates at the Bartholomew
County Jail. Multiple-plaintiff actions for prisoners, while
allowed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 20, present significant practical
difficulties. The first is that the law in this Circuit is
that each plaintiff must pay the $400 filing fee or seek
in forma pauperis status. Boriboune v.
Berge, 391 F.3d 852, 855 (7th Cir. 2004) (citing
Hubbard v. Haley, 262 F.3d 1194 (11th Cir. 2001)).
the plaintiffs are “prisoners” as defined by 28
U.S.C. § 1915(h), this Court has an obligation under 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b) to screen their 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 plaintiffs 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).
plaintiffs have joined together to file this civil action
against Sheriff Matt Myers and Officer Booth. On July 18,
2018, the plaintiffs were allegedly subjected to Officer
Booth's inappropriate and unprofessional conduct.
Specifically, when Officer Booth was returning clean laundry
to the housing unit some inmates complained that their
laundry had not been picked up for cleaning earlier in the
morning. In response Officer Booth allegedly stated
I don't know how you didn't hear me because I've
got a big f***ing mouth and I hollered five or six different
times. I've also got a big f***ing dick. Do you want to
the officer allegedly grabbed his penis. The plaintiff allege
that the defendants are liable to them for sexual harassment
based on this interaction. They seek an apology and $250, 000
split equally between the plaintiffs.
Complaint is Dismissed
plaintiffs' complaint must be dismissed because it does
not allege a violation of a federally secured right.
example, the claim that Officer Booker's statement while
grabbing himself violated the inmates' constitutional
rights would necessarily arise pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. The first inquiry in every § 1983 case is whether
there has been the deprivation of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States, for without a
predicate constitutional violation one cannot make out a
prima facie case under § 1983. Juriss v.
McGowan, 957 F.2d 345, 349 n.1 (7th Cir. 1992). The
complaint falters at this point, because, although
indefensible and unprofessional, isolated verbal abuse,
harassment, and unprofessional conduct do not rise to the
level of a constitutional violation for which relief may be
granted in a civil rights case. DeWalt v. Carter,
224 F.3d 607, 612 (7th Cir. 2000). “Standing alone,
simple verbal harassment does not constitute cruel and
unusual punishment, deprive a ...