United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
case arises out of Plaintiff Michael Fisher's September
2017 stay in the Marion County Jail. Mr. Fisher filed the
instant Complaint against the Marion County Jail, the Marion
County Sheriff's Office, Lt. Col. James Martin, Marion
County Sheriff John Layton, and three unnamed jail guards
(“Defendants”), alleging that he
suffered physical injuries while in custody in violation of
state law and the United States Constitution. Presently
pending before the Court is Defendants' partial Motion to
Dismiss. For the following reasons, the Court
GRANTS Defendants' Motion in part and
DENIES Defendants' Motion in part.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move to
dismiss a claim that does not state a right to relief. The
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint
provide the defendant with “fair notice of what
the…claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93
(2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007)). In reviewing the sufficiency of a
complaint, the Court must accept all well-pled facts as true
and draw all permissible inferences in favor of the
plaintiff. See Active Disposal Inc. v. City of
Darien, 635 F.3d 883, 886 (7th Cir. 2011). A Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss asks whether the complaint
“contain[s] sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
The Court will not accept legal conclusions or conclusory
allegations as sufficient to state a claim for relief.
See McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d
611, 617 (7th Cir. 2011). Factual allegations must plausibly
state an entitlement to relief “to a degree that rises
above the speculative level.” Munson v. Gaetz,
673 F.3d 630, 633 (7th Cir. 2012). This plausibility
determination is “a context-specific task that requires
the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense.” Id.
following allegations are taken from Mr. Fisher's
Complaint, [Filing No. 1], and are accepted as true
for purposes of deciding the pending Motion, consistent with
the applicable standard of review.
September 21, 2017, Mr. Fisher was arrested for public
intoxication and held at the Marion County Jail. [Filing
No. 1 at 3.] In the early morning hours of September 22,
2017, Mr. Fisher requested that the jail guards administer
his prescribed medications. [Filing No. 1 at 3.] In
response to this request, three jail guards removed Mr.
Fisher from his cell and took him to a secluded area, where
they proceeded to “kick, beat, stomp, and otherwise
physically assault” him. [Filing No. 1 at 3.]
Mr. Fisher sought treatment from the jail nurse, and she
informed him that the doctor could not help him with broken
ribs and that the Marion County Jail would not treat his
injuries until he was moved to general population.
[Filing No. 1 at 4.] Mr. Fisher also reported the
assault to a jail employee while being fingerprinted, but
that employee did not respond and did not report Mr.
Fisher's complaint. [Filing No. 1 at 4.] Both
the fingerprinting employee and the nurse refused to provide
Mr. Fisher with a grievance form. [Filing No. 1 at
September 25, 2017, after Mr. Fisher's release from jail,
he sought medical treatment at St. Francis Hospital.
[Filing No. 1 at 4.] The doctors ordered X-rays and
diagnosed Mr. Fisher with broken ribs. [Filing No. 1 at
4.] On October 31, 2017, Mr. Fisher went to Eskenazi
Hospital, where doctors also performed X-rays and diagnosed
him with broken ribs and “other physical trauma.”
[Filing No. 1 at 4.]
October 24, 2017, Mr. Fisher sent a Notice of Tort Claim to
Defendants, the Office of the Attorney General, and the
Indiana Political Management Risk Assessment Office.
[Filing No. 1 at 4.] On March 5, 2017, Mr. Fisher
filed this lawsuit asserting various state law and federal
constitutional claims against Defendants under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. [Filing No. 1 at 11-14.] Defendants
have moved to dismiss several of Mr. Fisher's claims, and
that Motion is now ripe for the Court's review.
[Filing No. 10.]
Court notes at the outset that Mr. Fisher's Complaint
identifies the claims being raised in a confusing manner. He
raises sixteen claims against various defendants, though
several of the claim numbers are repeated, and several
reference a city defendant who is not a party to this
lawsuit. [Filing No. 1 at 23.] The Court has done
its best to construe the Complaint despite the complicated
support of their Motion to Dismiss, Defendants argue that:
(1) all claims against the Marion County Jail should be
dismissed because the Jail is an entity not amenable to suit;
(2) Count XI should be dismissed because employees of a
single government entity cannot be held liable for conspiring
to interfere with Mr. Fisher's civil rights; (3) the
official capacity claims against Lt. Col. Martin and Sheriff
Layton should be dismissed because they are duplicative of
the claims against the Marion County Sheriff's Office;
(4) the due process and equal protection claims in Count VI
should be dismissed because (a) the claim should be addressed
within another claim already raised by Mr. Fisher, or (b)
Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity; and (5) Count
XIV should be dismissed because the conduct alleged does not
constitute a First Amendment violation and/or Defendants are
entitled to qualified immunity. The Court addresses each
argument in turn.