United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY SCREENING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING SERVICE OF
William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court
plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Wabash
Valley Correctional Facility (“Wabash Valley”).
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). 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).
complaint names eighteen defendants. The plaintiff alleges
that S. Gonzalez, a correctional officer at Wabash Valley,
yelled to his entire cell house that he was a snitch. He
alleges C. Gonzalez did this on more than one occasion and
several other correctional officers failed to assist the
plaintiff when he asked for help with the situation.
plaintiff also alleges that C. Gonzalez falsely accused him
of spitting on her. Even though other correctional officers
who arrived shortly after the alleged incident did not
believe C. Gonzalez, Sergeants McKinney and Shaw used
excessive force against the plaintiff by spraying him with
chemical agents. The plaintiff asserts that this assault was
the direct result of C. Gonzalez telling everyone he was a
snitch. A disciplinary report was filed against the plaintiff
for the alleged spitting but after being convicted, he won
his administrative appeal. Nevertheless, he asserts claims
against the Wabash Valley employees who participated in his
disciplinary action and its appeal. He also claims that
Robert Carter, Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner,
is responsible for the actions of his employees and that all
the named defendants were made aware of his situation and did
nothing. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Discussion of Claims
the screening standard to the factual allegations in the
complaint certain claims are dismissed while other claims
shall proceed as submitted.
defendants Zatecky and Bodkin are dismissed
because the complaint contains no factual allegations against
them. “Where a complaint alleges no specific act or
conduct on the part of the defendant and the complaint is
silent as to the defendant except for his name appearing in
the caption, the complaint is properly dismissed.”
Potter v. Clark, 497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir.1974).
all claims against Robert Carter, Jr., Duane Alsip, L. Mason,
J. Reed, Toukette, and Myers 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). Mere “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);
the only allegations the plaintiff raises against Robert
Carter, Jr., Duane Alsip, L. Mason, J. Reed, Toukette, and
Myers are that they were aware of the plaintiff's
situation with S. Gonzalez and failed to act. These
allegations are insufficient to state a claim. Thus, these
defendants must be dismissed. See Marberry, 2017 WL
396568, at *3 (holding that summary judgment for the
Superintendent was proper because the plaintiff's
allegations-that the Superintendent “brushed off his
complaints, leaving them to be handled through the chain of
command”-were insufficient to demonstrate the personal
responsibility necessary to state a § 1983 claim; such
allegations brought the plaintiff's “claim within
the scope of Iqbal, Vance, and
Burks rather than Haywood”); see
also Olive v. Wexford Corp., 494 Fed.Appx. 671, 673 (7th
Cir. 2012) (“[The plaintiff] does contend that he
complained to [the head of the prison medical department]
Shicker about [his treating doctor's] decisions and that
Shicker did not intervene to help him. But both
Iqbal and Burks hold that a supervisor is
not liable just because a complaint is made and an effective
solution is not forthcoming.”).
all claims against J. Schurman, A. Smith, King, M. Caylor, H.
Duncan and M. Stamper are dismissed. The
only allegations raised against these defendants relate to
their role in handling the plaintiff's grievances, his
disciplinary action, and its appeal. 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. Accordingly, a state's
inmate grievance procedures do not give rise to a liberty
interest protected by the Due Process Clause.”
Id. at 1430-31(internal citations omitted). Because
the plaintiff had no expectation of a particular outcome of
his grievances or ...