United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS,
SCREENING AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT, AND DIRECTING PLAINTIFF
TO SHOW CAUSE
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
In Forma Pauperis
plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis,
dkt. , is granted. Notwithstanding the
foregoing ruling, “[a]ll [28 U.S.C.] § 1915 has
ever done is excuse pre- payment of the docket fees;
a litigant remains liable for them, and for other costs,
although poverty may make collection impossible.”
Abdul-Wadood v. Nathan, 91 F.3d 1023, 1025 (7th Cir.
1996). The assessment of even an initial partial filing fee
is waived because the plaintiff has no assets and no means by
which to pay a partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(4). Accordingly, no initial partial filing fee is due
at this time.
prisoner John Sims brings this civil rights action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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.”
Perez v. Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 768, 776 (7th Cir. 2015)
(internal quotation omitted).
Complaint names as defendants Officers John Doe, Officers
Jane Doe, Sgt. John Doe, and Sheriff Officers of Marion
County Jail. Mr. Sims seeks compensatory and punitive damages
and a declaratory judgment. He alleges that he is mentally
ill and was confined at the Marion County Jail
(“Jail”) from October 1, 2017, through January
26, 2018. He alleges that jail officers acted with deliberate
indifference, cruel and unusual punishment and dereliction of
duties. The Complaint must be dismissed for failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted
for the reasons discussed in this Entry.
Sims does not identify any defendant by name or description,
nor does he allege when each incident occurred. The claims
against all of the John and Jane Does and unnamed sheriff
officers are dismissed for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted because “it
is pointless to include lists of anonymous defendants in
federal court; this type of placeholder does not open the
door to relation back under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15, nor can it
otherwise help the plaintiff.” Wudtke v.
Davel, 128 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 1997) (internal
citations omitted). While it is true that if Mr. Sims had
stated a viable claim against the defendants he would be
allowed to conduct discovery to attempt to learn the identity
of the defendants, because no viable claim has been stated,
the claims are dismissed.
Sims alleges that he was sometimes denied recreation and
showers for up to seven to ten days. “A jail's
conditions violate the Eighth Amendment when (1) there is a
deprivation that is, from an objective standpoint,
sufficiently serious that it results in the denial of the
minimal civilized measure of life's necessities, and (2)
where [jail] officials are deliberately indifferent to this
state of affairs.” Estate of Simpson v.
Gorbett, 863 F.3d 740, 745 (7th Cir. 2017) (internal
quotation omitted). “Jail conditions may be
uncomfortable, even harsh, without being inhumane.”
Id. (internal quotation omitted). “Life's
necessities include shelter, heat, clothing, sanitation, and
hygiene items.” Morris v. Ley, 331 Fed.Appx.
417, 420 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Gillis v. Litscher,
468 F.3d 488, 493 (7th Cir. 2006)).
Court acknowledges that exercise is “a necessary
requirement for physical and mental well-being, ”
however, “short-term denials of exercise may be
inevitable in the prison context and are not so detrimental
as to constitute a constitutional deprivation.”
Delaney v. DeTella, 256 F.3d 679, 683-84 (7th Cir.
2001) (collecting cases). Mr. Sims does not allege that he
was denied all ability to exercise in his cell. A temporary
denial of outside recreation such as this does not state a
constitutional violation. Id.
addition, allowing an inmate a weekly shower does not violate
the Eighth Amendment or the inmate's Fourteenth Amendment
due process rights. Hardaway v. Meyerhoff, 734 F.3d
740, 744 (7th Cir. 2013); Jaros v. Illinois Dept. of
Corr., 684 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2012). Mr. Sims
further alleges that on two occasions, officers saw that he
had feces on his body, presumably placed there by Mr. Sims,
but they did not allow him to shower for 48 hours. Mr. Sims
does not allege that he could not remove the feces with
toilet paper or by other means. Moreover, he has not alleged
that any injury occurred as a result. The timing and number
of showers alleged do not state a constitutional violation.
For these reasons, the Eighth Amendment denial of showers and
outside exercise claims are dismissed for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Sims further alleges that an unidentified officer failed to
check on him every 30 minutes when he was on suicide watch,
in violation of jail policy. The alleged violation of jail
policy does not state a constitutional claim because no
action lies under § 1983 unless a plaintiff has asserted
the violation of a federal right. See Middlesex
County Sewage Auth. v. Nat'l Sea Clammers Ass'n,
453 U.S. 1, 19 (1981). “Section 1983 protects against
constitutional violations, not violations of ... departmental
regulation and ... practices[.]” Estate of
Simpson, 863 F.3d at 746 (internal quotation omitted).
In addition, Mr. Sims does not allege any injury occurred.
The claim relating to the periodic safety checks is
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
Mr. Sims alleges that Officer John Doe refused to feed him
“1 or 2 times during a 24 hour period.” Dkt. 1 at
p. 4. While the deliberate deprivation of food causing
substantial weight loss, stomach pains, or other physical
harm could result in a violation of the Eighth Amendment, the
denial of one or two meals on a single day simply does not
rise to the objective seriousness required of a
constitutional violation. See Jaros v. Illinois Dept. of
Corrections, 684 F.3d 667, 671 (7th Cir. 2012) (missing
morning meals occasionally was not alleged to endanger
inmate's health so no constitutional violation);
Prude v. Clarke,675 F.3d 732, 734 (7th Cir. 2012);