United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
CHRISTOPHER G. LEWIS, Plaintiff,
DUSHAUN ZATECKY individually and in his official capacity, as Warden for the Pendleton Correction Facility, DUANE ALSIP individually and in his official capacity, as Assistant Superintendent of Operations for the Pendleton Correctional Facility, ANDREW POPP individually and in his official capacity, as a Correctional Officer at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, RICHARD WILSON individually and in his official capacity, as an Internal Investigation Officer at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, DUNCAN individually and in his official capacity, as the Internal Investigation Supervisor over the Pendleton Correctional Facility, JENNIFER SCHURMAN individually and in her official capacity, as the PREA Coordinator at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, NICOLE CLOYD individually and in her official capacity, as the Human Resources Director at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, RICHARD COLESTOCK individually and in his official capacity, as a Correctional Officer for the Pendleton Correctional Facility, Defendants.
ORDER SCREENING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING SERVICE OF
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN
DISTRICT OF INDIANA
Christopher Lewis (“Lewis”) is a prisoner
currently incarcerated at Plainfield Correctional Facility.
Lewis has filed a Complaint relating to events that occurred
while he was incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional Facility
(Pendleton). Because the Lewis 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.
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
alleges that on June 18, 2017, Officer Popp applied handcuffs
to him during a shakedown, and while Lewis was handcuffed,
Officer Popp stuck his hand into Lewis' left pocket and
fondled his genitals. Lewis further alleges that between June
18, 2017, through June 28, 2017, Officer Popp sexually
propositioned and harassed him and made threats against Lewis
to coax Lewis into having sexual relations with him.
Additionally, Officer Popp filed a class B disciplinary
conduct report against Lewis to sexually coerce him. Lewis
refused all the sexual advances.
states that, on June 28, 2017, he reported Officer Popp's
behavior to Sergeant Colestock, but Sergeant Colestock
refused to take any action or report it. Lewis later filed a
Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) complaint and filed a
complaint with Internal Affairs (“I.A.”). He was
interviewed by Officer Richard Wilson and another officer.
Officer Wilson later told Lewis, on July 12, 2017, that
Officer Popp was terminated because of his prior sexual
indiscretions toward a prisoner at the Henry County Jail,
where Officer Popp worked a second job. The accusations
towards Officer Popp at the Henry Country Jail came to light
after Lewis' PREA complaint. Officer Wilson told Lewis
that he believed Officer Popp's accusations in the
disciplinary conduct report were false and would talk to the
disciplinary hearing officer, but Lewis was found guilty of,
and sanctioned for, the conduct report. Lewis further asserts
that he wrote Warden Zatecky a letter on July 13, 2017,
asking Warden Zatecky to intervene on his behalf. He asserts
that the other identified individuals are responsible because
they had a duty to train their employees or were responsible
for his welfare and needs.
requests injunctive relief to be free of sexual abuse and
retaliation at Pendleton and monetary damages.
DISCUSSION OF CLAIMS
on the above screening, Lewis' Eighth Amendment cruel and
unusual punishment claim shall proceed
against defendant Officer Popp.
alleges that several jail officials failed to ensure his
safety. Jail officials have a duty to protect inmates.
See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 833 (1994).
However, they only incur liability for the breach of that
duty when they were “aware of a substantial risk of
serious injury to [an inmate] but nevertheless failed to take
appropriate steps to protect him from a known danger.”
Guzman v. Sheahan, 495 F.3d 852, 857 (7th Cir. 2007)
(quoting Butera v. Cottey, 285 F.3d 601, 605 (7th
Cir. 2002)); see also Santiago v. Walls, 599 F.3d
749, 758-59 (7th Cir. 2010). Damages for “a deliberate
indifference claim cannot be predicated merely on knowledge
of general risks of violence, ” Weiss v.
Cooley, 230 F.3d 1027, 1032 (7th Cir.2000), or fear of
an unrealized attack, see Babcock v. White, 102 F.3d
267, 270 (7th Cir. 1996).
Eighth Amendment failure to protect claims against the
non-Popp defendants are dismissed for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted because Lewis has
failed to allege that any of the non-Popp defendants were
specifically aware of a substantial risk of injury to Lewis
from Officer Popp or that Officer Popp had a history of
sexual indiscretions with inmates. Although several of the
non-Popp defendants received Lewis' PREA and IA
complaints and eventually learned of Officer Popp's
sexual improprieties at Henry County Jail, the non-Popp
defendants did not become aware of these allegations until
after all the alleged injuries were already complete.
Lewis' claims against the non-Popp defendants are
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted because he has failed to allege that they were
personally involved with his constitutional deprivation.
“Individual liability under § 1983…
requires personal involvement in the alleged constitutional
deprivation.” Colbert v. City of Chicago, 851
F.3d 649, 657 (7th Cir. 2017) (internal quotation omitted)
(citing Wolf-Lillie v. Sonquist, 699 F.2d 864, 869
(7th Cir. 1983) (“Section 1983 creates a cause of
action based on personal liability and predicated upon fault.
An individual cannot be held liable in a § 1983 action
unless he caused or participated in an alleged constitutional
deprivation.... A causal connection, or an affirmative link,
between the misconduct complained of and the official sued is
necessary.”)). 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, 847 F.3d 425, 428 (7th Cir. 2017);
see Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 595 (7th Cir.
2009) (“[The plaintiff's] view that everyone who
knows about a prisoner's problem must pay damages implies