United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
JOSEPH A. ESPARZA, Plaintiff,
DELANEY, STURGEN, JENNIFER SMITH, DELK, WOOD, BLUNT, and DR. CABARRA. Defendants.
ENTRY DISCUSSING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING ISSUANCE OF
WILLIAM C. GRIESBACH, CHIEF JUDGE [*]
September 20, 2018, Plaintiff Joseph A. Esparza, who is
currently serving a state sentence at New Castle Correctional
Facility, filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging that his civil rights were violated.
This matter comes before the court for screening
Esparza's complaint and on his petition to proceed in
to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
Esparza is required to pay the $400.00 filing fee for this
action, which includes the $350.00 statutory filing fee and a
$50.00 administrative fee. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(1). If a prisoner does not have the money to pay the
filing fee, he can request leave to proceed without
prepayment of the full filing fee. In that case, the prisoner
plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis is required
to pay the full amount of the $350.00 statutory filing fee
but not the $50.00 administrative fee. See Id.
Esparza has filed a certified copy of his prison trust
account statement for the six-month period immediately
preceding the filing of his complaint, as required under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2), and has been assessed and paid an
initial partial filing fee of $41.24. Esparza's motion
for leave to proceed in forma pauperis will be
of the Complaint
court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the
prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous
or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. § 1915A(b). A
claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact. Denton v. Hernandez, 504
U.S. 25, 31 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989); Hutchinson ex rel. Baker v. Spink,
126 F.3d 895, 900 (7th Cir. 1997).
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter “that
is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The court accepts
the factual allegations as true and liberally construes them
in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729
F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 2013). Nevertheless, the
complaint's allegations “must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted).
of the Complaint
alleges that, on July 28, 2018 at around 10:40 A.M., he fell
down the stairs in his cell block after slipping on water.
Esparza attempted to stabilize himself but was not able to do
so. He alleges that he could have stabilized himself if the
defendants had not denied him his prescribed knee brace.
Esparza alleges that his fall caused him to hit his head on
something hard. As a result of the fall, Esparza claims he
was knocked out for some length of time and was disoriented
when he regained consciousness. An inmate who saw Esparza
fall alerted Officers Sturgen and Delaney. Instead of
“call[ing] a signal” as Sturgen intended, Delaney
walked Esparza to obtain medical help, thereby contravening
facility policy. No report was made and no emergency care was
was walked to nurse Lisa Blunt, who checked Esparza's
blood pressure and provided him with two Tylenol pills.
Esparza told Blunt about his skull being tender and feeling
fractured. Esparza also told Blunt that his stomach scar
opened due to his fall and that he was experiencing spinal
and lower back pain. Blunt did not check Esparza for a
concussion, did not inspect his head, did not address his
torn stomach scar, and did not inspect his back.
August 2, 2018, Esparza saw Dr. Cabarra. Esparza alleges that
Dr. Cabarra prescribed him medication “he knows causes
me great pain and suffering . . . .” ECF No. 1, ¶
10. Aside from this medication, Dr. Cabarra did nothing for
Esparza's injuries. Dr. Cabarra did not order any testing
to further investigate Esparza's complaints despite
Esparza telling Dr. Cabarra about all of his injuries from
alleges that he filed several grievance complaints in August
2018 regarding his need for medical care. In response to
Esparza's grievances, Grievance Coordinator Jennifer
Smith made “petty requests” for Esparza to amend
his grievance forms. Esparza alleges that these
“unnecessary” requests forced him into procedural
default. He alleges that Smith did not investigate any of his
alleges several injuries or “possible injuries”
from his fall. These injuries include a bruised left arm, a
potentially fractured left arm bone, severe back pain that
makes moving in and out of bed difficult, a “large
goose egg” on his head, a potentially fractured skull,
a possible concussion, and general dizziness and confusion.
To date, Esparza alleges that he continues to experience
ongoing pain and suffering for which he is not receiving
has sued the defendants in their individual and official
capacities, demanding $5 million in compensatory damages,
punitive damages between $60, 000 and $100, 000, a
declaration stating that the ...