United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ROBERT A. BELL, Plaintiff,
A. WILLIAMS, KEITH BUTTS, THELMA NORNES, GEO GROUP, INC., Defendants.
ENTRY GRANTING MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT, SCREENING
AMENDED COMPLAINT, AND DIRECTING SERVICE OF PROCESS
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
plaintiff's motion to amend complaint, dkt. , is
granted. The clerk is directed to redocket dkt. 11-1 as the
amended complaint in this action.
plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at New Castle
Correctional Facility (“New Castle”). 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 amended complaint before
service on the defendants. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b), the Court must dismiss the amended 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 amended
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
[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).
The Amended Complaint
complaint names nine defendants: 1) A. Williams, 2) Keith
Butts, 3) Thelma Nornes, 4) GEO Group, Inc., 5) Roy Davis, 6)
Glen Thompson, 7) Jennifer French, 8) Nicole Driscoll, and 9)
Scott Fitch. The plaintiff alleges that he is a target
for extortion by other inmates in protective custody because
he is known to be a sex offender, he is small in stature, and
he has access to more money than most inmates and this is
evident to other inmates when they observe the
plaintiff's sizable commissary orders. He alleges that on
around March 13, 2018, another inmate threatened to beat him
if he did not give the other inmate Thirty Dollars ($30.00)
alerted all the individual defendants to the threat in
letters and requests for interview. He complained directly to
defendants Williams and Nornes during a classification
hearing on March 14, 2018. They acknowledged that they had
received the plaintiff's written communications regarding
the situation. The plaintiff requested to be separated from
the inmate that threatened him and requested to be moved to a
different protective custody pod. Defendants Williams and
Nornes refused the plaintiff's requests and told him to
stop giving other inmates his commissary.
March 21, 2018, the inmate who had threatened the plaintiff
beat him because he refused to pay the inmate the monthly
extortion payment. After the beating, the plaintiff
experienced excruciating pain and bruising and required four
stitches for a cut on his forehead. The plaintiff alleges
that the defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to his
physical safety, and he was injured as a result. The
plaintiff also raises state law claims of negligence against
all nine defendants and battery against the eight individual
defendants. Finally, he alleges that defendant GEO Group,
Inc. has a policy of deliberate indifference to inmate's
complaints regarding threats of physical violence from other
inmates and that GEO Group, Inc. has breached its contract.
He seeks declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and monetary
on the screening standard described above, certain claims
shall proceed while others will be dismissed. First, the
plaintiff's battery claim against the individual
defendants is dismissed for failure to state
a claim for which relief can be granted. The plaintiff does
not allege any facts to support a claim that these defendants
battered the plaintiff.
the following claims shall proceed as
presented in the complaint:
• Deliberate indifference claims against defendants
Williams, Butts, Nornes, Davis, Thompson, French, ...