United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Derrell Robertson, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed an
amended complaint. A filing by an unrepresented party
“is to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint,
however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)
(quotation marks and citations omitted). Nevertheless,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must review the
merits of a prisoner complaint and dismiss it if the action
is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief.
28, 2018, while Robertson was on suicide watch at the Grant
County Jail, he alleges he told Captain Todd Fleece he was
suicidal. In response, Captain Fleece removed him from the
suicide observation cell and put him in cell 1-C, “the
drunk tank” where he remained until July 30, 2018, when
he was released from the jail. In medical cases, the question
is whether the defendant was deliberately indifferent to the
plaintiff's serious medical need. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976). A medical need is
“serious” if it is “one that has been
diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that
is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize
the necessity for a doctor's attention.” Greeno
v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005). Here, given
that Robertson was on suicide watch and reporting that he
continued to be suicidal, he has plausibly stated a claim
against Captain Fleece for denying him medical treatment by
taking him off suicide watch.
addition, Robertson alleges Captain Fleece did not issue him
a stacker bunk, mattress, or personal hygiene kit. He does
not say whether anyone else issued him any of those items. He
does not say whether Captain Fleece or someone else at the
Grant County Jail is responsible for issuing those items to
inmates. He does not say whether he asked anyone else for
those items. He does not say whether Captain Fleece ordered
that he not receive those items. He does not say what hygiene
items he needed but did not have. He does not explain where
or how he slept for the two nights before he was transferred
back to the custody of the Indiana Department of Correction.
As written, the amended complaint does not contain sufficient
facts to state a plausible claim with regard to the bunk,
mattress, or hygiene kit.
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to
“state a claim that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
pleaded factual content 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) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level, on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact).” Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555 (quotation marks, citations and footnote omitted).
“[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court
to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the
complaint has alleged-but it has not shown-that the pleader
is entitled to relief.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679 (quotation marks and brackets omitted). Thus, “a
plaintiff must do better than putting a few words on paper
that, in the hands of an imaginative reader, might suggest
that something has happened to her that might be redressed by
the law.” Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d
400, 403 (7th Cir. 2010) (emphasis in original).
Robertson alleges he was not allowed to shower while in the
“drunk tank” for two nights and three days.
However, he has not alleged he had a specific need to shower
and limiting inmates to weekly showers is not a
constitutional violation. Jaros v. Illinois Dep't of
Corr., 684 F.3d 667, 671 (7th Cir. 2012). Therefore this
allegation does not state a claim.
these reasons, the court:
GRANTS Jerome Derrell Robertson leave to proceed against
Captain Todd Fleece in his individual capacity for
compensatory damages for denying him medical care from July
28, 2018, to July 30, 2018, by removing him from suicide
observation and putting him in cell 1-C, “the drunk
tank” with other mentally ill inmates in violation of
the Eighth Amendment;
DISMISSES all other claims;
DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Service, as
required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d), to issue and serve
process with a copy of this order and the Amended Complaint
(ECF 11) on Captain Todd Fleece at the Grant County Jail; and
(4) ORDERS, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), Captain
Todd Fleece to respond, as provided for in the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure and N.D. Ind. L.R. ...