United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
DELORES LOOPER on behalf of the ESTATE OF JOSEPH LOOPER, Plaintiff,
WILLIAM BARR, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
A. BRADY JUDGE
Looper, proceeding without the benefit of counsel, has filed
a Complaint on behalf of the Estate of Joseph Looper. She has
named four defendants: United States Attorney General William
Barr, Acting Director of the Bureau of Prisons Hugh Hurwitz,
Superintendent of FCI Beaumont, and Carroll Ellis Haynes.
Looper also filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis (IFP). When presented with an IFP application, the
district court makes two determinations: (1) whether the suit
has sufficient merit; and (2) whether the plaintiff's
poverty level justifies IFP status. See 28 U.S.C.
section 1915(e)(2); Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S.
25, 27 (1992); Smith-Bey v. Hosp. Adm'r, 841
F.2d 751, 757 (7th Cir. 1988). If a court finds that the suit
lacks sufficient merit or that an inadequate showing of
poverty exists, the court must deny the IFP petition. See
Smith-Bey, 841 F.2d at 757.
a court must dismiss a case at any time if it determines that
the suit is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). To determine whether the suit states a claim
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), a court applies the
same standard as it would to a motion to dismiss filed
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 611 (7th Cir. 2000).
In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court
must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and
view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Luevano v. WalMart Stores, Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1027
(7th Cir. 2013). To survive dismissal, a “complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). However,
“[a] document filed pro se 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) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted).
case, the Complaint falls short of what is required to state
a claim. In the Complaint, Looper alleges only the following:
The defendants committed a Breach of Duty and negligence in
their actions that allowed Carroll Ellis Haynes provided the
access to murder and kill Joseph Looper violating his civil
rights pursuant to the murder charge of Carroll Ellis Haynes
pursuant to U.S.C. Sections 1111, 3591 and 3592. The said
offense was especially heinous, cruel and unwarranted. The
cruel killing was committed under the supervision and
protection of defendants.
is unclear from the Complaint how Attorney General Barr, BOP
Director Hurwitz, or the Superintendent of FCI Beaumont were
personally involved in causing Joseph Looper's death.
“[P]ublic employees are responsible for their own
misdeeds but not for anyone else's.” Burks v.
Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 596 (7th Cir. 2009). There is no
general respondeat superior liability under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 609 (7th Cir.
this means is that Delores Looper must provide facts
explaining what each of these defendants personally did or
did not do that caused Joseph Looper's death. It is not
enough to merely allege that a defendant was a supervisor or
in command. Furthermore, while the Complaint alleges that
Carroll Ellis Haynes murdered Joseph Looper, it provides no
details regarding when, where, or how the murder took place.
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to
“state a claim that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. 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). The Complaint Delores Looper filed on behalf of the
Estate of Joseph Looper does not contain sufficient factual
allegations to state a claim.
the Estate of Joseph Looper cannot proceed on this Complaint,
the personal representative of the estate may file an amended
complaint. See Luevano v. Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d 1014
(7th Cir. 2013). A copy of this court's approved form -
Civil Complaint (INND Rev. 8/16) - may be obtained on the
court website at
If an amended complaint is filed, the cause number of this
case, which is on the first page of this Order, should be
placed on the complaint form. As the instructions on the
court's complaint form explain, the amended complaint
must contain a short and plain statement saying what each
defendant did wrong. The amended complaint should explain
when, where, why, and how each defendant violated Joseph
Looper's rights. It should include every fact necessary
to explain this case and describe the injuries or damages.
The complaint should use each defendant's name every time
the complaint refers to that defendant. Additionally, Delores
Looper needs to indicate in the amended complaint if she is
the personal representative of Joseph Looper's estate.
these reasons, the Court:
(1) GRANTS the Estate of Joseph Looper until June
21, 2019, to file an amended complaint; and
(2) CAUTIONS the Estate of Joseph Looper that, if there is
not a response by this deadline, the case will be dismissed