United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
CHANSE T. STARR, Plaintiff,
ALLEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM C. LEE JUDGE
T. Starr, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Karen Richardson, Aaron
Stoll, the Allen County Prosecutor's Office, and the
Commissioners of Allen County as a result of his probation
being revoked. ECF 1. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the
court must review the 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. The court applies
the same standard as when deciding a motion to dismiss under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Lagerstrom v.
Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th Cir. 2006). To survive
dismissal, a complaint must state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face. Bissessur v. Indiana Univ. Bd. of
Trs., 581 F.3d 599, 602-03 (7th Cir. 2009). “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.” Id. at 603. Nevertheless, a pro
se complaint must be liberally construed “however
inartfully pleaded.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
alleges that, pursuant to a plea agreement, he was on
probation only until June 9, 2017. But, when Starr was
charged with public intoxication on September 13, 2017, Karen
Richardson and Aaron Stoll charged him with a probation
violation. He was found guilty and sentenced to another four
years of incarceration. Starr sues the defendants for money
damages. However, Starr's claims cannot proceed for
the defendants that Starr has named in this lawsuit, Karen
Richardson and Aaron Stoll, are immune from suit. “[I]n
initiating a prosecution and in presenting the State's
case, the prosecutor is immune from a civil suit for damages
under § 1983.” Imbler v. Pachtman, 424
U.S. 409, 431 (1976). Absolute immunity shields prosecutors
even if they act maliciously, unreasonably, without probable
cause, or even on the basis of false testimony or evidence.
Smith v. Power, 346 F.3d 740, 742 (7th Cir. 2003).
Because the doctrine of prosecutorial immunity applies, Starr
cannot proceed on a claim for damages against Karen
Richardson or Aaron Stoll.
claim against the prosecutor's office fares no better,
because it is an arm of the state and therefore entitled to
immunity. See Hendricks v. New Albany Police
Dep't, No. 4:08-CV-0180-TWP-WGH, 2010 WL 4025633, at
*3 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 13, 2010)(“[S]uing the
Prosecutor's Office-a state agency-is akin to suing the
State of Indiana itself. Thus, the doctrine of sovereign
immunity precludes Plaintiff's suit.”).
leaves only Starr's claims against the Commissioners of
Allen County, and the complaint does not make it clear why
Starr has included them as defendants here. Outside of the
caption, the complaint makes no reference to them whatsoever,
and later filings suggests that Starr did not intend to name
the commissioners as a defendant in this lawsuit.
See ECF 7 (listing the defendants in this action as
Aaron Stall, Karen Richards, and the Allen County
Prosecutor's Office). Furthermore, the facts alleged here
do not suggest any viable claim against the Commissioners of
Allen County. Additionally, Starr has another pending case
based on the same facts. Suing the Allen County Commissioners
based on the same factual allegations in two separate cases
is malicious. See Pittman v. Moore , 980 F.2d 994,
994-95 (5th Cir. 1993) (it is malicious for a plaintiff with
in forma pauperis status to file a lawsuit that
duplicates allegations of another pending lawsuit brought by
the same plaintiff); Lindell v. McCallum , 352 F.3d
1107, 1109 (7th Cir. 2003) (suit is "malicious" for
purposes of Section 1915A if it is intended to harass the
defendant or is otherwise abusive of the judicial process).
Accordingly, Starr will not be permitted to proceed against
the Commissioners of Allen County in this action.
Starr's complaint requests only monetary damages, he has
now filed two motions seeking injunctive relief. To the
extent that Starr challenges his confinement, he cannot seek
that remedy in a civil rights action. A civil rights action
is the appropriate vehicle to seek monetary damages, but a
writ of habeas corpus is the exclusive remedy to challenge
the fact or duration of confinement. Glaus v.
Anderson, 408 F.3d 382 (7th Cir. 2005) (explaining the
difference between civil rights and habeas remedies).
Therefore, Starr's requests for injunctive relief will be
it is usually necessary to permit a plaintiff the opportunity
to file an amended complaint when a case is dismissed sua
sponte, see Luevano v. Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d 1014
(7th Cir. 2013), that is unnecessary where the amendment
would be futile. Hukic v. Aurora Loan Servs., 588
F.3d 420, 432 (7th Cir. 2009) (“[C]ourts have broad
discretion to deny leave to amend where . . . the amendment
would be futile.”). Such is the case here. Therefore,
the case will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
because it does not state a claim.
Starr has filed two motions seeking discovery. Because
Starr's complaint is being dismissed for failure to state
a claim, these motions must be denied.
these reasons, the court:
(1) DENIES Chanse T. Starr's Motion for Injunction Relief
(2) DENIES Chanse T. Starr's Motion for Discovery (ECF
(3) DENIES Chanse T. Starr's Motion for Intergattory