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Velez v. Knight

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

June 13, 2019

ANGELO VELEZ, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
STANLEY KNIGHT, et al. Defendants.

          ENTRY GRANTING IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS, DISMISSING COMPLAINT, AND DIRECTING FILING OF AMENDED COMPLAINT

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         I. Granting In Forma Pauperis Status

         The plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, dkt. [2], is granted to the extent that the plaintiff is assessed an initial partial filing fee of Seventeen Dollars and Seventeen Cents ($17.17). See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The plaintiff shall have through July 15, 2019, in which to pay this sum to the clerk of the district court.

         The plaintiff's motion contains the names of minor children who, under Rule 5.2(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, should have been identified by their initials. The clerk is directed to place this motion, dkt. 2, under seal.

         II. Screening of the Complaint

         A. Screening Standard

         The plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Plainfield Correctional Facility (“PCF”). Dkt. 1. Because the plaintiff is a “prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c), this Court has an obligation under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) to screen his complaint before service on the defendants. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court must dismiss the 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 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 Cesal v. Moats, 851 F.3d 714, 720 (7th Cir. 2017). To survive dismissal,

[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. Perez v. Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 768, 776 (7th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation omitted).

         B. Plaintiff's Complaint

         Mr. Velez brings this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1983, and he names two defendants: Stanley Knight, the warden of PCF, and PCF. He alleges that, during a physical altercation on September 24, 2018, he was stabbed in his left ear and the back of his head. He was taken to the hospital and received stitches in his ear and staples in his head. He states that he was stabbed in the presence of Correctional Officer King and that PCF failed to protect him and keep him safe.

         C. Analysis

         Mr. Velez's complaint must be dismissed for the following reasons. First, any claim against PCF is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. PCF is a building, not a suable entity under § 1983. White v. Knight, 710 Fed.Appx. 260, 262 (7th Cir. 2018), cert. denied, 139 S.Ct. 107 (2018); Looney v. Miami Corr. Facility, No. 3:18-cv-18-PPS/MGG, 2018 WL 1992197, *2 (N.D. Ind. Apr. 27, 2018) (dismissing Miami Correctional Facility).

         Second, any claim against Mr. Knight must be dismissed because Mr. Velez has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. There are no allegations of personal wrongdoing against Mr. Knight in the complaint. A defendant can be liable only for the actions or omissions in which he personally participated. Colbert v. City of Chicago, 851 F.3d 649, 657 (7th Cir. 2017); Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 734 (7th Cir. 2001). Because vicarious liability does not apply to claims under § 1983, “a plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant, through the ...


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