United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
RONALD C. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
DOUGLAS LONG, et al. Defendants.
ENTRY SCREENING COMPLAINT, DISMISSING INSUFFICIENT
CLAIMS, AND DIRECTING SERVICE OF PROCESS
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
Johnson is currently incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional
Facility. Dkt. 2. 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).
Johnson brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging violations of his constitutional rights. He names
four defendants: (1) Douglas Long, regional agent for Wexford
of Indiana, LLC (“Wexford”); (2) Dr. Paul A.
Talbot, a doctor at PCF; (3) Michelle LaFlowers, the hospital
administrator at PCF; and (4) Dr. William VanNess, the chief
medical officer for the Indiana Department of Correction. He
sues each defendant in his or her individual and official
capacity and requests injunctive relief and monetary damages.
Johnson alleges that he has had an inguinal hernia for ten
years and has been seeking treatment for it for about three
years. He has complained about this hernia to Dr. Talbot and
Mrs. LaFlowers, but they have refused to adequately treat his
hernia. He alleges that Dr. Talbot and Mrs. LaFlowers refused
to treat his hernia because he filed three grievances against
Mr. Johnson also alleges that Nurse Practitioner Murage has
refused to treat his hernia and that Wexford has a policy or
practice of refusing to provide adequate medical care, he has
not named them as defendants.
Johnson has written letters to both Mr. Long and Dr. VanNess
about Dr. Talbot's and Mrs. LaFlowers's refusals to
treat his inguinal hernia. He has received no responses to
these letters, and he alleges that both Mr. Long and Dr.
VanNess have failed to act, resulting in the denial of
the screening standard to the allegations in Mr.
Johnson's complaint, some claims are dismissed while
others shall proceed.
Claims that are dismissed
“Individual liability under § 1983 . . . requires
personal involvement in the alleged constitutional
deprivation.” Colbert v. City of Chicago, 851
F.3d 649, 657 (7th Cir. 2017) (internal quotation omitted)
(citing Wolf-Lillie v. Sonquist, 699 F.2d 864, 869
(7th Cir. 1983) (“Section 1983 creates a cause of
action based on personal liability and predicated upon fault.
An individual cannot be held liable in a § 1983 action
unless he caused or participated in an alleged constitutional
deprivation. . . . A causal connection, or an affirmative
link, between the misconduct complained of and the official
sued is necessary.”)). Mere “knowledge of a
subordinate's misconduct is not enough for
liability.” Vance v. Rumsfeld, 701 F.3d 193,
203 (7th Cir. 2012) (en banc). Indeed, “inaction
following receipt of a complaint about someone else's
conduct is [insufficient].” Estate of Miller by
Chassie v. Marberry, 847 F.3d 425, 428 (7th Cir. 2017);
see Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 595 (7th Cir.
2009) (“[The plaintiff's] view that everyone who
knows about a prisoner's problem must pay damages implies
that he could write letters to the Governor . . . and ...