United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. Miller, Jr. Judge United States District Court.
Andrew Grimsley, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a
complaint. The court must review the complaint and dismiss it
if the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. “In
order to state a claim under [42 U.S.C.] § 1983 a
plaintiff must allege: (1) that defendants deprived him of a
federal constitutional right; and (2) that the defendants
acted under color of state law.” Savory v.
Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2006). “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).
Grimsley's complaint alleges that when he arrived at the
Miami Correctional Facility, he told various people that,
because he was a potential witness in a murder trial, a
prisoner that was a high-ranking member of the Hellraiser
gang had directed that any Hellraiser housed in the same
prison as Mr. Grimsley should try to kill him. There was a
“keep apart” order between Mr. Grimsley and the
person he was to testify against, but Mr. Grimsley was
nonetheless housed in the same building as that person
(although on the other side). Mr. Grimsley has a history of
being assaulted by Hellraisers. He received and reported
threats to Sgt. G. Reutschler, Counselor C. Smith, and
Counselor M. Lassiter. Sgt. Reutschler told him that the only
way he was getting out was if he told him where phones and
knives were. Sgt. Reutschler also told the people that Mr.
Grimsley was having trouble with that he was trying to leave
the dorm, which made things worse for Mr. Grimsley. Mr.
Grimsley complained to Mrs. Smith nearly every day, including
telling her that he was robbed at knife point, yet nothing
was done to protect him. When Mr. Grimley complained to Mrs.
Lassiter, she told Mr. Grimley that he was lying and she
wouldn't investigate his claims. Mr. Grimley eventually
reported a knife to Sgt. Reutschler in hopes that he would
then be moved. He was moved, but he was again housed with
members of the Hellraiser gang. Sgt. Reutschler the person
with the knife (a member of the Aryan Brothers) that it was
Mr. Grimsley that reported the knife to him. Mr. Grimsley
went on suicide watch for three days to avoid danger and he
was moved twice more, but he was still having problems. When
he reported his problems, the person that was giving him the
greatest problems was moved, but Mr. Grimsley was nonetheless
viciously attacked on October 23, 2018. Mr. Grimley was
hospitalized, but was again returned to the same dorm upon
release, where he was assaulted yet again. He has since been
transferred to a different facility.
Grimsley asserts an Eighth Amendment claim against Sgt.
Reutschler, Counselor Smith, and Counselor Lassiter for
failing to protect him from another inmate's attack. The
Eighth Amendment imposes a duty on prison officials “to
take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of
inmates.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832
(1994). “[P]rison officials have a duty to protect
prisoners from violence at the hands of other
prisoners.” Id. at 833. “[I]n order to
state a section 1983 claim against prison officials for
failure to protect, [a plaintiff] must establish: (1) that he
was incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial risk
of serious harm and (2) that the defendants acted with
deliberate indifference to his health or safety. Santiago
v. Walls, 599 F.3d 749, 756 (7th Cir. 2010). The
complaint states a plausible Eighth Amendment failure to
protect claim against Sgt. Reutschler, Counselor Smith, and
Grimsley has also sued the Indiana Department of Correction.
the IDOC is a State agency and is immune from suit pursuant
to the Eleventh Amendment. Wynn v. Southward, 251
F.3d 588, 592 (7th Cir. 2001). There are three exceptions to
Eleventh Amendment immunity: (1) suits directly against the
State based on a cause of action where Congress has abrogated
the state's immunity from suit; (2) suits directly
against the State if the State waived its sovereign immunity;
and (3) suits against a State official seeking prospective
equitable relief for ongoing violations of federal law.
MCI Telecommunications Corp. v. Ill. Commerce
Comm'n, 183 F.3d 558, 563 (7th Cir. 1999). None of
these exceptions apply here, so Mr. Grimsley can't state
a claim on which relief can be granted against the IDOC.
Mr. Grimsley has sued the Miami Correctional Facility. The
Miami Correctional Facility is a building. It is not a suable
entity. Smith v. Knox County Jail, 666 F.3d 1037,
1040 (7th Cir. 2012). Therefore, Mr. Grimsley can't state
a claim on which relief can be granted against the Miami
these reasons, the court:
GRANTS Phillip Andrew Grimsley leave to proceed on an Eighth
Amendment claim for money damages against Sgt. G. Reutschler,
Counselor C. Smith, and Counselor Mary Lassiter for failing
to protect him from another inmate's attack on October
DISMISSES Indiana Department of Correction and Miami
DISMISSES all other claims;
DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Service to
issue and serve process on Sgt. G. Reutschler, Counselor C.
Smith, and Counselor Mary Lassiter at the Indiana Department
of Correction with a copy of this order and the complaint
(ECF 23) as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d); and
ORDERS, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), that Sgt.
G. Reutschler, Counselor C. Smith, and Counselor Mary
Lassiter respond, as provided for in the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure and N.D. Ind. L.R. 10.1, only to the claim
for which Phillip ...