United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
SETH T. MORTIMORE, Plaintiff,
ROBERT CARTER, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Mortimore, a prisoner without a lawyer, has filed an amended
complaint (ECF 4) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that
he was wrongly reclassified while being housed at the
Westville Correctional Facility and that he was therefore
ineligible to apply for work release. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, I must review a prisoner 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.
Courts apply the same standard under Section 1915A as when
deciding a motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624
(7th Cir. 2006).
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), 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. Furthermore, “[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). To state 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).
to the complaint, throughout September of 2018, Mortimore
received a series of confusing communications regarding his
classification designation. On September 17, 2018, and
September 19, 2018, he received forms indicating his
classification level was F3. But then forms dated September
18, , 2018, and September 25, 2018, indicated that
Defendants Patrick Krueger, Andrew Pazera, and Jack Hendrix
enhanced his classification level to F5. On September 28,
2018, he received forms that indicated his status had been
reduced to F3. On September 30, 2018, Mortimore wrote to
Patrick Krueger requesting an explanation. He was then
notified that his request for work release had been denied,
and that it could be resubmitted in March of 2019. Responding
to an appeal, Sonya Phipps indicated that his status for work
release was F5, and that no application for work release
would be reviewed until March 2019. Then, on December 12,
2018, Mortimore again received a communication indicating
that his classification status was F3. Mortimore has sued
each individual referenced above. In addition, he has sued
Commissioner Robert Carter and Warden Mark Sevier alleging
that they failed to adequately train their employees,
resulting in pain, anguish, and an improper classification
level within the facility.
extent that Mortimore challenges his length of 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, 387-88 (7th Cir. 2005)
(explaining the difference between civil rights and habeas
extent that Mortimore is seeking monetary damages, the law is
clear that Mortimore does not have a protected liberty
interest in a particular security classification. See
Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 486 (1995). Instead, a
prisoner is entitled to due process protections only when the
state's action imposes an “atypical and significant
hardship on him in relation to the ordinary incidents of
prison life.” Id.; see also DeTomaso v.
McGinnis, 970 F.2d 211, 212 (7th Cir. 1992)
(“[P]risoners possess neither liberty nor property in
their classifications and prison assignments.”).
Mortimore does not explain how his new classification poses
either an “atypical” or “significant”
hardship in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison
life. Therefore, I cannot find that Mortimore has stated a
due process claim.
this complaint does not state a claim, and while it seems
unlikely that Mortimore will be able to state a claim against
any of these defendants based on his reclassification, it is
not possible to definitively say that he could not do so.
Therefore, he will be permitted time to file a second amended
complaint if he believes that addressing the issues raised in
this order will allow him to present the facts necessary to
state a claim. See Luevano v. Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d
1014 (7th Cir. 2013).
DIRECTS the clerk to place this cause number on a blank
Prisoner Complaint form and send it to Seth T. Mortimore;
GRANTS Seth T. Mortimore to and including July
31, 2019, to file a second amended complaint;
CAUTIONS him that if he does not respond by the deadline,
this case will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A because the current complaint does ...