United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
JAMES D. CUMMINGS, Plaintiff,
CHRISTA, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
L. MILLER, JR. JUDGE
D. Cummings, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a complaint.
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) (quotation marks and
citations omitted). The court must review the merits of 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. 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).
complaint describes many events related to Mr. Cummings's
stay at the Park Center. Mr. Cummings explains that his stay
at the “Park Center was not part of [his] probation or
sentence and that [he] went to Park Center on [his] own
decision.” ECF 1 at 15. It is doesn't appear any of
the Park Center employees were acting under color of state
complaint names Karen Richardson, but she isn't mentioned
in the body of the complaint and isn't alleged to have
done or not done anything that violated Mr. Cummings's
constitutional rights. The complaint alleges an unknown 911
dispatcher called security at the Park Center rather than
dispatching a police officer, but doesn't explain how
that could have violated his constitutional rights.
Cummings alleges his probation officer improperly reported to
the court that he had violated his probation. It appears the
court found he had violated his probation. There is no
indication that judicial finding has been overturned.
[T]he Court in Heck held that in order to recover
damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or
imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a
plaintiff in a § 1983 action first had to prove that his
conviction had been invalidated in some way. This
favorable-termination requirement, the Court explained,
applies whenever a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would
necessarily imply that his prior conviction or sentence was
McDonough v. Smith, 588 U.S. __, __; 139 S.Ct. 2149,
2157 (2019) (quotation marks and citations omitted).
That's what happened to Mr. Cummings: the state court
agreed with the probation officer that Mr. Cummings violated
Mr. Cummings alleges that Wendy Davis, a state court judge,
“order recovery works insurance on 3-6-18” for
him. ECF 1 at 9. He says the judge falsely said she was going
to “dial me back in with Park View Behavioral Health,
” id. at 15, and that Mr. Cummings was
“defiant against the rescue mission.”
Id. The judge “ordered me to return to Park
Center.” Id. at 16. “A judge has
absolute immunity for any judicial actions unless the judge
acted in absence of all jurisdiction.” Polzin v.
Gage, 636 F.3d 834, 838 (7th Cir. 2011). “A judge
will not be deprived of immunity because the action he took
was in error, was done maliciously, or was in excess of his
authority; rather, he will be subject to liability only when
he has acted in the clear absence of all jurisdiction.”
Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 359 (1978). Mr.
Cummings hasn't plausibly alleged that any of these
actions were outside of the judge's jurisdiction in
ruling on his case.
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to
“state a claim that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
pleaded factual content 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) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level, on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atlantic v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quotation marks, citations and
footnote omitted). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do
not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility
of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not
shown-that the pleader is entitled to relief.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quotation marks
and brackets omitted). Thus, “a plaintiff must do
better than putting a few words on paper that, in the hands
of an imaginative reader, might suggest that something has
happened to her that might be redressed by the law.”
Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 403 (7th
Cir. 2010) (emphasis in original).
complaint doesn't state a claim on which relief can be
granted. Mr. Cummings might have more facts about these
events and defendants that would show that he can state a
claim based on these allegations, so the court will allow him
to file an amended complaint. See Luevano v.
Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d 1014 (7th Cir. 2013).
these reasons, the court GRANTS James D. Cummings until
September 30, 2019, to file an
amended complaint. If Mr. Cummings doesn't respond by
that deadline, this case will be dismissed without further
notice under 28 U.S.C. ...