United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY SCREENING AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND
DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO SHOW CAUSE
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE
Elijah Abdullah paid the initial partial filing fee on July
31, 2019. He alleges that he was a pretrial detainee at all
relevant times at the Marion County Jail II. He brings this
civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
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(b) to screen his complaint before service
on the defendants. Pursuant to § 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 pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Cesal, 851 F.3d at 720.
complaint names the following defendants: 1) Core Civi
America (CCA); 2) Marion County Jail II (the Jail II); 3)
City of Indianapolis; and 4) Sheriff Dept. For relief, Mr.
Abdullah seeks compensatory damages. Dkt. 1.
Abdullah alleges that on or about May 6, 2019, he was in
custody at the Jail II awaiting trial. He was assaulted by
another inmate, causing him severe physical injuries. He
alleges that unnamed correctional officers left his dorm unit
unattended and a large steel breakfast cart was used in the
assault. He further alleges that officers took him into a
disciplinary holding cell after the assault rather than give
him access to emergency medical treatment. He suffered
injuries to his nose, mouth, jaw, tooth, and forehead. He was
not seen by medical staff for hours, and he was not given any
x-rays until days after the injuries were incurred. He
experienced pain and swelling on his face and head.
“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.”)). Here, Mr. Abdullah
does not name as defendants any officers who allegedly failed
to protect him from the assault. He also does not allege
whether any officer had specific information that such an
assault might occur. Furthermore, he does not identify any
individual who denied him medical care.
defendants that Mr. Abdullah does name are not liable for his
injuries under these circumstances. CCA and the Jail II
appear to be buildings, not “persons” that are
suable under section 1983. See Hamilton v. Miller,
18-cv-47-PP, 2018 WL 4215610 (E.D. Wis. Aug. 31, 2018)
(“[P]risons…are not suable entities because they
are not persons capable of accepting service of
plaintiff's complaints or responding to them.”).
The claims against CCA and the Jail II are dismissed
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
City of Indianapolis and the Sheriff's Department could
only be liable if they had an unconstitutional policy that
caused the injury. “[M]unicipal governments cannot be
held liable for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on a
theory of respondeat superior for constitutional
violations committed by their employees. They can, however,
be held liable for unconstitutional municipal policies or
customs.” Simpson v. Brown County, 860 F.3d
1001, 1005-006 (7th Cir. 2017) (citing Monell v.
Dep't of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91
(1978)). To invoke supervisory liability under
Monell, a plaintiff “must demonstrate that
there was an official policy, widespread custom, or action by
an official with policy-making authority [that] was the
moving force behind his constitutional injury.”
Estate of Perry v. Wenzel, 872 F.3d 439, 461 (7th
Cir. 2017) (internal quotations omitted). Mr. Abdullah does
not allege that there was any policy or custom that caused
his injury. Therefore, the claims against the City of
Indianapolis and the Sheriff's Department are
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.