United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
R. LEICHTY JUDGE
William Douglas Wyatt, Jr., a prisoner without a lawyer,
alleges prison staff violated the Eighth Amendment by failing
to protect him at the Miami Correctional Facility. In his
complaint, Mr. Wyatt sues seven defendants: Counselor Fox,
Miami Correctional Facility, C.O. Dice, Lieutenant Bennett,
Sergeant K. Shade, Lieutenant John Doe, and Sergeant Calvert
for compensatory and punitive damages. “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) (quotations and citations omitted).
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, this 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. To state
a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim, “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).
Wyatt alleges that, on August 26, 2018, he approached Ms.
and told her he needed protective custody because he was
“scared for [his] safety.” ECF 1 at 2. He told
her that two inmates from gang organizations had threatened
him after they learned that he had been convicted of a sex
offense. Id. They explicitly told him that he had to
“check in” with them or get out of the dorm or he
would be stabbed, beaten, or robbed. Id. Ms. N gave
Mr. Wyatt a protective custody request form to fill out.
Id. He completed the form, but the request was
denied. Id. He filled out a second request for
protective custody the same day and identified inmates who
had threatened him, pulled knives on him, and had taken his
next day, on August 27, 2018, when Mr. Wyatt was on his way
to eat breakfast, a group of inmates surrounded him.
Id. The inmates assaulted him by striking him twice
on the back of the head and told him to get out of the dorm.
Id. After returning to his dorm, he asked Ms. N if
he could be placed in protective custody. Id. at 3.
She told him that his second request for protective custody
had been denied and there was nothing further she could do.
Id. Mr. Wyatt next discussed the situation with Ms.
Dice, who told him she would contact his Unit Team Manager,
Counselor Fox. Id. He also advised Lieutenant
Bennett about the assault, who told Mr. Wyatt he needed to
speak to his counselor, Ms. Fox. Id. He discussed
the situation with Ms. Fox, who told him he would not be
placed in protective custody. Id.
he was not being placed in protective custody, Mr. Wyatt told
Ms. Fox that he did not want to return to the dorm as he
feared he would be assaulted again. Id. Lieutenant
John Doe, Ms. Dice, Lieutenant Bennett, and another officer
then attempted to escort him back to his dorm; but he refused
and resisted them, so they threatened him with the use of a
TASER device. Id. at 3-4. Mr. Wyatt says he stopped
resisting at which point he was forcefully pushed into a
wheelchair, wheeled back to the dorm, and placed back in his
room. Id. at 4. When he entered the dorm, other
inmates shouted and called him names. Id.
that night, in the recreational room, several inmates
approached him and demanded that his family either wire him
money or they would beat him up. Id. Mr. Wyatt
refused to contact his family, and the inmates stated they
would continue to threaten him until he either paid for
protection or they forced him to leave the dorm. Id.
That night after lockdown, Mr. Wyatt gave Sergeant Calvert a
note with the names and location of the inmates who had
threatened him along with another request to be placed in
protective custody. Id. However, Mr. Wyatt was
neither moved from the dorm nor afforded protective custody.
morning of August 28, 2018, Mr. Wyatt was assaulted by an
inmate who struck him several times from behind. Id.
Following the assault, he was forced to stay in his room,
kept in the same dorm for three more days, and was again
denied protective custody. Id. at 4-5.
Wyatt asserts an Eighth Amendment claim against Ms. Fox, Ms.
Dice, Lieutenant Bennett, and Sergeant Calvert for failing to
protect him from the two assaults. 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. “[T]o 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). Accepting Mr. Wyatt's allegations as
true and giving him the benefit of reasonable inferences for
purposes of this stage of review, he has alleged facts from
which it can be inferred that Ms. Fox, Ms. Dice, Lieutenant
Bennett, and Sergeant Calvert failed to protect him from the
assaults of other inmates in violation of the Eighth
Wyatt's claim against Lieutenant John Doe cannot proceed.
As a practical matter, his case cannot proceed against an
unnamed defendant. See Wudtke v. Davel, 128 F.3d
1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 1997)(“it is pointless to include
lists of anonymous defendants in federal court; this type of
placeholder does not open the door to relation back under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15, nor can it otherwise help the
plaintiff”). Therefore, Mr. Wyatt cannot proceed
against Lieutenant John Doe unless properly identified.
Wyatt has also 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, he cannot state a claim
against the Miami Correctional Facility.
Mr. Wyatt has sued Sergeant K. Shade. However, he never
mentions Sergeant Shade in his complaint. Therefore, he
cannot proceed on a claim against Sergeant Shade.
these reasons, the court:
GRANTS William Douglas Wyatt, Jr. leave to proceed on his
Eighth Amendment claim for money damages against Ms. Fox, Ms.
Dice, Lieutenant Bennett, and Sergeant Calvert for allegedly
failing to protect ...