United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. MILLER, JR. JUDGE
Andrew Grimsley, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a second
amended complaint. 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
“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).
“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).
second amended complaint, Mr. Grimsley alleges essentially
the same facts he alleged before, but he has now dropped the
Indiana Department of Correction and the Miami Correctional
Facility as defendants and added Warden William Hyatt as a
defendant. According to the second amended complaint, when
Mr. Grimsley arrived at the Miami Correctional Facility, he
informed various individuals 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 individual he was to testify
against, but Mr. Grimsley still was housed in the same
building as that individual (although on the other side). Mr.
Grimsley has a history of being assaulted by Hellraisers. He
was receiving threats and reported them 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 Sgt. Reutschler 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,
making 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.
Grimley eventually reported a knife to Sgt. Reutschler in the
hope that he would then be moved. He was moved, but he was
again housed with members of the Hellraiser gang.
Furthermore, Sgt. Reutschler told the individual 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 upon his release he was returned to the
same dorm, where he was assaulted yet again. He has since
been transferred to a different facility.
his earlier complaint, Mr. 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 second amended complaint states a plausible
Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim against Sgt.
Reutschler, Counselor Smith, and Counselor Lassiter.
Grimsley also asserts an Eighth Amendment claim against
Warden William Hyatt for failing to protect him from another
inmate's attack. Mr. Grimsley notes that he twice wrote
to Warden Hyatt about his concerns, although it's unclear
when he wrote him or precisely what his letters said. Mr.
Grimsley notes that the warden is ultimately in charge of
ensuring his safety, that the warden is responsible for his
officers, and that the warden was aware or should have been
aware of his circumstances. But, Mr. Grimsley hasn't
alleged facts to suggest that Warden Neal was personally
involved in deciding where Mr. Grimsley was housed. He
isn't liable just because he is in charge of the prison.
“§ 1983 lawsuits against individuals require
personal involvement in the alleged constitutional
deprivation to support a viable claim.” Palmer v.
Marion Cty., 327 F.3d 588, 594 (7th Cir. 2003)
(citations omitted). “[P]ublic employees are
responsible for their own misdeeds but not for anyone
else's.” Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592,
594 (7th Cir. 2009); see also Moore v. State of
Indiana, 999 F.2d 1125, 1129 (7th Cir. 1993) (noting the
doctrine of respondeat superior has no application
to § 1983 actions). Mr. Grimsely can't state a claim
upon which relief can be granted against Warden William Hyatt
for failure to protect him.
these reasons, the court:
LIFTS the stay in this case;
GRANTS Phillip Andrew Grimsley leave to proceed on an Eighth
Amendment claim for compensatory and punitive damages against
Sgt. G. Reutschler, Counselor C. Smith, and Counselor Mary
Lassiter for failing to protect him from another inmate's
attack on October 23, 2018;
DISMISSES Warden William Hyatt;
DISMISSES all other claims; 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 ...