United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
JAMES S.D. HOLT, Plaintiff,
INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, PLAINFIELD CORRECTIONAL FACILITY IYC, Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO
SHOW CAUSE OR FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT
Patrick Hanlon United States District Judge
prison inmate James Sherman Dean Holt filed this action on
July 29, 2019, asserting claims against defendants (1) the
Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) and (2) the
Plainfield Correctional Facility (also known as the Indiana
Youth Center (IYC)). Dkt. 1. The Court screens the complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and finding the complaint
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,
dismisses the complaint and directs Mr. Holt to show cause or
amend as set out below.
Mr. Holt is a “prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(c), this Court has an obligation under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a) to screen his complaint before service on
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
[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 Mr. Holt are construed
liberally and held to “a less stringent standard than
pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Cesal, 851 F.3d
Holt names the IDOC and the Plainfield Correctional Center
(IYC) as defendants asserting that between May 8, 2019, and
July 17, 2019, he was (1) deprived of recreation on four
dates; (2) he was discriminated against and harassed by being
denied all food, hygiene, and commissary orders for nine
weeks beginning May 15, 2019; and (3) his safety was placed
at risk when he was placed in a cell with an offender who was
in an organization from which Mr. Holt had sought protection.
Dkt. 1, p. 2. Mr. Holt indicates in his complaint he is suing
under state law. He seeks money damages, an order telling the
IYC to abide by their own policies, and an order stopping
future harassment and discrimination.
Federal Constitutional Claims
Court first screens the complaint, giving it a liberal
interpretation, to determine whether a federal constitutional
claim brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is sufficiently
stated. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994)
(“the first step in any  claim is to identify the
specific constitutional right allegedly infringed”). In
doing so, the Court considers the named defendants and the
accusations against them.
prison facility is not a suable entity, as it is a building
and not a person. Civil rights claims brought under §
1983 may be pursued only against persons, and the IYC is not
a person but a building. White v. Knight, 710
Fed.Appx. 260, 262 (7th Cir. 2018) (“a building is not
a person capable of being sued under § 1983.”).
against the IDOC, a state agency, are the functional
equivalent of a suit against the State of Indiana. “The
Eleventh Amendment grants states immunity from private suits
in federal court without their consent. . . . An agency of
the state enjoys this same immunity.” Nuñez
v. Indiana Dep't of Child Servs., 817 F.3d 1042,
1044 (7th Cir. 2016). All claims for money damages against
the state are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Id.
The injunctive relief sought - an order telling the IYC to
follow its policies and to stop discrimination and harassment
- is not an appropriate remedy, as compliance with state
policies is not a federal constitutional issue, Sandin v.
Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 481-82 (1995) (prison policies,
regulations, or guidelines do not constitute federal law;
instead, they are “primarily designed to ...