United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Lee Scott, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a complaint
(ECF 1) against Marshall County Sheriff Matt Hassel and three
jail officers based on his treatment on August 24, 2019, when
he was a pre-trial detainee at the Marshall County Jail.
“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). Nevertheless, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, 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.
August 24, 2019, Officer Crawford was passing out clean
clothing, but he refused to give Scott clean clothing because
he did not have any in Scott's size. Scott asked him
repeatedly to provide him with clean clothing when it was
available, but Officer Crawford refused. At 2:30 p.m., count
was being taken and Scott refused to appear until he was
given clothing. He eventually complied, but he was placed on
restrictions for thirty days because he initially refused.
Scott asked Crawford to see a sergeant, but he would not
permit it. At 10:00 p.m., Officer Crawford went into
Scott's cell and placed his hands on him “in a rude
insolent manner tearing [his] blanket from [him.] While
Ofc[.] Rosinski and Ofc[.] Hancock ripped [him] from [his]
bunk with the help of Ofc[.] Crawford and threw [him] to the
floor placing [him] in handcuffs because [he] wanted clean
clothing and to speak with a Sgt[.] about their
actions.” (ECF 1 at 2.) During the incident, Scott tore
something in an area where double hernia surgery had been
performed, causing him great pain. Following the incident,
Scott was placed in a cell with an inmate that was on
administrative segregation and should have been housed alone.
He was assaulted by that inmate, which caused him additional
pain, and as a result of that incident, fourteen days of
segregation were added to his restrictions.
Scott was a pretrial detainee on August 24, 2019, the court
must assess his claims under the Fourteenth Amendment instead
of the Eighth Amendment. See Mulvania v. Sheriff of Rock
Island Cty., 850 F.3d 849, 856 (7th Cir. 2017).
“[T]he Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause
prohibits holding pretrial detainees in conditions that
amount to punishment.” Id. “A pretrial
condition can amount to punishment in two ways: first, if it
is imposed for the purpose of punishment, or second, if the
condition is not reasonably related to a legitimate goal-if
it is arbitrary or purposeless-a court permissibly may infer
that the purpose of the government action is
punishment.” Id. A pretrial detainee can
“prevail by providing only objective evidence that the
challenged governmental action is not rationally related to a
legitimate governmental objective or that it is excessive in
relation to that purpose.” Kingsley v.
Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2473 (2015). Giving Scott
the inferences to which he is entitled at this stage of the
proceedings, he has plausibly alleged a claim against Officer
Crawford, Officer Rosinski, and Officer Hancock for
subjecting him to conditions that amount to punishment on
August 24, 2019, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Sheriff Hassel, Scott alleges only that he is in charge of
the jail. There is no general respondeat superior
liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. “Only persons
who cause or participate in the violations are
responsible.” George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605,
609 (7th Cir. 2007). “[P]ublic employees are
responsible for their own misdeeds but not for anyone
else's.” Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592,
596 (7th Cir. 2009). Scott does not allege that Sheriff
Hassel was personally involved in the events giving rise to
this lawsuit, and he therefore cannot proceed against him.
these reasons, the court:
GRANTS Christopher Scott leave to proceed against Officer S.
Crawford, Officer C. Rosinski, and Officer Hancock in their
individual capacity for compensatory and punitive damages for
subjecting Christopher Scott to conditions that amounted to
punishment on August 24, 2019, in violation of the Fourteenth
DISMISSES all other claims;
DISMISSES Marshall County Sheriff Matt Hassel;
DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Service to
issue and serve process on Officer S. Crawford, Officer C.
Rosinski, and Officer Hancock at the Marshall County
Sheriff's Department with a copy of this order and the
complaint (ECF 1), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d); and
ORDERS, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), that
Officer S. Crawford, Officer C. Rosinski, and Officer Hancock
respond, as provided for in the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and N.D. Ind. L.R. 10-1(b), only to the claims for