United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
R. Leichty Judge
Ybarra, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a complaint.
“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). Still, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the
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. “[T]o 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).
complaint, Mr. Ybarra alleges that, since March 22, 2019, he
has been housed in the protective custody unit at the Indiana
State Prison. There, Mr. Ybarra cannot exercise in his cell
due to limited floor space. Further, in this unit,
correctional staff do not allow him to leave his cell on
Fridays or as punishment for conduct reports, which they
impose without providing him with a hearing. They have also
informed him that they intend to reduce his out of cell time
to two hours per day and five days per week. For his claims,
Mr. Ybarra seeks money damages and injunctive relief.
Ybarra asserts an Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement
claim against Warden Neal regarding the size of his cell and
the amount of time he is allowed out of his cell. In
evaluating an Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement
claim, the court conducts both an objective and a subjective
inquiry. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834
(1994). The objective prong asks whether the alleged
deprivation is “sufficiently serious” so that
“a prison official's act results in the denial of
the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities.” Id. Inmates are entitled to be
provided with adequate food, clothing, shelter, bedding,
hygiene materials, and sanitation. Knight v.
Wiseman, 590 F.3d 458, 463 (7th Cir. 2009); Gillis
v. Litscher, 468 F.3d 488, 493 (7th Cir. 2006). However,
“the Constitution does not mandate comfortable prisons,
” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 349 (1981),
and inmates cannot expect the “amenities, conveniences,
and services of a good hotel.” Harris v.
Fleming, 839 F.2d 1232, 1235 (7th Cir. 1988).
Additionally, for constitutional claims under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1983, “liability depends on each defendant's
knowledge and actions, not on the knowledge or actions of
persons they supervise.” Burks v. Raemisch,
555 F.3d 592, 594 (7th Cir. 2009). Mr. Ybarra does not
describe how Warden Neal was personally involved with his
claim. Therefore, he may not proceed against him in his
individual capacity for money damages.
Ybarra also asks not to be transferred to another facility
and to be allowed out of his cell for three hours per day.
Notably, “[t]he PLRA circumscribes the scope of the
court's authority to enter an injunction in the
corrections context. Where prison conditions are found to
violate federal rights, remedial injunctive relief must be
narrowly drawn, extend no further than necessary to correct
the violation of the Federal right, and use the least
intrusive means necessary to correct the violation of the
Federal right.” Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d 679
(7th Cir. 2012). Therefore, injunctive relief, if granted,
must be limited to ordering the defendants to remedy Mr.
Ybarra's housing conditions to the extent required by the
Eighth Amendment. Although the court questions whether a
claim exists here, at this stage of screening it cannot say
that it is devoid of merit. Accordingly, Mr. Ybarra may
proceed on the injunctive relief claim against Warden Neal in
his official capacity to the extent an Eighth Amendment claim
these reasons, the court:
GRANTS Randy Ybarra leave to proceed on an injunctive relief
claim against Warden Neal in his official capacity to allow
him the amount of time out of his cell in the protective
custody unit required by the Eighth Amendment;
DISMISSES all other claims;
DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Service to
issue and serve process on Warden Neal at the Indiana
Department of Correction with a copy of this order and the
complaint (ECF 1) as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d);
ORDERS, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), Warden Neal
to 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
which Randy ...