United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON, JUDGE
Steven Adams, 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). Nevertheless, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, I 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. “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
complaint, Adams alleges that, on February 12, 2018, several
police officers arrested him at a Check Smart location in
South Bend, Indiana. During these efforts, Officer Kroeger
handcuffed Adams and slammed him against a glass window, and
Adams began to struggle. In response, Officer Sweeney fired a
taser at Adams' face, and one of the taser prongs became
stuck in his ear. Adams stopped struggling and said, “I
give up please, ” but Officer Sweeney used the taser
two more times as Officer Mitchell arrived at the location.
(ECF 1 at 3.) Although Adams was then subdued, Officer
Kroeger, Officer Sweeney, Officer Chabot, and Officer Early
beat Adams and conducted a search by removing all of his
clothing and exposing him to the public. After Officer
Sweeney placed Adams in his vehicle, Adams told him that he
had difficulty breathing and pain in his head, ribs, chest,
and shoulder. Officer Sweeney responded that Adams needed to
speak with detectives before receiving medical treatment.
After arriving at the police station and speaking with a
federal agent, Adams went to Memorial Hospital. Upon his
release, he was detained at the St. Joseph County Jail. He
continues to suffer pain in the ribs, a detached shoulder,
and emotional distress.
asserts a Fourth Amendment claim against Officer Kroeger,
Officer Sweeney, Officer Chabot, and Officer Early for using
excessive force against him during his arrest. “A claim
that an officer employed excessive force in arresting a
person is evaluated under the Fourth Amendment's
objective-reasonableness standard.” Abbott v.
Sangamon Cnty., Ill., 705 F.3d 706, 724 (7th Cir. 2013).
For such claims, the operative test is “whether the
officers' actions are ‘objectively reasonable'
in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them,
without regard to their underlying intent or
motivation.” Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386,
397 (1989). Based on the allegations in the complaint, Adams
states a plausible Fourth Amendment claim of excessive force
against these defendants.
further asserts a claim against Officer Sweeney for refusing
him access to medical treatment immediately after his arrest.
“[T]he Fourth Amendment governs the period of
confinement between arrest without a warrant and the
preliminary hearing at which a determination of probable
cause is made, while due process regulates the period of
confinement after the initial determination of probable
cause.” Lopez v. City of Chicago, 464 F.3d
711, 719 (7th Cir. 2006) (quotation omitted). “Four
factors inform [the court's] determination of whether an
officer's response to [an arrestee's] medical needs
was objectively unreasonable: (1) whether the officer has
notice of the detainee's medical needs; (2) the
seriousness of the medical need; (3) the scope of the
requested treatment; and (4) police interests, including
administrative, penological, or investigatory
concerns.” Ortiz v. City of Chicago, 656 F.3d
523, 530 (7th Cir. 2011). Giving him the favorable inferences
to which he is entitled at this stage of the proceedings,
Adams states a plausible Fourth Amendment claim against
Officer Sweeney for refusing him medical treatment
immediately after the arrest.
Adams lists the City of South Bend, Officer Chichowicz,
Officer Chamberlain, and Officer Trent as defendants but does
not otherwise mention them in his complaint. Further, though
he briefly mentions Officer Mitchell and Memorial Hospital,
it is similarly unclear why he has named them as defendants
or what claims he seeks to assert against them. Therefore,
these defendants are dismissed.
Adams filed motions to amend the complaint to include
requests for compensatory and punitive damages and a jury
demand. While Adams may amend his complaint as a matter of
course at this stage of the proceedings, see Fed. R.
Civ. P. 15(a)(1), he must comply with the local rules.
Specifically, the local rules provide that parties seeking to
amend a complaint must submit a copy of the proposed amended
complaint in its entirety. N.D. Ind. L.R. 15-1. The local
rules also prohibit parties from amending the complaint in a
piecemeal fashion. Id. Because Adams has not
complied with the local rules, the motions to amend the
complaint are denied.
these reasons, the court:
(1) DENIES the motions to amend (ECF 10, ECF 14, ECF 15);
(2) GRANTS Zachary Steven Adams leave to proceed on a Fourth
Amendment claim against Officer Kroeger, Officer Sweeney,
Officer Chabot, and Officer Early for using excessive force
during his arrest on February 12, 2018;
(3) GRANTS Zachary Steven Adams leave to proceed on a Fourth
Amendment claim against Officer Sweeney for refusing access
to medical care following his arrest on February 12, 2018;
(4) DISMISSES City of South Bend, Officer Chichowicz, Officer
Chamberlain, Officer Trent, Officer Mitchell, and Memorial
(5) DISMISSES all other claims;
(6) DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Service
to issue and serve process on Officer Kroeger, Officer
Sweeney, Officer Chabot, and Officer Early at the South Bend
Police Department with a copy of this order and the ...