United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Scott, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a complaint and
seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis using forms designed
for non-prisoners. However, because he is confined in the
LaPorte County Community Corrections facility as a convicted
felon, he is a prisoner. See State v. Scott,
46D01-1904-F3-000468 (LaPorte Superior filed April 12, 2019).
A filing by an unrepresented party “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.
alleges Officer Collins strip searched him at the LaPorte
County Community Corrections Center on January 6, 2020. He
alleges Robert Neary ordered the search even though he was
not under investigation nor individually suspected of having
[W]hile a prisoner's expectation of privacy is extremely
limited in light of the overriding need to maintain
institutional order and security, the Supreme Court has
recognized that a prisoner retains a remedy for calculated
harassment unrelated to prison needs. The Eighth
Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishment stands as a protection from bodily searches which
are maliciously motivated, unrelated to institutional
security, and hence totally without penological
Meriwether v. Faulkner, 821 F.2d 408, 418 (7th Cir.
1987) (citations and quotation marks omitted).
Scott has not plausibly alleged the strip search was totally
without penological justification. Individualized suspicion
is not the only legitimate justification for a strip search.
Both systematic and random searches can be legitimate.
See Florence v. Bd. of Chosen Freeholders of Cty. of
Burlington, 566 U.S. 318, 327 (2012). Though malicious
searches motivated by a desire to harass and humiliate
violate the Eighth Amendment, see King v. McCarty ,
781 F.3d 889, 897 (7th Cir. 2015), this complaint does not
contain such an allegation and therefore does not state a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to
“state a claim that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
pleaded factual content 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) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level, on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact).” Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555 (quotation marks, citations and footnote omitted).
“[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court
to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the
complaint has alleged-but it has not shown-that the pleader
is entitled to relief.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679 (quotation marks and brackets omitted). Thus, “a
plaintiff must do better than putting a few words on paper
that, in the hands of an imaginative reader, might suggest
that something has happened to her that might be redressed by
the law.” Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d
400, 403 (7th Cir. 2010) (emphasis in original).
complaint does not state a claim. Nevertheless, Scott may
file an amended complaint. See Luevano v. Wal-Mart,
722 F.3d 1014 (7th Cir. 2013). To do so he must fully
describe the strip search and explain why he believes it
violates the Eighth Amendment. He must also explain how each
defendant was involved in the violation.
these reasons, the court:
(1) DIRECTS the clerk to place this cause number on a blank
Prisoner Complaint (INND Rev. 8/16)
form and send it to Charles Scott;
(2) GRANTS Charles Scott until February 19,
2020, to file an amended complaint; and
(3) CAUTIONS Charles Scott if he does not respond by the
deadline, this case will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.