White v. Indiana State Prison
OPINION AND ORDER: This case is DISMISSED as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Signed by Judge Robert L Miller, Jr on 11/17/2016. cc: White (tc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF
CAUSE NO. 3:16-CV-636
OPINION AND ORDER
Jerome White, a pro se prisoner, filed an amended complaint attempting
to sue the Indiana Department of Correction for monetary damages. “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). 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
The Indiana Department of Correction is a subdivision of the State of
Indiana. The Eleventh Amendment generally precludes a citizen from suing a
state or one of its agencies or departments in federal court. Wynn v. Southward,
251 F.3d 588, 592 (7th Cir. 2001). There are three exceptions to Eleventh
Amendment immunity: (1) suits against state officials seeking prospective
equitable relief for ongoing violations of federal law are not barred by the
Eleventh Amendment; (2) individuals may sue a state directly if Congress has
abrogated the state’s immunity from suit; and (3) individuals may sue the state
if the state waived its sovereign immunity and consented to suit in federal court.
MCI Telecommunications Corp. v. Ill. Commerce Comm’n, 183 F.3d 558, 563
(7th Cir. 1999).
None of these exceptions apply in this case. First, Mr. White isn’t suing a
state official and is not seeking injunctive relief. Second, State immunity wasn’t
abrogated by the enactment of Section 1983. Joseph v. Bd. of Regents of Univ.
of Wis. Sys., 432 F.3d 746, 748 (7th Cir. 2005). Third, Indiana hasn’t consented
to this lawsuit. Therefore the Indiana Department of Correction is immune from
suit. As explained in this court’s prior order (DE 5) which screened his original
complaint, it is frivolous to sue a defendant which has immunity.
For these reasons, this case is DISMISSED as frivolous pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A.
ENTERED: November 17, 2016.
/s/ Robert L. Miller, Jr.
United States District Court
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