Davis v. Schroeder
OPINION AND ORDER Davis is GRANTED until February 21, 2017, to file an amended complaint which properly states a claim. If Davis fails to file such an amended complaint, this action will be dismissed without further notice. Signed by Senior Judge James T Moody on 12/20/16. cc:Davis(kjp)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
No. 3:16 CV 844
OPINION AND ORDER
Clarence Davis, a pro se prisoner, is a pretrial detainee at the St. Joseph County
Jail. He is suing Diane Schroeder for placing him in segregation while in pretrial
detention. “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. “In order to state a claim
under § 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).
“[U]nder the Due Process Clause, a detainee may not be punished prior to an
adjudication of guilt in accordance with due process of law.” Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S.
520, 535 (1979). Thus, a pretrial detainee cannot be placed in segregation for punitive
reasons (as a punishment) without notice and an opportunity to be heard. Higgs v.
Carver, 286 F.3d 437, 438 (7th Cir. 2002). However, “if a particular condition or
restriction of pretrial detention is reasonably related to a legitimate government
objective, it does not, without more, amount to ‘punishment.’” Bell, 441 U.S. at 539.
Accordingly, the Seventh Circuit has held that “no process is required if [a pretrial
detainee] is placed in segregation not as punishment but for managerial reasons.” Higgs,
286 F.3d at 438.
Davis alleges that he has been segregated due to his past “assaultive
felony’s[sic]” and his current rape charge. (DE # 1 at 3.) This court previously permitted
a due process claim to proceed past the screening stage when a plaintiff alleged that he
was placed in segregation “not for a bona fide managerial reason . . . but for punitive
reasons related to his notoriety and the pending charges.” Erler v. Dominguez, No. 2:09CV-88-TLS, 2010 WL 670235, at *4 (N.D. Ind. Feb. 18, 2010). In the case at hand,
however, Davis has not alleged that his segregation was intended to punish, rather than
serve some legitimate government interest.
Specifically, Davis’s allegations could be read to support the notion that he has
been segregated due to the assaultive nature of his past convictions and other violent
behaviors. (See DE ## 1 at 3, 1-1 at 1.) Yet, “no process is required when a pretrial
detainee is segregated to protect jail staff and other prisoners from his violent
propensities, see Higgs v. Carver, 286 F.3d 437, 438 (7th Cir.2002); Zarnes v. Rhodes, 64
F.3d 285, 291–92 (7th Cir.1995).” Davis v. Schroeder, 464 F. App’x 549, 550 (7th Cir. 2012).
“[A] prison’s internal security is peculiarly a matter normally left to the discretion of
prison administrators [because p]rison administrators should be accorded wide-ranging
deference in the adoption and execution of policies and practices that in their judgment
are needed to preserve internal order and discipline and to maintain institutional
security.” Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 321–22 (1986) (quotation marks and ellipsis
omitted). Therefore, Davis fails to state a claim for a violation of his due process rights
based on these allegations.
Davis also alleges that his attorney has not visited him nor responded to his
letters. He implies that this is because he is in segregation, but this is mere speculation.
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). Here,
Davis has not provided any facts from which it would be plausible to infer that the
defendant has prevented his attorney from communicating with him. Therefore these
allegations do not state a claim.
Finally, Davis alleges that he is charged for medication. This does not state a
claim because the Constitution does not require free medical care. Poole v. Isaacs, 703
F.3d 1024, 1027 (7th Cir. 2012).
For the foregoing reasons, Davis is GRANTED until February 21, 2017, to file an
amended complaint which properly states a claim. Luevano v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 722
F.3d 1014, 1022 (7th Cir. 2013) (“Without at least an opportunity to amend or to respond
to an order to show cause, an IFP applicant’s case could be tossed out of court without
giving the applicant any timely notice or opportunity to be heard to clarify, contest, or
simply request leave to amend.”). If Davis fails to file such an amended complaint, this
action will be dismissed without further notice.
Date: December 20, 2016
s/James T. Moody
JUDGE JAMES T. MOODY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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