Mazon v. Penning
OPINION AND ORDER the court GRANTS Arturo Mazon leave to proceed against S. Penning in his individual capacity for compensatory and punitive damages for using excessive force by beating him while handcuffed on November 27, 2016 in violation of the E ighth Amendment; DISMISSES all other claims; DIRECTS the clerk and the US Marshals to issue and serve process on S. Penning with a copy of this order and the complaint; and ORDERS S. Penning to respond only to the claim for which the plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in this screening order. Signed by Judge Jon E DeGuilio on 3/31/2017. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(lpw)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
Cause No. 3:17-CV-156 JD
OPINION AND ORDER
Arturo Mazon, a pro se prisoner, alleges that on November 27, 2016, S. Penning put him
in a holding cell at 7:15 a.m. and beat him while he was handcuffed. “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). Nevertheless, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, this 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. “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 Cir. 2006).
The “core requirement” for an excessive force claim is that the defendant “used force not
in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, but maliciously and sadistically to cause
harm.” Hendrickson v. Cooper, 589 F.3d 887, 890 (7th Cir. 2009) (internal citation omitted).
“[T]he question whether the measure taken inflicted unnecessary and wanton pain and suffering
ultimately turns on whether force was applied in a good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline
or maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of causing harm.” Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S.
312, 320-21 (1986) (quotation marks and citation omitted).
Arising out of the same events, Mazon was charged and found guilty of Attempted Assault
on Staff. That finding of guilt is not inherently inconsistent with the allegations raised in this
complaint and prevailing in this case would not undermine that conviction. “In Evans v. Poskon,
603 F.3d 362 (7th Cir.2010), [the Seventh Circuit] addressed the ability of a plaintiff to proceed
on a § 1983 excessive force claim where that plaintiff had been convicted of resisting arrest, and
held that the plaintiff can only proceed to the extent that the facts underlying the excessive force
claim are not inconsistent with the essential facts supporting the conviction.” Helman v. Duhaime,
742 F.3d 760, 762 (7th Cir. 2014). So too here. Though Mazon cannot deny attempting to assault
a staff in this proceeding (unless he is able to have the findings of that disciplinary hearing
overturned), it is possible that S. Penning used excessive force before, during, or after Mazon
attempted to assault staff.
For these reasons, the court:
(1) GRANTS Arturo Mazon leave to proceed against S. Penning in his individual capacity
for compensatory and punitive damages for using excessive force by beating him while handcuffed
on November 27, 2016, in violation of the Eighth Amendment;
(2) DISMISSES all other claims;
(3) DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Service to issue and serve process
on S. Penning with a copy of this order and the complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d); and
(4) ORDERS, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), S. Penning to respond, as provided for
in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and N.D. Ind. L.R. 10-1(b), only to the claim for which the
plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in this screening order.
ENTERED: March 31, 2017
/s/ JON E. DEGUILIO
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?