Hall v. Indiana Department of Corrections et al
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING Hall until 5/18/17 to file an amended complaint. Signed by Judge Rudy Lozano on 4/21/17. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(mlc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
KEVIN MICHAEL HALL,
INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF
CORRECTIONS, et al.,
CAUSE NO. 3:17-CV-266
OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the complaint filed by
Kevin Michael Hall, a pro se prisoner, on April 3, 2017. For the
reasons set forth below, the court GRANTS Kevin Michael Hall until
May 18, 2017, to file an amended complaint and CAUTIONS him that
if he does not respond by that deadline, this case will be
dismissed without further notice.
Hall is suing four defendants based on two claims. “A document
filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint,
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.
Two of the four defendants are immune from suit pursuant to
Indiana State Prison. See Wynn v. Southward, 251 F.3d 588, 592
(7th Cir. 2001). There are three exceptions to Eleventh Amendment
immunity: (1) suits directly against the State based on a cause of
action where Congress has abrogated the state’s immunity from suit;
(2) suits directly against the State if the State waived its
sovereign immunity; and (3) suits against a State official seeking
prospective equitable relief for ongoing violations of federal
law. MCI Telecommunications Corp. v. Ill. Commerce Comm’ n, 183
F.3d 558, 563 (7th Cir. 1999). None of these exceptions apply here.
enactment of Section 1983. Joseph v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. of
Wis. Sys., 432 F.3d 746, 748 (7th Cir. 2005). Indiana has not
consented to this lawsuit. Neither the Indiana Department of
Correction or the Indiana State Prison are State officials and
relief. Therefore the Indiana Department of Correction and Indiana
State Prison must be dismissed.
Hall alleges that Captain Yantzy and Sergeant Allen allowed
other inmates to steal his property. The Fourteenth Amendment
provides that state officials shall not “deprive any person of
life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” However,
a state tort claims act that provides a method by which a person
can seek reimbursement for the negligent loss or intentional
depravation of property meets the requirements of the due process
clause by providing due process of law. Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S.
517, 533 (1984) and Wynn v. Southward, 251 F.3d 588, 593 (7th Cir.
2001) (“Wynn has an adequate post-deprivation remedy in the Indiana
Tort Claims Act, and no more process was due.”). Because the State
of Indiana provides a means to obtain redress for Hall’s lost
property, he has not been denied due process and does not state a
claim for a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Therefore, this
claims must be dismissed without prejudice.
Hall alleges that Captain Yantzy and Sergeant Allen did not
protect him from being attacked by Jordan Freeman on April 15,
2015, or April 24, 2015. When an inmate is attacked by another
indifference by prison officials effectively condones the attack
by allowing it to happen.” Haley v. Gross, 86 F.3d 630, 640 (7th
Cir. 1996). The defendant “must both be aware of facts from which
the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious
harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.” Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994).
Hall alleges that on April 15, 2015, he fought with Jordan
Freeman in his cell. He alleges that Freeman told him he would
return later that day and attack him with a knife. Hall told
Sergeant Allen who took Hall to talk to Captain Yantzy. The two
officers had Hall hide in the office while they removed Freeman
from the unit. There is no indication that anyone knew that Freeman
posed a threat to Hall until the fight. Therefore the officers are
not liable for not protecting Hall from that first attack. Neither
were they deliberately indifferent when they were told about it.
They secured Hall in a safe place and removed Freeman from the
Nine days later, on April 24, 2015, Hall was stabbed by an
unknown inmate. He went to the Correction Officer’s Cage and spoke
to some officers. Hall does not say that Sergeant Allen or Captain
Yantzy were there at this time. The officers put him in the Cage
and left to find the attacker. After they left, Freeman entered
the Cage and attacked him with a knife. Though it might have been
“[n]egligence on the part of an official does not violate the
Constitution, and it is not enough that he or she should have known
of a risk. Instead, deliberate indifference requires evidence that
an official actually knew of a substantial risk of serious harm
and consciously disregarded it nonetheless.” Pierson v. Hartley,
391 F.3d 898, 902 (7th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). It is not
enough to show that a defendant merely failed to act reasonably.
Gibbs v. Franklin, 49 F.3d 1206, 1208 (7th Cir. 1995). Even
incompetence does not state a claim of deliberate indifference.
Walker v. Peters, 233 F.3d 494 (7th Cir. 2000). Here, Hall has not
alleged any facts from which it could be inferred that Sergeant
Allen, Captain Yantzy, or the unidentified officers on the 24th
deliberately indifferent in their response to Hall’s attack that
day. Therefore, Hall has not stated a claim against Sergeant Allen
or Captain Yantzy.
Hall’s complaint is well written and it does not appear that
he omitted any relevant facts. Nevertheless, if he has facts which
would show that Sergeant Allen or Captain Yantzy were deliberately
indifferent, he may get a copy of the court’s Prisoner Complaint
(INND Rev. 8/16) form from the prison law library and file an
amended complaint. See Luevano v. Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d 1014 (7th
Cir. 2013). If not, he need not file one.
For the reasons set forth above, the Court GRANTS Kevin
Michael Hall until May 18, 2017, to file an amended complaint and
CAUTIONS him that if he does not respond by that deadline, this
case will be dismissed without further notice.
DATED: April 21, 2017
/s/RUDY LOZANO, Judge
United States District Court
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