Griffin v. Lawson et al
OPINION AND ORDER: denying as moot 6 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. The Court GRANTS Dylan Griffin to and including 11/13/17 to file an amended complaint. If Mr. Griffin doesnt respond by the deadline this case will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because the current complaint does not state a claim for which relief can be granted. Signed by Judge Robert L Miller, Jr on 10/16/17. (Copy mailed to pro se party). (nal)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
JULIE LAWSON, et. al.,
CAUSE NO. 3:17-CV-612 RLM
OPINION AND ORDER
Dylan Griffin, a pro se prisoner, filed a complaint against Deputy Collins for
verbally harassing him at the St. Joseph County Jail. The court must review 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. Courts apply the
same standard under Section 1915A as when deciding a motion under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th
Cir. 2006). To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must
state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Bissessur v. Indiana Univ. Bd.
of Trs., 581 F.3d 599, 602-603 (7th Cir. 2009). “A claim has facial plausibility
when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.
at 603. “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). To state 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).
Mr. Griffin, an inmate at the St. Joseph County Jail, complains that at
various times throughout July and August 2017, Deputy Collins made verbal
threats and racial slurs towards him. Deputy Collins has (according to the
complaint, which is all that is in the record) called Mr. Griffin, “White Trash,”
“Cracker,” and threatened to beat him up. Statements such as those alleged in Mr.
Griffin’s complaint are despicable, but they didn’t violate Mr. Griffin’s
constitutional rights because words generally alone don’t trigger constitutional
protections. See DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 612 (7th Cir. 2000) (“[S]imple
verbal harassment does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, deprive a
prisoner of a protected liberty interest or deny a prisoner equal protection of the
This complaint doesn’t state a claim upon which relief can be granted. It
doesn’t appear that Mr. Griffin could state a claim even if he filed an amended
complaint, but the court will let him try. See Luevano v. Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d 1014
(7th Cir. 2013). If he decides to file an amended complaint, he should get a blank
copy of this court’s complaint form from the law library and write the cause
number for this case in the caption on the first page.
As a final matter, Mr. Griffin again moves for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. This second motion is unnecessary as the record reflects that he has
already been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF 3.
For the these reasons, the court:
(1) DENIES AS MOOT the motion (ECF 6) for leave to proceed in forma
(2) GRANTS Dylan Griffin to and including November 13, 2017, to file
an amended complaint.
If Mr. Griffin doesn’t respond by the deadline, this case will be dismissed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because the current complaint does not state a
claim for which relief can be granted.
ENTERED: October 16 , 2017
/s/ Robert L. Miller, Jr.
United States District Court
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?