KELLY v. DOE 1 et al
Entry Dismissing Complaint and Directing Further Proceedings - The plaintiff has through June 19, 2017, in which to file an amended complaint thatconforms to the above requirements. If an amended complaint is filed, it will be screened. If no amended complaint is filed, the action will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). (Copy to Plaintiff via U.S. Mail). Signed by Judge William T. Lawrence on 5/23/2017.(JDC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
JOHN DOE 1,
GEORGE ZOLEY CEO GEO GROUP,
Entry Dismissing Complaint and Directing Further Proceedings
The plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at New Castle Correctional Industrial
Facility (“New Castle”). Because the plaintiff is a “prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(h),
this Court has an obligation under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) to screen his complaint before service on
the defendants. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court must dismiss the complaint if it is
frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant
who is immune from such relief. In determining whether the complaint states a claim, the Court
applies the same standard as when addressing a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). See Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th Cir. 2006). To survive
[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a
claim for relief that is plausible on its face. 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.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Pro se complaints such as that filed by the plaintiff
are construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers. Obriecht v. Raemisch, 517 F.3d 489, 491 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008).
The plaintiff’s Complaint is entitled “Class Action Complaint,” and the plaintiff seeks to
brings several claims on behalf of all past, present, and future inmates at New Castle. The lone
defendant is the CEO of GEO Group, the private entity contracted to run New Castle. The claims
span numerous areas of prison administration and prison conditions. Several examples show the
breadth of the plaintiff’s allegations: correctional officers fail to remain at their assigned posts in
the prison, which permits assaults to occur; the vocational programming is deficient; New Castle
lacks sufficient correctional officers to protect the inmates; correctional officers are never
disciplined for improper behavior; inmates are improperly classified; inmates with mental health
issues are not properly managed or classified; the healthcare provided is inadequate; and the food
service is inadequate.
The plaintiff’s Complaint must be dismissed. First, a pro se prisoner cannot typically
establish the criteria necessary to bring a class action. To certify a class, the plaintiff must
establish, among other things, that he will “fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). In nearly all instances, a pro se prisoner will not be an adequate class
representative. See Howard v. Pollard, 814 F.3d 476, 478 (7th Cir. 2015) (“[I]t is generally not
an abuse of discretion for a district court to deny a motion for class certification on the ground that
a pro se litigant is not an adequate class representative.”); Goodvine v. Meisner, 608 Fed. Appx.
415, 417 (7th Cir. 2015) (holding that the district court’s reasons for denying class certification—
that the plaintiffs “could not fairly represent the class interests because they were pro se (and had
not made an effort to secure class counsel)”—were “sound reasons”). There are no allegations
that would allow the Court to think that the pro se plaintiff here could adequately represent a class
of all inmates at New Castle, let alone past inmates, as he proposes. This especially true given the
scope of the claims the plaintiff seeks to bring. Accordingly, this action cannot proceed as a class
The plaintiff may still proceed with his individual claims on his own behalf. However, the
plaintiff’s allegations are devoid of any specific allegations regarding how he was harmed by any
of the alleged conduct or how the defendant, the CEO of GEO Group, was personally responsible
for them. Without such allegations, the plaintiff cannot state a § 1983 claim. See Matz v. Klotka,
769 F.3d 517, 528 (7th Cir. 2014); see also Minix v. Canarecci, 597 F.3d 824, 833 (7th Cir. 2010)
(“[I]ndividual liability under § 1983 requires ‘personal involvement in the alleged constitutional
deprivation.’”) (citation and quotation mark omitted).
Given the foregoing, the Court will give the plaintiff the opportunity to file an amended
complaint. The amended complaint must have the words “Amended Complaint” and the proper
case number, No. 1:17-cv-00598-WTL-MPB, on the first page.
In filing an amended complaint, the plaintiff shall conform to the following additional
guidelines: (a) the amended complaint shall comply with the requirement of Rule 8(a)(2) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that pleadings contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . .” and must allege facts (who did what when) rather
than generalized statements regarding the conditions of New Castle without explanation of how
those circumstances affected him personally; (b) the amended complaint must identify what legal
injury the plaintiff claims to have himself suffered and which individuals are directly responsible
for each such legal injury (there is no supervisory liability for violations of § 1983); and (c) the
amended complaint shall contain a clear statement of the relief that is sought.
The plaintiff has through June 19, 2017, in which to file an amended complaint that
conforms to the above requirements. If an amended complaint is filed, it will be screened. If no
amended complaint is filed, the action will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
NEW CASTLE - CF
NEW CASTLE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - Inmate Mail/Parcels
1000 Van Nuys Road
NEW CASTLE, IN 47362
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