NAYLOR v. TALBOT et al
Entry Screening Complaint, Dismissing Certain Claims and Directing Further Proceedings - First, claims against Duane Alsip must be dismissed because the allegations asserted against him do not implicate a constitutional right. The allegations agains t defendant Dr. Paul Talbot are sufficient to allege that Dr. Talbot was deliberately indifferent to Mr. Naylor's serious medical needs: specifically, his need for a bottom bunk and range pass and the ability to carry his Imodium and acid reflux medications. These allegations implicate Mr. Naylor's Eighth Amendment rights. These claims shall proceed as submitted and the Court will consider if Mr. Naylor is entitled to injunctive relief regarding cell placement and the ability to carry medications, as well as, money damages. The clerk is designated pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3) to issue process to defendant Dr. Paul Talbot in the manner specified by Rule 4(d). Process shall consist of the complaint filed on July 13, 2017, app licable forms (Notice of Lawsuit and Request for Waiver of Service of Summons and Waiver of Service of Summons), and this Entry. See entry for details. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 9/15/2017. (Copy mailed to Dr. Paul Talbot and Douglas Bitner) (MEJ)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
PAUL TALBOT Dr., and DUANE ALSIP,
Case No. 1:17-cv-02380-TWP-TAB
Entry Screening Complaint, Dismissing Certain Claims and Directing Further Proceedings
I. Standard of Review
The plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional Facility
(“Pendleton”). 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 complaint in this case
is particularly difficult to read. The Court made every effort to figure out the allegations discussed
below. If the Court misunderstood or missed a material allegation, the plaintiff is encouraged to
notify the Court of the misunderstanding within 14 days of the date this Entry is docketed. The
plaintiff is encouraged to print using larger letters in future filings.
II. The Complaint
Plaintiff John Naylor filed this civil action against Dr. Paul Talbot and Duane Alsip
alleging the following.
Mr. Naylor alleges that Dr. Talbot refused him a bottom bunk and bottom range pass
despite the fact that Mr. Naylor fell several times. In addition, Dr. Talbot put Mr. Naylor’s “KOP
meds on DOT despite grievances, harm to rem sleep, circadian rhythms and exposure to my
attacker Cortez Jones and STG associates.” Dkt 2 at 2. The terms “KOP” and “DOT” are not
Thereafter, Mr. Naylor was falsely convicted of a prison disciplinary violation and that
Duane Alsip denied his facility level disciplinary hearing appeal.
Mr. Naylor seeks a court order directing the following: 1) that he not be moved to a top
bunk or upper range; 2) that he be given Imodium and acid reflux medications as a KOP; 3)
expungement of his disciplinary conviction; 4) membership in Sons of the American Legion Post
# 608 and placement on the count letter so he can attend meetings; and 5) return of legal papers
from Internal Affairs. He also seeks $60,000 in actual and punitive damages.
III. Discussion of Claims for Relief
In his Complaint, Mr. Naylor states that he is suing under state law. If this is true, then this
action must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The reason for this ruling is that there is no
allegation which would support the exercise of the court’s diversity jurisdiction as to any claim
under Indiana state law. This is because a district court cannot exercise diversity jurisdiction if the
plaintiff shares the same state citizenship as any one of the defendants. Whalen v. Carter, 954 F.2d
1087, 1094 (5th Cir. 1992) (citing Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 3 Cranch 267, 7 U.S. 267, 2 L.Ed. 435
(1806)); see also Hart v. FedEx Ground Package Sys. Inc., 457 F.3d 675, 676 (7th Cir. 2006). In
this case all parties are citizens of Indiana.
This Court, however, assumes that Mr. Naylor intended to sue for a violation of federal
law under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, so further consideration of his allegations is necessary. Any federal
claims would necessarily be brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a claim under § 1983,
a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color
of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Section 1983 is not itself a source of
substantive rights; instead it is a means for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred. Ledford
v. Sullivan, 105 F.3d 354, 356 (7th Cir. 1997) (citing Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3
(1979)). “[T]he first step in any [§ 1983] claim is to identify the specific constitutional right
infringed.” Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994). Constitutional claims are to be addressed
under the most applicable provision. See Conyers v. Abitz, 416 F.3d 580, 586 (7th Cir. 2005).
First, claims against Duane Alsip must be dismissed because the allegations asserted
against him do not implicate a constitutional right. The Seventh Circuit has “specifically
denounc[ed] a Fourteenth Amendment substantive due-process right to an inmate grievance
procedure.” Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 772 (7th Cir. 2008). As explained in Antonelli
v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1430-31 (7th Cir. 1996), “any right to a grievance procedure is a
procedural right, not a substantive one. Accordingly, a state’s inmate grievance procedures do not
give rise to a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause.” Id. at 1430-31(internal citations
omitted). Because Mr. Naylor had no expectation of a particular outcome of his grievances or
complaints there is no viable claim which can be vindicated through § 1983. Juriss v. McGowan,
957 F.2d 345, 349 n.1 (7th Cir. 1992) (without a predicate constitutional violation one cannot make
out a prima facie case under § 1983). In addition, if the disciplinary action at issue resulted in the
deprivation of good time credit then Mr. Naylor’s claim for relief (that is, expungement of his
conviction) must be brought as a motion for writ of habeas corpus.
The allegations against defendant Dr. Paul Talbot are sufficient to allege that Dr. Talbot
was deliberately indifferent to Mr. Naylor’s serious medical needs: specifically, his need for a
bottom bunk and range pass and the ability to carry his Imodium and acid reflux medications.
These allegations implicate Mr. Naylor’s Eighth Amendment rights. These claims shall proceed
as submitted and the Court will consider if Mr. Naylor is entitled to injunctive relief regarding cell
placement and the ability to carry medications, as well as, money damages.
That said, Mr. Naylor’s request for an order which does the following: expunges his
disciplinary conviction; orders reinstatement of Mr. Naylor’s membership in Sons of the American
Legion Post # 608 and placement on the count letter so he can attend meetings; and the return of
his legal papers from Internal Affairs is rejected. The reason for this ruling is that these requests
for relief are outside the scope of this litigation. In other words, any relief ordered in this action
can only be directed against the remaining defendant, Dr. Talbot and there is no plausible basis to
conclude that this medical professional has authority regarding these requests for relief.
IV. Service of Process
The clerk is designated pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3) to issue process to defendant Dr.
Paul Talbot in the manner specified by Rule 4(d). Process shall consist of the complaint filed on
July 13, 2017, applicable forms (Notice of Lawsuit and Request for Waiver of Service of Summons
and Waiver of Service of Summons), and this Entry.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DOC # 128761
PENDLETON CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
Electronic Service Participant -- Court Only
Dr. Paul Talbot – Staff Mail
PENDLETON CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
4490 West Reformatory Road
PENDLETON, IN 46064
Katz Korin Cunningham PC
334 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204-1708
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