YOUNG v. SEVIER et al
ORDER SCREENING AMENDED COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING SERVICE OF PROCESS - As stated above, the only claim proceeding in this action is the plaintiff's Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim against Warden Mark Sevier. The clerk is direc ted pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3) to issue process to defendant Mark Sevier in the manner specified by Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d). Process shall consist of the amended complaint, dkt. 15 , applicable forms (Notice of Lawsuit and Request for Waive r of Service of Summons and Waiver of Service of Summons), and this Order. The clerk is directed to send a courtesy copy of the service documents to Adam Forrest. Because all claims against Chaplain Dave, Geo Group, NCCF, Social Security, and Wexf ord have been dismissed, the clerk is directed to terminate them as defendants on the docket. The clerk is also directed to restrict access to the amended complaint to case participants, as it includes the plaintiff's social security number. (See Order.) Copies via US Mail per distribution list. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 10/15/2020.(NAD) Modified on 10/16/2020 - correct citing to Amended Complaint from dkt 15 to 14.(NAD). (Main Document 17 replaced on 10/16/2020) (NAD).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
MARK SEVIER, et al.
ORDER SCREENING AMENDED COMPLAINT
AND DIRECTING SERVICE OF PROCESS
Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) inmate David Young commenced this 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 action on February 25, 2020, and was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis on May
29, 2020. Dkt. 10. The Court dismissed the original complaint and gave the plaintiff a period of
time in which to "file a signed complaint setting forth his allegations that his cell had no heat in
the winter, who was responsible for this alleged constitutional violation, and what relief he seeks."
Mr. Young filed an amended complaint on August 26, 2020. Dkt. 14.The Court now
screens the amended complaint and makes the following rulings.
I. Screening Standard
Because Mr. Young is a prisoner, his amended complaint is subject to the screening
requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). This statute directs that the Court shall dismiss a complaint
or any claim within a complaint which "(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief." Id. To satisfy the notice-pleading standard of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, a complaint must provide a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief," which is sufficient to provide the defendant with "fair notice" of the
claim and its basis. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (citing Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) and quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)); see also Tamayo v.
Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008) (same). The Court construes pro se pleadings
liberally and holds pro se pleadings to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers. Perez v. Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 768, 776 (7th Cir. 2015).
The Amended Complaint
The complaint names six defendants: Mark Sevier, NCCF (New Castle Correctional
Facility), GEO Group, Chaplain Dave, Social Security, and Wexford. The plaintiff makes the
following allegations. The plaintiff's cell was "ice cold" and had no heat when it was snowing and
below 33 degrees outside. He complained to the Warden, but his complaints were ignored.
Chaplain Dave refuses to provide the plaintiff with a kosher diet and chips and salsa which are a
religious requirement. Social Security refuses to provide the plaintiff with income despite his
history of trauma, depression, and delusions. Dr. Predime refuses to give the plaintiff medication
he needs. The plaintiff needs medicine "to forget" and Ritalin. Dkt. 14 at 8. He has received
medication by injection, but this violates "shrea" law. Id. He seeks injunctive relief and monetary
Discussion of Claims
The facts alleged in the complaint go beyond the scope of the Court's August 7, 2020,
instructions. This is problematic for two reasons. First, the complaint includes misjoined claims.
George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007) ("Unrelated claims against different defendants
belong in different suits. . . ."). Second, since filing the original complaint in this action the plaintiff
has struck out, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), and allowing him to pursue additional claims without the
payment of the filing fee circumvents the requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act.
Under these circumstances, the Court will screen the claims raised in the amended
complaint to alert the plaintiff to potentially viable claims that are misjoined here but could be
pursued in a separate lawsuit after payment of the filing fee. However, the only claim that will
proceed in this action is the Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim against Mark
Sevier regarding the alleged lack of sufficient heat in the plaintiff's cell.
First, all claims against GEO Group and Wexford are dismissed. GEO Group and Wexford
act under color of state law by contracting to perform a government function, i.e., running a
correctional institution and providing medical services, such that they are treated as government
entities for purposes of Section 1983 claims. See Jackson v. Illinois Medi-Car, Inc., 300 F.3d 760,
766 fn.6 (7th Cir. 2002); but see Shields v. Illinois Department of Correction, 746 F.3d 782, 790
(7th Cir. 2014) (finding "substantial grounds to question the extension of the Monell holding for
municipalities to private corporations"). Therefore, to state a cognizable deliberate indifference
claim against GEO Group or Wexford, the plaintiff must allege that he suffered a constitutional
deprivation as the result of an express policy or custom of GEO Group or Wexford. No such
allegations are present in the complaint. For these reasons, the claims against GEO of New Castle
Correctional Facility are dismissed.
To the extent the plaintiff raises claims about medication by injection violating his religious
beliefs, he does not name a defendant responsible for the injections. He also does not name
Dr. Predime as a defendant in the caption of the amended complaint and does not allege that
Dr. Predime is the medical professional who injected him with medication. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
10(a). Furthermore, such a claim would be beyond the scope of the Court's previous screening
order and would be misjoined. Therefore, if the plaintiff wishes to pursue any medical claims, he
may file a new civil complaint, although he will be required to pay the filing fee because he has
struck out, as noted above.
Second, all claims against NCCF (New Castle Correctional Facility) are dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because, as a building, it is not a suable
entity under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. White v. Knight, 710 F. App'x 260, 262 (7th Cir. 2018), cert. denied,
139 S. Ct. 107 (2018); Looney v. Miami Corr. Facility, No. 3:18CV18-PPS/MGG, 2018 WL
1992197, at *2 (N.D. Ind. Apr. 27, 2018) (dismissing Miami Correctional Facility).
Next, the plaintiff's claims against Social Security are dismissed for failure to state a claim.
Although this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 USC § 405(g) to review a decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security denying an application for Social Security Disability benefits for lack
of disability, the plaintiff provides no factual allegations to support such a claim. Furthermore, Social
Security is not an individual suable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Finally, the plaintiff's claim that Chaplain Dave denied him a kosher diet is misjoined and
was raised for the first time in the amended complaint after the plaintiff struck out. Therefore, the
claim against Chaplain Dave is dismissed. If the plaintiff wishes to pursue this claim, he may file
a separate complaint and will be required to pay the filing fee.
As stated above, the only claim proceeding in this action is the plaintiff's
Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim against Warden Mark Sevier.
Service of Process
The clerk is directed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3) to issue process to defendant Mark
Sevier in the manner specified by Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d). Process shall consist of the amended
complaint, dkt. , applicable forms (Notice of Lawsuit and Request for Waiver of Service of
Summons and Waiver of Service of Summons), and this Order. The clerk is directed to send a
courtesy copy of the service documents to Adam Forrest.
Because all claims against Chaplain Dave, Geo Group, NCCF, Social Security, and
Wexford have been dismissed, the clerk is directed to terminate them as defendants on the docket.
The clerk is also directed to restrict access to the amended complaint to case participants,
as it includes the plaintiff's social security number. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2(a).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
NEW CASTLE - CF
NEW CASTLE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - Inmate Mail/Parcels
1000 Van Nuys Road
NEW CASTLE, IN 47362
NEW CASTLE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
1000 Van Nuys Road
NEW CASTLE, IN 47362
Courtesy Copy to:
Boston Bever Klinge Cross & Chidester
27 North Eighth Street
Richmond, IN 47374
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