ANDRESS v. INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS et al
ENTRY Screening Complaint and Directing Further Proceedings - Given the foregoing, the following claims shall proceed: Claims under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act against the IDOC. The clerk is designated pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3) to i ssue process to defendant Indiana Department of Correction in the manner specified by Fed. R. Civ. P. 4 (d). Process shall consist of the complaint (docket 1), applicable forms (Notice of Lawsuit and Request for Waiver of Service of Summons a nd Waiver of Service of Summons), and this Entry. The clerk is directed to update the docket to reflect that the IDOC is the only defendant remaining in this action (SEE ENTRY FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION). Copies distributed pursuant to distribution list. Signed by Judge William T. Lawrence on 10/25/2017.(DW)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
TERRE HAUTE DIVISION
KAREN RICHARDS, et al.,
Entry Screening Complaint and Directing Further Proceedings
The plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
(“Wabash Valley”). 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 brings this action against defendants Indiana Department of Correction
(“IDOC”), Karen Richards, Teresa Littlejohn, Frank Littlejohn, Jay Hendricks, Dick Brown, and
Bruce Lemmon. The plaintiff uses a prosthetic leg for mobility. He alleges that, on August 19,
2015, his prosthetic leg became tangled in the computer cords in the law library while he was using
the computer. This caused him to fall out of his chair and break his hip. The plaintiff alleges that
Karen Richards knew of this hazard before the incident, but failed to do anything about it. The
plaintiff also alleges that he attempted to grieve this issue, but the grievance coordinator, Teresa
Littlejohn, rejected his grievance as a non-grievable issue.
Based on these allegations, the plaintiff asserts claims against the defendants under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Rehabilitation Act, as well as under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 based on a purported Eighth Amendment violation.
The statutory claims against the individual defendants are dismissed. Several of the
individual defendants are named in the ADA and Rehabilitation Act claims, but employees of the
IDOC are not amenable to suit under the Rehabilitation Act or the ADA. See Jaros v. Illinois Dept.
of Corrections, 684 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing 29 U.S.C. § 794(b); 42 U.S.C. § 12131;
Foley v. City of Lafayette, 359 F.3d 925, 928 (7th Cir. 2004); Garcia v. S.U.N.Y. Health Scis. Ctr.
of Brooklyn, 280 F.3d 98, 107 (2d Cir. 2001) (collecting authority)). Accordingly, the ADA and
Rehabilitation Act claims against the individual defendants in their individual capacities are
dismissed. In addition, a claim against the individual defendants in their official capacities is
really a claim against the IDOC. See Jaros, 684 F.3d at 670 n.2. Because the IDOC is also named
as a defendant the ADA and Rehabilitation Act claims against the individual defendants in their
official capacities are dismissed as duplicative.
The complaint purports to bring Eighth Amendment claims against the individual
defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on his falling while using the computer and
breaking his hip. As the plaintiff acknowledges, he has another action pending in this Court, No.
2:16-cv-00011-WTL-MJD. In that action, Eighth Amendment and state-law negligence claims
are proceeding against Karen Richards based on the exact same allegations. See No. 2:16-cv000WTL-MJD, Dkt. No. 7. Therefore, such claims may not proceed against Karen Richards in
this action and are dismissed as duplicative. See Rizzo v. City of Wheaton, Ill., 462 Fed. Appx.
609, 613 (7th Cir. 2011) (“District courts have ample discretion to dismiss duplicative litigation. .
. .”); Trippe Mfg. Co. v. Am. Power Conversion Corp., 46 F.3d 624, 629 (7th Cir. 1995) (“A district
court has an ample degree of discretion in deferring to another federal proceeding involving the
same parties and issues to avoid duplicative litigation.”).
The extent that the plaintiff wishes to bring Eighth Amendment claims against the other
individual defendants based on his fall, there are no allegations that any of the other defendants
were personally involved in this incident. Accordingly, these claims are dismissed. 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
Finally, to the extent the plaintiff wishes to bring a constitutional claim based on a denial
of the grievance process, such allegations fail to state a constitutional violation. 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 143031 (citations omitted).
Given the foregoing, the following claims shall proceed:
Claims under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act against the IDOC.
The clerk is designated pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3) to issue process to defendant
Indiana Department of Correction in the manner specified by Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d). Process shall
consist of the complaint (docket 1), applicable forms (Notice of Lawsuit and Request for Waiver
of Service of Summons and Waiver of Service of Summons), and this Entry.
The clerk is directed to update the docket to reflect that the IDOC is the only defendant
remaining in this action.
Nothing in this Entry precludes the IDOC from filing a motion to dismiss under Rule 12 if
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
WABASH VALLEY - CF
WABASH VALLEY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - Inmate Mail/Parcels
Electronic Service Participant – Court Only
By Electronic Service to IDOC:
Indiana Department of Correction
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