TRIPP et al v. CARTER et al
Entry Screening Amended Complaint and Directing Further Proceedings - Given the foregoing, the First Amendment retaliation claims against Brian Smith and Chris Williams shall proceed.The clerk is designated pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3) to issu e process to defendants Brian Smith and Chris Williams in the manner specified by Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d). Process shall consist of the amended complaint (docket 9), applicable forms (Notice of Lawsuit and Request for Waiver of Service of Summons and Wa iver of Service of Summons), and this Entry. The clerk is directed to update the docket to reflect that Commissioner Rob Carter is no longer a defendant in this action.The clerk is designated to serve the Indiana Department of Correction employees electronically (SEE ENTRY). Copies distributed pursuant to distribution list. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 10/13/2017.(DW)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
TERRE HAUTE DIVISION
ROB CARTER Commissioner I.D.O.C.,
BRIAN SMITH Warden Putnamville
CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS Putnamville
Entry Screening Amended Complaint and Directing Further Proceedings
I. Screening Standard
The plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Putnamville Correctional Facility
(“Putnamville”). His original complaint was dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. Instead of dismissing the action, the plaintiff was given the opportunity to
file an amended complaint. He has done so. The amended complaint is now subject to the screening
requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). 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 dismissal,
[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).
II. The Complaint
The plaintiff brings his claims against the defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
alleges that the defendants, Brian Smith, Chris Williams, and Rob Carter, retaliated against him
for accessing the institution’s grievance process. Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that defendant
Brian Smith, Warden of Putnamville, ordered prison staff to reassign the plaintiff to a job cleaning
toilets in retaliation for filing grievances related to his exclusion from work based upon his use of
the law library and his reassignment to a less desirable job based upon “profiling” by the
The plaintiff alleges that defendant Chris Williams ordered prison staff to search the
plaintiff’s cell in retaliation for filing grievances alleging that Williams “covered for staff
misconduct” when Williams responded to inmate grievances. This cell search resulted in the
confiscation of his prison litigation manual and a conduct report.
The plaintiff alleges that Rob Carter, IDOC Commissioner, covers for staff misconduct.
The amended complaint includes additional allegations of misconduct against prison staff
not named as defendants in the amended complaint.
III. Discussion of Claims
Applying the screening standard to the factual allegations in the amended complaint
certain claims are dismissed while other claims shall proceed as submitted.
First, the plaintiff’s allegations against people not named as defendants in the amended
complaint are dismissed. Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d 551, 551-52 (7th Cir. 2005) (“[T]o
make someone a party the plaintiff must specify him in the caption and arrange for service of
process.”) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(a) (“In the complaint the title of the action shall include the
names of all the parties.”)).
Second, the claim against the Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner Rob Carter
is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The only allegation
against him is that he covers for staff misconduct. This allegation is too vague and fails to allege
personal involvement by the Commissioner in the alleged retaliation against the plaintiff. “A
damages suit under § 1983 requires that a defendant be personally involved in the alleged
constitutional deprivation.” Matz v. Klotka, 769 F.3d 517, 528 (7th Cir. 2014); see 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). The plaintiff’s allegations do not suggest a plausible basis for concluding that this
supervisory defendant caused or participated in the alleged constitutional deprivation. See Wolf
Lillie v. Sonquist, 699 F.2d 864, 869 (7th Cir. 1983).
Third, the Court notes that some of the injunctive relief requested in this action is not
available. The plaintiff requests the following:
Dkt. 9 at 3.
The injunctive relief requested is not available because the action sought is outside the
control of the defendants who are necessarily sued in their individual capacities. Furthermore, as
noted in this Court’s September 25, 2017 entry, claims for the restoration of earned credit time
must be brought as a habeas petition, not as a § 1983 claim. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477
(1994); Gilbert v. Cook, 512 F.3d 899, 900 (7th Cir. 2007).
The plaintiff’s First Amendment retaliation claim against Brian Smith and Christopher
Williams shall proceed. These claims are the only plausible claims identified by the Court. If the
plaintiff believes that additional claims were alleged in the complaint, but not identified by the
Court he shall have through November 15, 2017, in which to identify those claims.
IV. Duty to Update Address
The pro se plaintiff shall report any change of address within ten (10) days of any change.
The Court must be able to locate the plaintiff to communicate with him. If the plaintiff fails to keep
the Court informed of his or her current address, the action may be subject to dismissal for failure
to comply with Court orders and failure to prosecute.
V. Service of Process
Given the foregoing, the First Amendment retaliation claims against Brian Smith and Chris
Williams shall proceed.
The clerk is designated pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3) to issue process to defendants
Brian Smith and Chris Williams in the manner specified by Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d). Process shall
consist of the amended complaint (docket 9), 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 Commissioner Rob Carter is no
longer a defendant in this action.
The clerk is designated to serve the Indiana Department of Correction employees
IT IS SO ORDERED.
PUTNAMVILLE – CF
Electronic Service Participant – Court Only
Electronic service to:
Brian Smith, Warden
(All at Putnamville Correctional Facility)
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