HOLLEMAN v. HORTH
ENTRY Screening Complaint and Directing Further Proceedings - The clerk is designated pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3) to issue process to defendant Gwendolyn Horth in the manner specified by Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d). Process shall consist of the c omplaint (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 Gwendolyn Horth is the only defendant in this action (SEE ORDER). Signed by Judge William T. Lawrence on 11/15/2017. Copies distributed pursuant to distribution list (DW)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
TERRE HAUTE DIVISION
ROBERT L. HOLLEMAN,
GWENDOLYN M. HORTH individually and in
her official capacity as the Chairwoman of the
Indiana Parole Board, 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 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the five members of
the Indiana Parole Board and a Jane Doe employee of the Indiana Department of Correction. He
alleges that the defendants violated his due process right to present documentary evidence at his
parole hearing on November 12, 2017. Specifically, he alleges he brought a psychiatric report to
the video hearing that he wished to have faxed to the Parole Board members for their consideration,
but it was not provided to them and thus they did not consider it. He seeks monetary damages and
injunctive relief—namely, a new parole board hearing under certain conditions.
First, the plaintiff’s claims against unknown John Doe or Jane Doe defendants must be
dismissed. “[I]t is pointless to include [an] anonymous defendant  in federal court; this type of
placeholder does not open the door to relation back under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15, nor can it otherwise
help the plaintiff.” Wudtke v. Davel, 128 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 1997) (internal citations
Second, the plaintiff may not obtain monetary damages against the remaining five
defendants, who are all members of the Indiana Parole Board and thus entitled to absolute
immunity. Actions by parole board members “that are ‘inexorably connected with the execution
of parole revocation procedures and are analogous to judicial action’ invoke absolute immunity.”
Wilson v. Kelkhoff, 86 F.3d 1438, 1444 (7th Cir. 1996) (quoting Walrath v. United States, 35 F.3d
277, 281 (7th Cir. 1994)). The procedures followed at the parole hearing—i.e., whether or not the
plaintiff can present documentary evidence—clearly fall within this standard.
However, the plaintiff’s due process claim seeking injunctive relief shall proceed. See
Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 76 (2005). This claim is an official capacity claim and thus
need not be asserted against each member of the Indiana Parole Board. Therefore, the claim shall
proceed only against Gwendolyn Horth in her official capacity as Chair of the Indiana Parole
The clerk is designated pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3) to issue process to defendant
Gwendolyn Horth 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 Gwendolyn Horth is the only
defendant in this action.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
ROBERT L. HOLLEMAN
WABASH VALLEY - CF
WABASH VALLEY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - Inmate Mail/Parcels
6908 S. Old US Hwy 41
P.O. Box 1111
CARLISLE, IN 47838
By Electronic Service to IDOC:
Gwendolyn Horth, Chair, Indiana Parole Board
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