Ajala, Mustafa-El v. Tom, Craig et al
ORDER on ifp request: Plaintiffs to submit Trust fund account statements and whether they wish to prosecute this case jointly. Trust Fund Account Statement due and Response to Order due 3/15/2013. Signed by Magistrate Judge Stephen L. Crocker on 2/21/2013. (jef),(ps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
MUSTAFA-EL K.A. AJALA and
KAMAU T.Z. DAMALI,
RICK RAEMISCH, DANIEL WESTIELD,
WILLIAM POLLARD, PETER ERICKSEN,
MICHAEL DELVEAUX, PATRICK BRANDT,
WILLIAM SWIEKATOWSKI, PETER HUIBREGTSE,
BRIAN KOOL, SARA MASON, CRAIG TOM,
LEBBEUS BROWN, MATTHEW SCULLION,
GARY BOUGHTON, JANET GOVIER and
OTHER JOHN AND JANE DOE ACTORS AND
This is a proposed civil action brought by two plaintiffs, inmates at the Wisconsin Secure
Program Facility in Boscobel, Wisconsin, alleging violations of their constitutional rights. Each
plaintiff has filed a request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. A decision on the requests will
be delayed until each plaintiff makes an initial partial payment of the $350 filing fee and until
each plaintiff confirms that he wishes to prosecute his action in a group complaint, knowing the
consequences of doing so.
First, although plaintiffs have joined their claims in one complaint, each is bringing an
action subject to the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act and each must pay the full $350 fee for
filing the action. Boriboune v. Berge, 381 F.3d at 856. Before this court can screen the complaint,
each plaintiff will have to pay an initial partial payment of the fee pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b) and is responsible for paying the remainder of the fee in installments pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
In addition, if the court finds that the entire action is legally frivolous (meaning
completely without merit) or malicious or that it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, the court will be required to record a strike under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) against each
plaintiff named in the caption of the action. (A litigant who incurs a total of three strikes for
filing meritless actions cannot file in forma pauperis in any case except one in which he alleges that
he is in immediate danger.)
Each plaintiff will be held legally responsible for knowing precisely what is being filed in
the case on his behalf and will be subject to sanctions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 for any pleading,
motion or other paper filed over his name if such sanctions are found warranted in any aspect
of the case.
Finally, in screening the complaint, the court will consider whether the action of one
plaintiff should be severed from the action of the other plaintiff and, if it decides severance is
appropriate, the plaintiff bringing the severed action will be required to prosecute his claims in
a separate lawsuit.
Because plaintiffs may not have been aware of the consequences of joining their claims
in one lawsuit, I will give each an opportunity to withdraw from the suit. Any plaintiff who does
not withdraw will be required to make an initial payment of the $350 fee for filing the action
whether he prosecutes the case separately or with other plaintiffs. That means that each plaintiff
must submit a trust fund account statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the
filing of the complaint. The complaint in this case was submitted on February 12, 2013.
Therefore, each plaintiff should submit a trust fund account statement for the six-month period
beginning approximately August 12, 2012 and ending approximately February 12, 2013. Once
plaintiffs have each submitted the necessary statement, I will calculate each plaintiff’s initial
partial payment and advise him of the amount he will have to pay before the court can screen
the merits of his complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Should a plaintiff choose to withdraw
from the lawsuit, he will not have to pay the $350 filing fee. Similarly, should a plaintiff fail to
respond to this order, he will be considered to have withdrawn from the lawsuit and he will not
have to pay the filing fee.
IT IS ORDERED that
1. Each plaintiff may have until March 15, 2013, in which to advise the court whether
he wishes to prosecute this action jointly.
2. If plaintiffs decide to proceed with the action, each may have until March 15, 2013,
in which to submit a trust fund account statement covering the period beginning August 12,
2012 and ending approximately February 12, 2013. If, by March 15, 2013, any plaintiff fails
to submit the required statement, that plaintiff will be considered to have withdrawn from the
lawsuit voluntarily and will be dismissed from the case without being charged any portion of the
$350 filing fee.
Entered this 21st day of February, 2013.
BY THE COURT:
STEPHEN L. CROCKER