Crichlow v. Doe et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 5/10/12. (dzs, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
KEINO S. CRICHLOW,
JOHN DOE, et al.,
) Civ. Action No. 12-303-GMS
The plaintiff, Keino S. Crichlow ("Crichlow"), an inmate at the James T. Vaughn
Correctional Center ("VCC), Smyrna, Delaware, filed this lawsuit on March 13, 2012. (D.I. 3.)
He proceeds pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The court proceeds
to review and screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and§ 1915A.
Crichlow filed his complaint alleging violations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, § 504 ofthe Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Rehabilitation Act"), and the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"). He seeks redress for unconstitutional
conditions of confinement that violated Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland federal and state
laws while he was confined in four separate facilities in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
This court must dismiss, at the earliest practicable time, certain in forma pauperis and
prisoner actions that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (in forma pauperis
actions); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (actions in which prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
defendant); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (prisoner actions brought with respect to prison conditions). The
court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light most
favorable to a prose plaintiff. Phillips v. County ofAllegheny, 515 F.3d 224,229 (3d Cir. 2008);
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007). Because Crichlow proceeds prose, his pleading is
liberally construed and his complaint, "however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 94
Rule 8(d)(l) states, in pertinent part, that "[e]ach allegation must be simple, concise and
direct." Rule 20(1 )(a)(2), which is also applicable, states, in pertinent part, as follows:
Persons may ... be joined in one action as defendants if any right to relief is
asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or
arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or
occurrences; and any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise
in the action.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a) (2)(A) and (B).
"In exercising its discretion [to join parties], the District Court must provide a reasoned
analysis that comports with the requirements ofthe Rule, and that is based on the specific fact
pattern presented by the plaintiffs and claims before the court." Hagan v. Rogers, 570 F.3d 146,
157 (3d Cir. 2009); see also Boretsky v. Governor ofNew Jersey, 433 F. App'x 73 (3d Cir. 2011)
Crichlow filed the instant complaint against forty-four defendants. The complaint
contains unrelated claims against numerous defendants in violation of Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a). The
complaint is clearly unmanageable and the forty-four defendants would have great difficulty
responding to it. While joinder is encouraged for purposes of judicial economy, the "Federal
Rules do not contemplate joinder of different actions against different parties which present
entirely different factual and legal issues." Zhu v. Countrywide Realty Co., Inc., 160 F. Supp. 2d
1210, 1225 (D. Kan. 2001) (citation omitted).
In addition, "[t]he Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), which substantially
changed the judicial treatment of civil rights actions by state and federal prisoners, also compels
compliance with Rule 20. Specifically, under the PLRA the full filing fee must ultimately be
paid in a non-habeas action. Allowing a prisoner to include a plethora of separate, independent
claims, would circumvent the filing fee requirements of the PLRA." Mincy v. Klem, 2007 WL
1576444, at *1 (M.D. Pa. May 30, 2007). See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605,607 (7th Cir.
2007) ("Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits, not only to
prevent the sort of morass that this [multiple]-claim, [multiple]-defendant suit produced but also
to ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees."). See also Smith v. Kirby, 53 F. App'x 14,
16 (1Oth Cir. 2002) (not published) (finding no abuse of discretion where district court denied
leave to amend or supplement the complaint where the "new claims were not relevant to the
claims before that court.... ").
The claims do not arise out of the same transaction or occurrence or series of transactions
or occurrences. Nor do the claims involve issues of law or fact common to all forty-four
defendants. Indeed, the complaint contains a host of completely unrelated claims such as
overcrowding, classification, personal hygiene, recreation, access to courts, visiting, packages,
discrimination, equal protection, program service, and medicals needs. Crichlow indicates that
his claims occurred in four different locations in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and county
jails. Few of the defendants listed in the caption of the complaint are identified. Moreover, the
complaint lacks facts alleging the personal involvement of the defendants. See Evancho v.
Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 353 (3d Cir. 2005) ("A[n individual government] defendant in a civil
rights action must have personal involvement in the alleged wrongdoing; liability cannot be
predicated solely on the operation of respondeat superior.").
Finally, Crichlow recites to numerous grievances he filed and refers to various dates when
he did not receive medical care or medication. Many of the claims are time-barred. The
complaint was filed on March 7, 2012 pursuant to the prison mailbox rule. See Houston v. Lack,
487 U.S. 266 (1988); Burns v. Morton, 134 F.3d 109, 112 (3d Cir. 1998); Gibbs v. Decker, 234
F. Supp. 2d 458, 463 (D. Del. 2002). Section 1983 claims are subject to Delaware's two-year
statute oflimitations for personal injury actions. See Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 189-90
(3d Cir. 1993); see also 10 Del. C. § 8119. Similarly, claims under Title II ofthe ADA and§
504 of the Rehabilitation Act have a two-year limitation period. See Hall v. Minner, 411 F.
App'x 443 (3d Cir. 2011) (not published); P.P. ex ref. Michael P. v. West Chester Area Sch.
Dist., 585 F.3d 727 (2009). Hence, it appears that claims arising before March 7, 2010 are timebarred.
Based upon the foregoing discussion, the complaint will be dismissed without prejudice
as noncompliant with Fed. R. Civ. P. 20. Crichlow will be given an opportunity to file an
amended complaint. He is cautioned that the amended complaint must comply with Rule 20 and
involve only related claims or parties. Thus, to the extent that Crichlow believes that he has been
subjected to more than one violation of his rights, and to the extent that these violations are
unrelated to each other, he should file separate complaints addressing each violation along with
separate motions to proceed in forma pauperis. "It must be a new pleading which stands by itself
as an adequate complaint without reference to the complaint already filed." Young v. Keohane,
809 F.Supp. 1185 (M.D. Pa. 1992).
Crichlow is warned that the inclusion of separate, unrelated claims, particularly those that
occurred in different states and different correctional institutions will be considered a failure to
comply with this court's order and will result in dismissal of the amended complaint. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 20. In addition, the amended complaint or new complaints filed in compliance with this
order shall not include new claims. Finally, the failure to file an amended complaint within the
specified time period will result in dismissal of the action for failure to comply with an order of
For the above reasons, the court will dismiss without prejudice the complaint for failure
to comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 20. Crichlow will be given leave to amend.
An appropriate order will be entered.
Wilmingto , Delaware
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