Flores v. Employees of Vandalia Correctional Center et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER severing case number 17-798-SMY. Signed by Judge Staci M. Yandle on 10/3/2017. (tjk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
QUENNEL AUGUSTA, and
SHAWN J. FLORES,
Case No. 17-cv-798-SMY
EMPLOYEES OF VANDALIA CORRECTIONAL CENTER,
EMPLOYEES OF IDOC,
RANDY PFISTER, and
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
YANDLE, District Judge:
The Complaint in this case (Doc. 1) was filed by two Vandalia Correctional Center
(“Vandalia”) inmates: Quennel Augusta and Shawn J. Flores. Plaintiffs filed the action pro se
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that they have been subjected to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement at Vandalia and at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”). This
matter is now before the Court for case management. The Court must address matters pertaining
to its prior Boribourne Order (Doc. 5) and a second civil rights action filed by Augusta (Case
No. 3:17-cv-919-MJR). Hereinafter, the Court shall refer to the above captioned action as the
“instant action” and to Augusta’s second civil rights action as the “knee injury action.”
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Second Civil Rights Action - “Knee Injury Action”
On August 28, 2017, Augusta, as the only named plaintiff, filed a second civil rights
action involving an injury to his knee that occurred at Vandalia on August 18, 2017.
Specifically, he alleges that he and other inmates were forced to move property boxes in an
unsafe manner and that he fell on thick, hard metal as a result (Doc. 1, pp. 1-2). The metal
punctured his skin to the bone. Id. The injury was extremely painful, required stitches and
resulted in permanent damage to his leg. Id. In connection with these claims, Augusta seeks
monetary relief against “Vandalia Correctional Center,” the only named defendant. In addition,
Augusta requested that the claims relating to his injured knee be accepted as an “Add on
Complaint.” (Doc. 1, p. 2).
Augusta’s request regarding the “Add on Complaint” triggered the following text order:
On August 28, 2017, Plaintiff filed a 4-page handwritten document that he
identifies as a "Complaint." (Doc. 1). In it, Plaintiff claims that he was injured
while loading a trailer at Vandalia Correctional Center on August 18, 2017. He
seeks monetary relief against the prison. Plaintiff did not prepay the $400.00
filing fee for a new action or file a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis
("IFP Motion"). Until he does so, the Court will not screen his Complaint. With
that said, it is not clear that Plaintiff intended to file a new case. He specifically
asks that the Complaint be accepted as an "Add on Complaint" in another pending
case without identifying the case. (Doc. 1, p. 2). The Court located a multiplaintiff case involving the same plaintiff, i.e., Augusta et al. v. Employees of
Vandalia Corr. Ctr., et al., No. 17-cv-798-SMY (S.D. Ill. filed July 26, 2017)
(prior case). If Plaintiff intended to "add" this claim to his prior case, he should
file an amended complaint in Case No. 17-798-SMY because courts generally
reject piecemeal amendments. He is warned that an amended complaint must
stand on its own because it supersedes and replaces the original Complaint,
rendering it void. Regardless of his intentions, Plaintiff is hereby ORDERED to
notify this Court in writing on or before October 2, 2017 of his intention to either
proceed with the new claim in this case (No. 17-cv-919-MJR) or in his prior case
(17-cv-919-MJR Doc. 3) (“Knee Injury Order”).
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On September 1, 2017 – one day after entry of the Knee Injury Order – the Court issued
its initial order in the instant action. (Doc. 5). The Court warned Plaintiffs of the risks and costs
associated with pursuing their claims together in a single action (“Boribourne Order”). See
Boriboune v. Berge, 391 F.3d 852 (7th Cir. 2004). Plaintiffs were directed to consider these
issues and to advise the Court, on or before September 28, 2017, whether they wished to proceed
together in group litigation. (Doc. 5).
The Knee Injury Order and the Boribourne Order prompted Augusta to submit several
pleadings. (knee injury action Docs. 7, 8 and 9; instant Action Docs. 9, 10 and 11). The caption
and/or content of the pleadings indicate that they are relevant to both of Augusta’s pending
actions. Accordingly, the Clerk of the Court docketed identical copies of each pleading in the
The Court has carefully reviewed the relevant pleadings. Although some of Augusta’s
requests and allegations are confusing, reviewing the docket in both actions as a whole, the Court
is able to discern the following:
The claims in the Instant Action relate to conditions of confinement at Vandalia
and at Stateville. (Instant Action Doc. 1).
The claims in the Knee injury action relate to a knee injury that occurred at
Vandalia after the instant action was filed. (Knee injury action Doc. 1).
Presently, the Instant Action and the Knee injury action do not involve the same
defendants 1 and do not appear to arise from the same the same transaction,
occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences. (Instant Action Doc. 1; Knee
injury action Doc. 1).
The present action names IDOC employees, Vandalia employees, Stateville employees and Governor Bruce
Rauner. (Instant Action Doc. 1). The Knee Injury Action names Vandalia Correctional Center as the only defendant.
(Knee Injury Action Doc. 1).
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Augusta no longer wants to pursue a joint action with Flores. (Instant Action
If possible, Augusta would like to “add” his knee injury claim to the Instant
Action. (Instant Action Docs. 10 and 11).
To date, Flores has not filed any pleadings in response to or connection with the Court’s
Severance of Flores and Augusta
In response to the Boribourne Order, Augusta indicates that he wants to proceed with his
claims separately from Flores. Flores has not responded. Consistent with the Boribourne Order,
the Court construes Flores’ lack of response as an indication that he wishes to pursue the instant
However, because Augusta has indicated that he wants to pursue his claims
separately, the claims asserted by Flores will be severed into a new case, given a new case
number and assessed a separate filing fee. Augusta will proceed with his claims in the instant
Joinder of claims Asserted in Knee injury action
Augusta has requested that the Court combine his knee injury claims and his conditions
of confinement claims into a single action, and he seeks leave to file an amended complaint.
(Instant Case Docs. 10 and 11). The request shall be denied. Augusta’s knee injury claims are
directed against a different defendant, arose after the instant action was filed and do not appear to
involve the same transaction or occurrence. As such, joinder of the claims in the instant action
and the knee injury action is not proper. See FED. R. CIV. P. 18; FED. R. CIV. P. 20; George v.
Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007).
As the Court explained in its Boribourne Order, both Plaintiffs signed the Complaint. Thus, both Plaintiffs incurred
a filing fee at the time the Instant Action was filed. (Doc. 5, p. 5). The Court further ordered that any Plaintiff who
failed to respond to the Boribourne Order would be considered a Plaintiff in the Instant Action. Id.
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IT IS ORDERED that the claims asserted by FLORES shall be severed into a new case
against Defendants EMPLOYEES OF VANDALIA CORRECTIONAL CENTER,
STEPHANIE WAGGONER, EMPLOYEES OF IDOC, BRUCE RAUNER, JOHN
BALDWIN, RANDY PFISTER, and CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS.
Newly Severed Case – Plaintiff Shawn J. Flores
The newly severed case shall be captioned: SHAWN J. FLORES, Plaintiff, vs.
EMPLOYEES OF VANDALIA CORRECTIONAL CENTER (Correctional Officers),
STEPHANIE WAGGONER (Warden), EMPLOYEES OF IDOC, BRUCE RAUNER
(Governor), JOHN BALDWIN (Acting Director of IDOC), RANDY PFISTER (Warden), and
CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS (Stateville CC), Defendants.
The Clerk is DIRECTED to file the following documents in the new case:
This Memorandum and Order;
The Complaint (Doc. 1);
The Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2); and
The Motion for Recruitment of Counsel (Doc. 3);
Flores will be responsible for a $400.00 3 filing fee in the new case. The claims in the
newly severed case are subject to review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A after the new case number
and judge assignment are made. No service shall be ordered on the defendants in the severed
case until the § 1915A review is completed. That case is also subject to further severance, should
the Court determine, as the case proceeds, that FLORES has improperly joined parties and/or
Effective May 1, 2013, the filing fee for a civil case increased from $350.00 to $400.00, by the addition of a new
$50.00 administrative fee for filing a civil action, suit, or proceeding in a district court. See Judicial Conference
Schedule of Fees—District Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule, 28 U.S.C. § 1914, No. 14. A litigant who is granted
IFP status, however, is exempt from paying the new $50.00 fee.
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claims in the newly severed case.
The Instant Case – Plaintiff Quennel Augusta
IT IS ORDERED that AUGUSTA shall pursue his claims separately from FLORES. In
this respect only, AUGUSTA’S Motion at Doc. 9 is GRANTED. The Motion is otherwise
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that in accordance with the Order of Severance, the Clerk
of the Court is DIRECTED to terminate FLORES as a plaintiff in the Instant Action.
This case shall now be captioned: QUENNEL AUGUSTA, Plaintiff, vs. EMPLOYEES
OF VANDALIA CORRECTIONAL CENTER (Correctional Officers), STEPHANIE
WAGGONER (Warden), EMPLOYEES OF IDOC, BRUCE RAUNER (Governor), JOHN
CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS (Stateville CC), Defendants.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that AUGUSTA’S motions to file an amended complaint
(Docs. 10 and 11) are GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. To the extent that AUGUSTA
seeks to combine his Knee injury action with the Instant Action, the motions are DENIED.
However, Augusta will be granted leave to file an amended complaint in the instant action.
Augusta should label the pleading, “First Amended Complaint,” and use the case number
for this action (17-cv-798-SMY). The First Amended Complaint must be filed on or before
October 31, 2017. Augusta should be the only Plaintiff in the First Amended Complaint and the
First Amended Complaint should not include any claims pertaining to Augusta’s knee injury.
The amended complaint shall present each claim in a separate count, and each count shall
specify, by name, each Defendant alleged to be liable under the count, as well as the actions
alleged to have been taken by that Defendant. Plaintiff should attempt to include the facts of his
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case in chronological order, inserting each Defendant’s name where necessary to identify the
actors. Plaintiff should refrain from filing unnecessary exhibits and include only related claims in
the First Amended Complaint. Claims against different defendants that are found to be unrelated
to one another will be severed into new cases, new case numbers will be assigned, and additional
filing fees will be assessed.
To ensure compliance with this Order, the Clerk is DIRECTED to send Augusta a blank
civil rights complaint form for use is preparing the First Amended Complaint. The Court
strongly recommends that Augusta use the form. The First Amended Complaint will supersede
and replace the original complaint, rending it void. See Flannery v. Recording Indus. Ass’n of
Am., 354 F.3d 632, 638 n.1 (7th Cir. 2004). The Court will not accept piecemeal amendments to
the original complaint. Thus, the First Amended Complaint must stand on its own, without
reference to any other pleading. Plaintiff must also re-file any exhibits he wishes the Court to
Should Augusta fail to file his First Amended Complaint within the allotted time or
consistent with the instructions set forth in this Order, the entire case shall be dismissed with
prejudice for failure to comply with an order of the Court and/or for failure to prosecute. FED. R.
CIV. P. 41(b). See generally Ladien v. Astrachan, 128 F.3d 1051 (7th Cir. 1997); Johnson v.
Kamminga, 34 F.3d 466 (7th Cir. 1994); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Further, the dismissal shall count as
one of that Plaintiff’s three allotted “strikes” under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
Finally, Augusta is advised that he is under a continuing obligation to keep the Clerk of
Court and each opposing party informed of any change in his address; the Court will not
independently investigate a plaintiff’s whereabouts. This shall be done in writing and not later
than 7 days after a transfer or other change in address occurs. Failure to comply with this order
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will cause a delay in the transmission of court documents and may result in dismissal of this
action for want of prosecution. See FED. R. CIV. P. 41(b).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: October 3, 2017
s/ STACI M. YANDLE
United States District Judge
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