JOHNSON v. LEMMON et al
ORDER Severing Misjoined Claims and Directing the Opening of Two New Civil Actions. Consistent with the determination and rulings made in Part III of this Entry, all claims against all defendants expect Sgt. Hurt are dismissed without prejudice and terminated in this action, 1:15-cv-799-JMS-DKL. After the new actions are opened, the claims raised in those actions shall be screened as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. SEE ORDER. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 9/15/2015. Copy sent to Plaintiff via U.S. Mail. (BGT)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
RICHARD KEITH JOHNSON,
BRUCE LEMMON IDOC Commissioner,
D. ZATECKY IRT Superintendent,
G. SPEARS, A. COLE,
NELSON MR., COOPERRIDER Sergeant,
HURT Sergeant, CONNORS Sergeant,
J. MATHEWS, SCAIFE Mr.,
Case No. 1:15-cv-00799-JMS-DKL
Order Severing Misjoined Claims and
Directing the Opening of Two New Civil Actions
In George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007), the Court of Appeals explained that
A[u]nrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits.@ Rule 18 allows joinder
of multiple parties only when the allegations against them involve the same conduct or transaction
and common questions of fact and law as to all defendants. The complaint of Richard Keith
Johnson violates the misjoinder of claims limitation of Rule 20(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. The violation here consists of the diversity of claims against the multitude of
defendants. DirecTV, Inc. v. Leto, 467 F.3d 842, 844 (3d Cir. 2006)(“Misjoinder [under Rule 21]
. . . occurs when there is no common question of law or fact or when . . . the events that give rise
to the plaintiff's claims against defendants do not stem from the same transaction.”).
In such a situation, A[t]he court may . . . sever any claim against a party.@ FED. R. CIV. P.
21. Generally, if a district court finds that a plaintiff has misjoined parties, the court should sever
those parties or claims, allowing those grievances to continue in spin-off actions, rather than
dismiss them. Elmore v. Henderson, 227 F.3d 1009, 1012 (7th Cir. 2000). That is the remedy
which will be applied to the complaint.
The plaintiff was given the opportunity to notify the Court which claims and defendants he
wants severed so they may proceed in a new action. The plaintiff was notified that if the claims
were not severed they would be considered abandoned and dismissed without prejudice. In
response, the plaintiff states that two separate actions shall be severed from this action consistent
with the following:
Consistent with the foregoing, the claims against defendants Scaife, Bond and Matthews
and Lemmon, Connors, Cooperrider, Zatecky, Cole and Spears are severed from the original
complaint. Defendant Keith Nelson is dismissed. The only remaining defendant in this action is
To effectuate the ruling in Part II of this Entry, two new civil actions from the Indianapolis
Division shall be opened, consistent with the following:
Richard Keith Johnson shall be the plaintiff in each of the newly opened actions.
The Nature of Suit in each of the newly opened actions shall be 555.
The Cause of Action of each of the newly opened actions shall be 42:1983pr.
The amended complaint in this action [dkt. 5] shall be filed and re-docketed as the
complaint in each of the newly opened actions. Johnson’s request to proceed in
forma pauperis shall likewise be filed and re-docketed in each of the newly opened
A copy of this Entry and Johnson’s Response [dkt. 21] shall be docketed in the
newly opened action.
This action and each of the newly-opened actions shall be shown with this action
and with each other as linked actions.
The defendants in the first of the newly opened actions shall be Scaife, Bond and
The defendants in the second of the newly opened actions shall be Lemmon,
Connors, Cooperrider, Zatecky, Cole and Spears.
The assignment of judicial officers shall be by random draw.
Consistent with the determination and rulings made in Part III of this Entry, all claims
against all defendants expect Sgt. Hurt are dismissed without prejudice and terminated in this
After the new actions are opened, the claims raised in those actions shall be screened as
required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
September 15, 2015
RICHARD KEITH JOHNSON
PENDLETON - CF
PENDLETON CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
4490 West Reformatory Road
PENDLETON, IN 46064
Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
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