NAYLOR v. ZATECKY et al
ENTRY Screening and Dismissing Complaint and Directing Further Proceedings - Mr. Naylor may have through February 12, 2018, in which to file an amended complaint that complies with the pleading rules of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See entry for details. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 1/10/2018. (MEJ)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
DASHAN ZATECKY in his personal capacity,
DUANE ALSIP in his personal capacity,
JEFFREY KING in his personal capacity,
HERBERT DUNCAN in his personal capacity,
Entry Screening and Dismissing Complaint
and Directing Further Proceedings
Plaintiff John Naylor, an Indiana inmate incarcerated at the Pendleton Correctional
Facility, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action on November 29, 2017. In forma pauperis status was
granted and on January 5, 2018, an initial partial filing fee was paid. The complaint is now subject
to screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
I. Screening Standard
Because plaintiff is a prisoner, the complaint is subject to the screening requirements of
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. This statute directs that the court shall dismiss a complaint or any claim within
a complaint which “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” Id. To
satisfy the notice-pleading standard of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint
must provide a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,”
which is sufficient to provide the defendant with “fair notice” of the claim and its basis. Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007) and quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)); see also Wade v. Hopper, 993 F.2d 1246, 1249
(7th Cir. 1993) (noting that the main purpose of Rule 8 is rooted in fair notice: a complaint “must
be presented with intelligibility sufficient for a court or opposing party to understand whether a
valid claim is alleged and if so what it is.”) (quotation omitted)). The complaint “must actually
suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, by providing allegations that raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Windy City Metal Fabricators & Supply, Inc. v. CIT Tech. Fin. Servs.,
536 F.3d 663, 668 (7th Cir. 2008) (quoting Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1084 (7th Cir.
2008)). The Court construes pro se pleadings liberally, and holds pro se pleadings to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Obriecht v. Raemisch, 517 F.3d 489, 491 n.2
(7th Cir. 2008).
II. Plaintiff’s Complaint
Assertions in the complaint
The complaint is twenty-two pages, with eighteen of them containing seventy-three
handwritten, single-spaced, numbered paragraphs. The assertions begin with accusing defendants
and another person of slandering Mr. Naylor with personal attacks. He asserts that defendants have
portrayed him as an informant and created “a moving force . . . that lead to . . . security threats
against his person and loss of legal work, materials, and property.” Dkt. 1, p. 2, ¶ 2. Mr. Naylor
goes on to assert that prison officials have failed to protect him, but he does not plead that he has
been harmed, name anyone who has harmed him, or plead the circumstances of any harmful
incident. Id. at ¶ 8.
Mr. Naylor goes on to assert that defendant King “falsely convicted” him, and that
defendant Alsip denied him an appeal, thus taking good time from him without due process. Id. at
¶ 9. He later pleads that he received a rehearing on an A106 write-up, but that he had been denied
civil rights. Id. at ¶ 14. Mr. Naylor asserts that somewhere in this process he was denied his
requested witnesses at a prison disciplinary hearing. Id. at ¶ 18. Other assertions are made that, in
context, apply to prison disciplinary actions and an alleged lack of due process during the process.
See id. at ¶¶ 21-27.
Mr. Naylor also asserts that he was kept from Christian Brotherhood services, several
programs including substance abuse treatment and group therapy, contact visitation, regular
commissary, showers, and “other normal incidents of prison life.” Id. at ¶ 12. He asserts that he
has lost property such as commissary items, electronics, and legal materials. The loss of the legal
materials has impeded his access to the courts. Id. at ¶ 31.
The defendants should have, but did not, verify the reliability of confidential informants
they used, Mr. Naylor claims. Id. at ¶¶ 34-35. He does not plead in what context the informants
were used. Mr. Naylor then asserts that defendants King and Alsip “upheld a false conviction.” Id.
at ¶ 39.
The complaint then moves to a general discussion of Mr. Naylor’s mental state, starting
with trial court evaluations more than three years ago and asserting that segregated confinement
may be cruel and unusual punishment for persons with weak coping mechanisms. Id. at ¶ 41.
In paragraph 47 of his complaint, Mr. Naylor complains that defendant Duncan and the
Office of Internal Affairs works to ensure that he cannot file civil suits or criminal appeals. He
contends they have used tactics such as transferring him between jails to keep their actions
concealed. He provides no other information about this defendant or what court filings were
Paragraph 52 summarizes Mr. Naylor’s assertions that he was set up by other inmates for
a false deadly weapon charge and robbed. He contends the defendants failed to address “the issue”
at the facility level.
Mr. Naylor also summarily asserts that he has been denied access to religious services, id.
at ¶ 54, that officials have an unconstitutional mail room policy that does not allow newspaper
clippings to be mailed to inmates, id. at ¶ 55, and that there is a ban on downloading information
from the internet. Id. at ¶ 56. He asserts that incoming mail, including legal mail, has been lost or
confiscated. Id. at ¶ 58. Mr. Naylor also asserts that the defendants’ running of the prison has
caused him loss of sleep, high blood pressure, and exposure to welding fumes and toxic paint. Id.
at ¶ 61.
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a complaint contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. . . .” Rule 10
provides that the allegations in a complaint be made in numbered paragraphs, each of which should
recite, as far as practicable, only a single set of circumstances. A complaint must identify what
legal injury has been suffered and what persons are responsible for each such legal injury.
Mr. Naylor’s complaint complies only with the numbered paragraph requirement; otherwise, the
complaint is neither short nor plain, it does not show that Mr. Naylor is entitled to relief, and shows
little connection with the named defendants and actual violations of civil rights.
Additionally, Rule 18 permits a plaintiff to bring in one lawsuit every claim he has against
a single defendant. Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a). However, to join multiple defendants in a single action,
Rule 20 requires that the plaintiff assert at least one claim against all of them “arising out of the
same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences” and that “any question of
law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action.” Id. 20(a)(2). Working together, these
two rules mean that “[u]nrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits” so
as to prevent prisoners from dodging the fee payment or three strikes provisions in the Prison
Litigation Reform Act. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). Consequently,
“multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be
joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2.” Id. Rule 20 applies as much to cases brought
by prisoners as it does to any other case. Id.
Mr. Naylor’s complaint violates Rules 18 and 20 insofar as it may advance unrelated claims
against multiple defendants for various discrete episodes occurring over during his incarceration.
Discerning “discrete episodes” is difficult because most all of Mr. Naylor’s paragraphs are
conclusory statements without factual allegations. Put differently, the complaint appears to
represent Mr. Naylor’s catalogue of everything that happened to him while incarcerated to which
he takes exception. The George court instructed that such “buckshot complaints” should be
The complaint filed November 29, 2017, is therefore dismissed because it fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.
III. Opportunity to File Amended Complaint
Mr. Naylor may have through February 12, 2018, in which to file an amended complaint
that complies with the pleading rules of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In particular, Mr.
Naylor’s amended complaint should state only related claims against related parties. An amended
complaint will be subject to screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
The failure to file an amended complaint by this deadline will result in the dismissal of this
action and entry of final judgment without further notice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Pendleton Correctional Facility
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