Moon v. Stolzer et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 2] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall submit an amended complaint, in accordance with the instructions set forth in this Me morandum and Order, no later than thirty (30) days from the date of this Memorandum and Order. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall mail to plaintiff a blank form for the filing of a non-prisoner complaint. Plaintiff may request additional form s from the Clerk, as needed. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, if plaintiff fails to comply with this Order, the Court will dismiss this action without prejudice and without further notice. ( Amended/Supplemental Pleadings due by 11/5/2015.) Signed by District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr on 10/6/2015. (JMC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
DARNELL WESLY MOON,
GARY STOLZER, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on plaintiff’s motion for leave to commence
this action without payment of the required filing fee [Doc. 2]. After reviewing
plaintiff’s financial information, the Court will grant the motion.
the Court will order plaintiff to file an amended complaint.
28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss a complaint
filed in forma pauperis if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if it Alacks an arguable basis in
either law or fact.@ Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989); Denton v.
Hernandez, 112 S. Ct. 1728, 1733 (1992).
An action is malicious if it is
undertaken for the purpose of harassing the named defendants and not for the
purpose of vindicating a cognizable right. Spencer v. Rhodes, 656 F. Supp. 458,
461-63 (E.D.N.C. 1987), aff=d 826 F.2d 1059 (4th Cir. 1987). A complaint fails
to state a claim if it does not plead Aenough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.@ Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007).
Plaintiff, formerly an inmate at the Saint Genevieve County Jail (“the Jail”),
seeks monetary, declaratory, and injunctive relief in this action against the Jail and
twenty-one employees of the Jail. Plaintiff states that he bringing this action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1(a). In addition, plaintiff states that he is asserting a
pendent state claim for the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
As set forth in the complaint [Doc. 1], plaintiff=s allegations arise out of
numerous different occurrences that took place during his two-and-a-half-month
incarceration at the Jail in 2014. For example, plaintiff alleges that he failed to
receive proper accommodations for his Muslim faith. He complains he was not
given a Holy Qur’an in Arabic, a prayer rug, halal foods, and Islamic reading
materials. Indeed, his First Amendment claims seem to be the gravamen of the
complaint; however, in addition, he complains that he was denied access to “an
electronic law library” at the Jail. On another occasion, plaintiff states he was
strip-searched and sexually harassed. Plaintiff also had problems with the mail
policies at the Jail. Furthermore, plaintiff alleges that the Jail was overcrowded,
and the conditions of his confinement at the Jail were unsanitary and
Plaintiff sets forth a plethora of claims relative to how his
clothes were improperly washed to mold in the cells to the nutritional content of
his meals and the purity of his drinking water. These numerous claims bear no
relationship to each other and are improperly joined in this action.
Rule 18(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states:
A party asserting a claim to relief as an original claim,
counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, may join,
either as independent or as alternate claims, as many
claims, legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has
against an opposing party.
As such, multiple claims against a single party are valid.
George v. Smith, 507
F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007).
The instant action, however, presents a case involving a myriad of unrelated
claims against, not one, but twenty-two defendants. Such pleading practices are
not allowed. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)(2) is controlling and provides:
Persons . . . may be joined in one action as defendants
if: (A) 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 (B) any question of law
or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action.
Thus, a plaintiff cannot normally seek to join in one lawsuit a multitude of
claims against different defendants, relating to events arising out of a series of
different occurrences or transactions. In other words, AClaim A against Defendant
1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2.@
Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007).
Because plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, the Court will
give him an opportunity to file an amended complaint in this action. In so doing,
plaintiff should select the transaction or occurrence he wishes to pursue, in
accordance with Rules 18 and 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and file
an amended complaint, limiting his facts and allegations to the defendant(s)
involved in said occurrence.
Plaintiff should only include in his amended
complaint those claims that arise out of the same transaction or occurrence, or
simply put, claims that have some relation to each other. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2).
Alternatively, plaintiff may choose to select one defendant and set forth as many
claims as he has against that single individual.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a).
Moreover, plaintiff is advised that all claims in an action must be included in
one, centralized complaint form, as neither the Court nor defendants wish to search
through supplemental and prior pleadings in order to piece together plaintiff=s
As such, plaintiff is warned that the filing of an amended complaint
replaces the original complaint, supplement, and all previously-filed
pleadings, and therefore, he must include each and every one of the claims he
wishes to pursue in the amended complaint.
See, e.g., In re Wireless
Telephone Federal Cost Recovery Fees Litigation, 396 F.3d 922, 928 (8th Cir.
2005). Any claims and/or parties from the original complaint, supplements,
and/or pleadings that are not included in the amended complaint will be
deemed abandoned and will not be considered. Id. Plaintiff is advised that
the amended complaint will replace the original complaint and will be the only
pleading this Court reviews. See, e.g., In re Wireless Telephone Federal Cost
Recovery Fees Litigation, 396 F.3d 922, 928 (8th Cir. 2005). If plaintiff wishes to
sue defendants in a particular capacity, plaintiff must specifically say so in the
Plaintiff is reminded that he is required to submit his amended complaint on a
court-provided form, and it must comply with Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Specifically, in the "Caption" of the form complaint, plaintiff
shall set forth the name of each defendant he wishes to sue; and in the "Statement
of Claim," plaintiff shall start by typing the first defendant=s name, and under that
name, he shall set forth in separate numbered paragraphs the allegations supporting
his claim(s) as to that particular defendant, as well as the right(s) that he claims
that particular defendant violated. If plaintiff is suing more than one defendant,
he shall proceed in this manner with each of the named defendants, separately
setting forth each individual name and under that name, in numbered paragraphs,
the allegations specific to that particular defendant and the right(s) that he claims
that particular defendant violated.
Plaintiff is instructed not to attach any
exhibits to the amended complaint.
The amended complaint must contain short and plain statements showing
that plaintiff is entitled to relief, the allegations must be simple, concise, and direct,
and the numbered paragraphs must each be limited to a single set of circumstances.
Plaintiff may not assert claims on behalf of other inmates at the Jail.
needs more space, he may attach additional sheets of paper to the amended
complaint and identify them as part of the "Caption" or "Statement of Claim."
Because the Court is allowing plaintiff to amend his complaint, it will take no
action as to the named defendants at this time.
Last, if plaintiff wishes to pursue additional claims against additional
defendants, and the claims to not arise from the same transaction or occurrence he
has chosen to advance in his amended complaint, he must file each such claim(s)
on a separate complaint form and either pay the entire filing fee or file a motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff=s motion to proceed in forma
pauperis [Doc. 2] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall submit an amended
complaint, in accordance with the instructions set forth in this Memorandum and
Order, no later than thirty (30) days from the date of this Memorandum and Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall mail to plaintiff a blank
form for the filing of a non-prisoner complaint. Plaintiff may request additional
forms from the Clerk, as needed.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, if plaintiff fails to comply with this
Order, the Court will dismiss this action without prejudice and without further
Dated this 6th day of October, 2015.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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