Verner v. St. Louis City Jails et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 5 ] is GRANTED. 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. FURTHER ORDERED that the Court shall mail to plaintiff a blank form for the filing of a prisoner civil rights complaint. Plaintiff may request additional forms from the Clerk, as needed.( Response to Court due by 9/4/2015.) (Attachments: # 1 prisoner civil rights Form)(CLK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
ST. LOUIS CITY JAILS, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the motion of Labar Verner for leave to
commence this action without payment of the required filing fee [Doc. 5]. After
reviewing plaintiff’s financial information, the Court will grant the motion.
Additionally, 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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1974
The Complaint and Supplement
Plaintiff, formerly an inmate at the St. Louis Medium Security Institution
(“MSI”), seeks monetary relief in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against St. Louis
City Jails, Corizon Health Services, and MSI employees Dale L. Glass, Leonard
Edwards, Tonya Harry, Jerome Fields, Scott Weber, Unknown Mitchell, Cordell
Rucker, “Investigating Supervisor,” and “Shift Commander.”
As set forth in the complaint [Doc. 1], plaintiff=s allegations arise out of
numerous different occurrences that took place after he was arrested in January
2015 and detained at MSI. For example, plaintiff alleges that he failed to receive
proper medical attention. In addition, he complains that he was denied access to a
law library at MSI. On another occasion, plaintiff states he was strip-searched in
front of other inmates.
Plaintiff also alleges that the conditions of his
confinement at MSI were unsanitary and unconstitutional and that MSI employees
were both unprofessional and disrespectful. In his supplement [Doc. 8], plaintiff
asserts several new claims. For example, he alleges he was negligently released
from MSI without certain prescription drugs, and he complains that it took him two
days to cash a check to recover his MSI inmate funds.
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 twelve defendants. Such pleading practices are not
allowed, especially in prisoner actions where there could be an incentive to avoid
paying separate filing fees.
See id. (district court should question joinder of
defendants and claims in prisoner cases).
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). "Unrelated claims against different
defendants belong in different suits, . . . [in part] to ensure that prisoners pay the
required filing fees - for the Prison Litigation Reform Act limits to 3 the number of
frivolous suits or appeals that any prisoner may file without prepayment of the
required fees." Id.
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.
Any claims from the original complaint, supplements, and/or
pleadings that are not included in the second amended complaint will be
deemed abandoned and will not be considered. Id. Plaintiff is advised that
the amended complaint will replace the original and amended complaints 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 their individual capacities, plaintiff must
specifically say so in the amended complaint.
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.
If plaintiff 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. 5] 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 Court shall mail to plaintiff a blank
form for the filing of a prisoner civil rights complaint. Plaintiff may request
additional forms from the Clerk, as needed.
Dated this 5th day of August, 2015.
/s/ Jean C. Hamilton
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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