Bodway v. Mallard, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, on or before December 14, 2015, Plaintiff shall submit a certified inmate account statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the filing of this action, as well as an amended complaint o n a Court-provided form, in accordance with the explicit instructions set forth in this Memorandum and Order. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Court shall mail to Plaintiff three blank forms for the filing of a prisoner civil rights complaint. Plaint iff may request additional forms from the Clerk, as needed. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel [Doc. # 3 ] is DENIED, without prejudice. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's failure to comply with this Memorandum and Order shall result in the dismissal of this action, without prejudice and without further notice. Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on November 9, 2015. (BRP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
LOUIS SEAN BODWAY,
BRENDA MALLARD, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on review of Plaintiff=s pro se complaint [Doc.
#1], motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. #2], and motion for
appointment of counsel [Doc. #3]. The Court is unable to grant Plaintiff in forma
pauperis status at this time, because he has failed to submit a certified copy of his
inmate account statement. Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will afford
him additional time in which to file his certified inmate account statement. Moreover,
for the following reasons, the Court will deny Plaintiff’s motion for counsel and will
instruct him to file an amended complaint or complaints on a Court-provided form in
accordance with the instructions set forth below.
28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court may dismiss a complaint filed
in forma pauperis at any time if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in
law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct.
1955, 1974 (2007).
In reviewing a pro se complaint under ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must give the
pleading the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
The Court must also weigh all factual allegations in favor of the plaintiff,
unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33
Plaintiff, an inmate at the St. Louis City Workhouse, brings this 42 U.S.C. '
1983 action for several alleged constitutional violations, including a lack of medical
care, inadequate prison conditions, and excessive use of force in the context of his
Named as defendants are Brenda Mallard (Corizon Medical Service
Physician), Dr. Unknown Siddiqqui (Psychiatrist), L. Edwards (Superintendent),
Unknown Baker (City of St. Louis Police Officer), and John Doe (City of St. Louis
Counts I and II allege claims of deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s serious
needs, asserting that the medications he is receiving for pain (Count I against Mallard)
and psychiatric issues (Count II against Siddiqqui), are inadequate. Count III alleges
that the two police officers used excessive use of force on July 12, 2015, following a
domestic dispute at Plaintiff’s fiancée’s residence, and that false criminal charges
were subsequently brought against him, and that excessive bail was set. Count IV
alleges that the conditions of his confinement are inhumane, citing such matters as
being placed in a cell for five days with no running water, the denial of outside
recreation, unsafe premises, deplorable food, no access to a law library, no grievance
procedure, raw sewage on dorm floors, and overcrowding,
The Court has reviewed the complaint under 28 U.S.C. ' 1915 and believes that,
although Plaintiff may be able to assert claims based on the denial of his Constitutional
rights, he has improperly joined in this one law suit all five defendants and his
numerous claims against them.
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 several unrelated claims
against, not one, but five 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. (stating that the 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 numerous 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.@
George, 507 F.3d at 607.
“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, 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).1
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 must
set forth the name of each defendant he wishes to sue; and in the "Statement of
Claim," Plaintiff must start by typing the first defendant=s name, and under that name,
he must 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
If Plaintiff wishes to pursue additional claims against additional defendants, and
the claims do not arise from the same transaction or occurrence he has chosen to
advance in his amended complaint, Plaintiff 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.
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
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.
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 Tel. Fed. Cost Recovery Fees Litig., 396 F.3d 922, 928 (8th Cir. 2005). Any
claims 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 must include in the amended complaint each and every
claim he wishes to pursue in this action; however, Plaintiff may not advance
claims on behalf of other inmates. If Plaintiff wishes to sue defendants in their
individual capacities, he must specifically say so in the amended complaint.
Last, Plaintiff has filed a motion for appointment of counsel [Doc. #3] on the
ground that he has no knowledge of the law and no access to a law library. AA pro se
litigant has no statutory or constitutional right to have counsel appointed in a civil case.@
Stevens v. Redwing, 146 F.3d 538, 546 (8th Cir. 1998). When determining whether to
appoint counsel for an indigent litigant, the Court considers relevant factors, such as the
complexity of the case, the ability of the pro se litigant to investigate the facts, the
existence of conflicting testimony, and the ability of the pro se litigant to present his or
her claim. Id.
After reviewing these factors, the Court finds that the appointment of counsel is
not warranted at this time. This case is neither factually nor legally complex, and it is
evident that Plaintiff is able to present his claims. Consequently, the motion will be
denied, without prejudice.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, on or before December 14, 2015, Plaintiff
shall submit a certified inmate account statement for the six-month period
immediately preceding the filing of this action, as well as an amended complaint on a
Court-provided form, in accordance with the explicit instructions set forth in this
Memorandum and Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Court shall mail to Plaintiff three blank
forms for the filing of a prisoner civil rights complaint.
Plaintiff may request
additional forms from the Clerk, as needed.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff=s motion for appointment of
counsel [Doc. #3] is DENIED, without prejudice.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s failure to comply with this
Memorandum and Order shall result in the dismissal of this action, without prejudice
and without further notice.
Dated this 9th day of November, 2015.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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