BAKER v. FISHMAN et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER that within 45 days from the date of this Order, Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint that is consistent with the holdings above; the Clerk shall ADMINISTRATIVELY TERMINATE this matter for docket management purposes; the Court will reopen the matter once an amended complaint that complies with the joinder rules has been filed. Signed by Judge Peter G. Sheridan on 3/29/2017.(Copies Sent) (seb)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civil Action No. 14-75 83 (PGS) (TJB)
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PAUL FISHMAN, et al.,
This case has come before the Court on a civil rights Complaint filed by Plaintiff Ralph
Baker, asserting that his constitutional rights have been violated by Defendants.
previously dismissed the Complaint, finding that subsequent numerous filings by Plaintiff made it
impossible to determine what claims Plaintiff seeks to assert. ECF No. 13 at 1. As such, the Court
ordered that Plaintiff file an amended complaint to consolidate all of his claims. Id. However, the
Court cautioned that Plaintiff should be mindful of the joinder rules, Rules 18 and 20, under the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when filing his amended complaint. Id. at 1-2.
Presently before the Court is Plaintifrs Amended Complaint. ECF No. 15. It appears that
Plaintiff completely ignored the joinder rules. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that “[a]
party asserting a claim.. may join, as independent or alternative claims, as many claims as it has
against an opposing party.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a). However, it also limits the joinder of defendants.
Rule 20(a)(2) states that “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 or occurrences; and (b) any question of law or fact common to all
defendants will arise in the action.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a)(2); see also Hagan
Rogers, 570 F.3d
146, 157 (3d Cir. 2009) (finding that Rule 20 applies to prisoners); McDaniel v. Lanigan, No. 12—
3834, 2012 WL 5880371, at *3 (D.N.J. Nov. 21, 2012) (claims by prisoners are not exempt from
Rules 18 and 20).
Rule 20’s requirements are to be liberally construed in the interest of
convenience and judicial economy. See Paladino v. Newsome, No. 12—2021, 2012 WL 3315571,
at *5 (D.N.J. Aug. 13, 2012).
But this application, however liberal, “is not a license to join unrelated claims and
defendants in one lawsuit.” Id. (citing Pruden v. SCI Camp Hill, 252 F. App’x 436 (3d Cir. 2007)
(per curiam)); see also Miller v. Lanigan, No. 12—4470, 2013 WL 1750138, at *2 (D.N.J. Apr. 23,
2013) (stating that a plaintiff cannot “lump” all his challenges into a single pleading in violation
of Rule 18 and 20). Although Rule 18 allows a plaintiff to join as many claims as he has against
a defendant in a complaint, whether they are related, independent, or otherwise, when a plaintiff
seeks to join multiple defendants in a case, Rule 20 controls. Marrakush Soc ‘y v. N.J State Police,
No. 09-25 18, 2009 WL 2366132, at *28 (D.N.J. July 30, 2009) (citing 7 Charles Allen Wright et
al., Federal Practice & Procedure Civil
§ 1655 (3d ed. 2009)). “Despite the broad language of
Rule 18(a), plaintiff may join multiple defendants in a single action only if plaintiff asserts at least
one claim to relief against each of them that arises out of the same transaction or occurrence and
presents questions of law or fact common to all.” Id. at *28 (citing Wright et al., supra); see Ross
v. Meagan, 638 F.2d 650 n.5 (3d Cir. 1981), overruled on other grounds by Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989) (joinder of defendants is not permitted by Rule 20 unless both
commonality and same transaction requirements are satisfied). No claims addressing unrelated
events, be these claims jammed into a single set of pleadings or spread among multiple complaints
submitted for filing in the same matter, could satisf’ the requirements of Rules 18 and 20.
Marrakush, 2009 WL 2366132, at *27.
case of misjoinder, “a court may not simply dismiss a suit altogether. Instead, the court
has two remedial options: (1) misjoined parties may be dropped ‘on such terms as are just’; or (2)
any claims against misjoined parties ‘may be severed and proceeded with separately.” DirecTV,
Inc. v. Lelo. 467 F.3d 842, 845 (3d Cir. 2006) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 21).
Here, in Plaintiff’s own words, is a sampling of the alleged claims that he is asserting in
the Amended Complaint:
Plaintiff Ralph Baker hereby brings this law suit pursuant to U.S.C. 1983, 1985,
1986. This Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1331, 1343. Plaintiff Ralph
baker also seeks a declaratory judgment. The scope of this suit, revolves around
the failure of the State to allow legal mail reaching the office of the President of the
United States Honorable Barak Obama, for Presidential Pardon; Plaintiff was
denied medical treatment for Hepatitis C, threats made against the Plaintiffs life
from prison staff and officials, State officials denial of appointing Counsel; failure
of the State to comply with this Court’s directive to afford State appeal, and Post
Conviction Relief, the open conspiracy from the New Jersey Public Defender,
aiding the State Prosecutions, denial of legal documents seized at the State
maximum security prison, which are needed, and the release of the entire habeas
Corpus File, to secure necessary documents filed on habeas Corpus. The
reimbursement of funds seized pursuant to indigency, and the reimbursement of
funds allotted which would allow purchase of these same federal documents, in a
period of three (3) consecutive years. Failure to protect. Plaintiff from hostilities of
Prison Staff. Failure ensure that medical stroke theraphy is given for after stroke
care, heart medications and premature release from cardiac care unit.at St. Francis
Medical center, contractee of the New Jersey State Prison. Misdiagnosis of cancer
and fluid on the lungs. The notification to Plaintiff family that he was expire on an
immediate bass, and.to prepare for his pending death. The sexual harassman by
male officers within the prison complex, while Plaintiff is not homosexual
(Homosexuality is against the tents within the core content of the Islam belief
system, and prohibited by Qur’anic law and against the principles established in the
Islamic Shariah), and failure to allow Plaintiff to adhere to his Islamic religious
beliefs, and Islamic services. The failure to correction Classification Files, a liberty
interest, for community release, prison transfer, and objective scoring under the
New Jersey Legislature Objective Score card and Classification of Prisons. To add
71 years to Plaintiff Prison record, and the same was addressed to the State Judge
who resided over the State Trials, and that Middlesex County Superior on
Indictment No. 02-10-1239 Court failed to respond, instead dismissed the Post
Conviction Order. Pursuant to this Court prior mandate to Plaintiff Baker.
ECF No. 15 at 2-3 (mistakes in the original). No legal expertise is required to see that Plaintiff is
attempting to lump completely unrelated claims and completely unrelated defendants together into
one single “omnibus” complaint—for example, it is difficult to see how claims against the public
defenders would be related to the claims and defendants for the denial of medical services, or how
any of them would be related to the alleged mail tampering of Plaintiffs request for Presidential
pardon. It would appear that the Court’s previous caution regarding improper joinder fell on deaf
ears. Accordingly, the Court finds that the Amended Complaint is defective for improperjoinder.
Although the Third Circuit instructs this Court to either dismiss unrelated defendants from
the case or sever the pleading into separate actions, given the comprehensive and all-encompassing
nature of the Amended Complaint, it is impossible for the Court to determine Plaintiffs intent in
deciding what defendants to dismiss, or how to sever the multitude of claims. Therefore, the Court
hereby directs Plaintiff to amend the pleading again, to assert only claims that would comply with
the joinder rules—to assert other unrelated claims, Plaintiff must file separate complaints. If
Plaintiff cannot or refuses to amend the pleading to adhere to the joinder rules, the Court may have
no choice but to dismiss the action. See 28 U.S.C.
IT IS therefore on this
ORDERED that within 45 days from the date of this Order, Plaintiff shall file an amended
complaint that is consistent with the holdings above; it is further
ORDERED the Clerk shall ADMINISTRATIVELY TERMINATE this matter for
docket management purposes; the Court will reopen the matter once an amended complaint that
complies with the joinder rules has been filed; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk shall serve a copy of this Order upon Plaintiff by regular mail.
(L k f_Peter G. Sheridan
United States District Judge
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