Leonard, Jarrell v. Hamblin, Gary et al
ORDER denying plaintiff's request for leave to proceed and dismissing his 1 complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim. (Amended complaint due 2/28/2014.) Plaintiff's 5 motion for appointment of counsel and implicit motion for class certification are denied as moot. Signed by District Judge William M. Conley on 1/29/2014. (jef),(ps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
OPINION AND ORDER
GARY H. HAMBLIN, et al.,
State inmate Jarrell Leonard has filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
concerning the conditions of his confinement different facilities within the Wisconsin
Department of Corrections ("WDOC"). He has been found indigent and he requests leave to
proceed without prepayment of the filing fee for purposes of the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(PLRA), 28 U.S.C. § l 915(b)(l).
Because he is incarcerated, the PLRA also requires the
court to screen the complaint and dismiss any portion that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or asks for money damages from a
defendant who by law cannot be sued for money damages.
28 U.S.C. § l 915A.
addressing any pro se litigant's complaint, the court must read the allegations generously,
reviewing them under "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers."
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972).
Even under this lenient standard, Leonard's
request for leave to proceed must be denied for reasons set forth below.
The plaintiff, Jarrell Leonard, is presently confined at the Waupun Correctional
Institution. Previously, he was to the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility ("WSPF") in
Boscobel and the Jackson Correctional Institution ("JCI").
WDOC Secretary Gary H. Hamblin; Administrator of Adult Institutions Cathy Jess; WSPF
Warden Tim Haines; former JCI Warden Randall Hepp; Captain Foster; Lieutenant Hagberg;
F. King; Lieutenant Burlingame; Jodi Dougherty; T. Waldera; P. Schulz; M. Schapf; Christine
Beerkircher; Lieutenant La Costa; M. Olsen; C.O. II Walker; John Bauer; and Jane Does 1
The complaint in this case consists of approximately 184 numbered paragraphs,
followed by a section detailing Leonard's request for relief. At the outset, Leonard claims
that the named defendants, collectively, have "intentionally delay[ed], hinder[ed], impair[ed]
and arbitrar[ily] and irrationally placed obstacles in the path" of his ability to seek judicial
review of grievances. He alleges in general that ( 1) disciplinary proceedings lack due process;
(2) placement in temporary lock-up status ("TLU") and changes in security classification are
based on inaccurate information; and (3) prison transfers are carried out for punitive reasons.
In particular, Leonard claims that defendants, collectively, enforce a custom and policy of
transferring "incarcerated persons" who are "troublemakers" in order to "lessen [their]
influence" on the rest of the inmate population. He believes that this practice constitutes
improper "retaliation" for the "exercise of [a] protected right," but he does not explain what
right that might be.
In support of these general allegations, Leonard finds fault with a series of conduct
reports and disciplinary proceedings that he contends were undertaken without adequate due
process. Leonard objects to his transfer from JCI to WSPF, where the conditions are unduly
restrictive and harsh. Leonard takes issue with an assortment of conditions and practices at
WSPF. He also lists several prison administrative policies by number, alleging that they are
unconstitutional. He contends that various offender complaints have been dismissed without
adequate investigation. He maintains that defendant Jess eliminated a "legal routing" policy
that was previously authorized by an out-of-court settlement in Dugan et al. v. Sondalle, Case
No. 89-cv-332 (April 13, 1992), which frustrates the ability of inmates to receive "legal
services" from other inmates. Leonard contends he has been denied a nutritional diet and
access to personal items, such as finger-nail clippers. He reportedly has endured unspecified
acts of harassment. Leonard faults the hiring practices and training programs for correctional
officers. He seeks a permanent injunction barring his transfer to another prison during the
course of this litigation, as well as compensatory damages in the amount of $10 billion and
punitive damages in the amount of $6 billion per defendant. He requests appointment of
counsel and leave to proceed with this case as a class action.
A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim where the plaintiff alleges too
little, failing to meet the minimal federal pleading requirements found in Rule 8 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure.
Rule 8(a) requires a '"short and plain statement of the claim'
sufficient to notify the defendants of the allegations against them and enable them to file an
answer." Marshall v. Knight, 445 F.3d 965, 968 (7th Cir. 2006). To demonstrate liability
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege sufficient facts showing that an individual
personally caused or participated in a constitutional deprivation. See Zimmennan v. Tribble, 226
F.3d 568, 574 (7th Cir. 2000); Walker v. Taylorville Correctional Ctr., 129 F.3d 410, 413 (7th
Cir. 1997) (noting that "personal involvement" is required to support a claim under § 1983).
Dismissal is proper "if the complaint fails to set forth 'enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face."' St. John's United Church
of Christ v.
City of Chicago, 502 F.3d 616,
625 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
In this instance, Leonard's complaint consists of a laundry list of claims that are for the
most part unsupported by specific facts showing that he is entitled to relief. The pleading
standard announced in Fed. R. Civ. P. S(a) does not require "'detailed factual allegations,' but
it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676-78 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
pleading that offers "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
It is particularly
difficult to distinguish how each individual defendant was involved with the many claims that
Leonard is attempting to raise. Because he does not provide a short and plain statement of
the facts in support of his claims, the proposed complaint does not meet the pleading standard
found in Rule S(a). For this reason, the complaint must be dismissed without prejudice for
failure to state a claim.
In addition to the complaint's shortcomings under Rule S(a), Leonard clearly lodges
claims against multiple defendants in a manner that does not comply with federal pleading
rules on joinder. Specifically, a plaintiff may only join "either as independent or as alternate
claims, as many claims, legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an opposing
party." Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a). As a corollary, a plaintiff is only allowed the joinder of several
defendants if the claims arose out of a single transaction and contain a question of fact or law
common to all the defendants. Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a).
In this case, Leonard fails to demonstrate how the defendants are related to a single
transaction or common question of law and fact.
By lodging unrelated claims against
multiple defendants, the complaint does not comport with the federal pleading rules found in
Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a) or 20(a). The Seventh Circuit has emphasized that "unrelated claims
against different defendants belong in different suits" and that federal joinder rules apply to
prisoners just as to other litigants. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). The
Seventh Circuit having instructed that "buckshot complaints" should be "rejected," Leonard's
complaint is also subject to dismissal for violating these rules. Id.
Leonard may file an amended complaint in this case to cure the deficiencies outlined
above. To proceed, plaintiff must file an amended complaint within thirty days of the date of
this order. That proposed amended complaint must set forth a "short and plain statement"
of his claims, see Fed. R. Civ. P. S(a), and must include only those claims and defendants that
relate to a single transaction or common question of law and fact for purposes of Fed. R. Civ.
P. l S(a), 20(a). Any unrelated claims not pursued in this case must be brought in a separate
action. If plaintiff submits an amended complaint in compliance with this order, the court
will take that complaint under consideration for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § l 915A. If
plaintiff fails to submit an amended complaint as directed, then this case will be closed
without further notice pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4l(b).
IT IS ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiff Jarrell Leonard's request for leave to proceed is DENIED and his
complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to state a claim.
2. Leonard's motion for appointment of counsel (dkt. # 5) and his implicit
motion for class certification are DENIED as MOOT.
3. To proceed, plaintiff must file an amended complaint within thirty days of the
date of this order. That proposed amended complaint must set forth a "short
and plain statement" of the facts in support of his claims, see Fed. R. Civ. P.
S(a), and must include only those claims and defendants that relate to a single
transaction or common question of law and fact for purposes of Fed. R. Civ. P.
4. If plaintiff submits an amended complaint in compliance with this order, the
court will take that complaint under consideration for screening pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § l 915A. If plaintiff fails to submit an amended complaint as
directed, then this case will be closed without further notice pursuant to
Fed. R. Civ. P. 4l(b).
Entered this~th day of January, 2014.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?