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Delmar Gray (#2012-0124124 v. Cook County Municipality

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois

March 6, 2012

DELMAR GRAY (#2012-0124124)

Name of Assigned Judge JAMES B. ZAGEL Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge



The plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [#3] is granted. The court authorizes Cook County Jail officials to begin making monthly deductions in accordance with this order. The clerk shall send a copy of this order to the Supervisor of Inmate Trust Fund Accounts, Cook County Dept. of Corrections Administrative Office, Division V, 2700 S. California, Chicago, IL 60608. However, summonses shall not issue at this time. The complaint on file is dismissed without prejudice. The plaintiff is granted thirty days to submit an amended complaint (plus a judge's copy and service copies) limited to a single claim. The clerk is directed to provide the plaintiff with an amended civil rights complaint form and instructions. Failure to submit an amended complaint within thirty days of the date of this order will result in summary dismissal of this case in its entirety.

O [For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.


The plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the Cook County Department of Corrections, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff claims that his housing unit was placed on administrative lockdown to punish the plaintiff and fellow detainees for filing grievances and lawsuits; the plaintiff additionally contends that he was denied due process in jail disciplinary proceedings.

The plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. Because the plaintiff's trust account statement reflects a zero balance and no deposits within the past six months, the initial partial filing fee is waived pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4). However, the supervisor of inmate trust accounts at the Cook County Jail is authorized and ordered to begin collecting monthly payments from the plaintiff's trust fund account in an amount equal to 20% of the preceding month's income credited to the account. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). Monthly payments shall be forwarded to the clerk of court each time the amount in the account exceeds $10 until the full $350 filing fee is paid. Id. All payments shall be sent to the Clerk, United States District Court, 219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, Illinois 60604, attn: Cashier's Desk, 20th Floor, and shall clearly identify the plaintiff's name and the case number assigned to this action. The Cook County inmate trust account office shall notify transferee authorities of any outstanding balance in the event the plaintiff is transferred from the jail to another correctional facility.

However, the plaintiff must submit an amended complaint, as the document on file contains misjoined claims and defendants. As discussed in George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007),

The controlling principle appears in Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a): "A party asserting a claim to relief ... may join, either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims, legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an opposing party." Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2. Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits, not only to prevent the sort of morass that this 50-claim, 24-defendant suit produced but also 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).

George, 507 F.3d at 607. In the complaint on file, the plaintiff challenges an administrative lockdown by administrative officials, as well as disciplinary proceedings against before hearing officers. The plaintiff must choose a single, core claim to pursue under this case number. Any other claims the plaintiff may wish to prosecute must be brought in separate lawsuits.

In drafting his amended complaint, the plaintiff is urged to use the court's preprinted form, see Local Rule 81.1 (N.D. Ill.), or at the very least to write neatly and to use appropriate line spacing and margins. It is in the plaintiff's best interest to make his complaint as easily read and understood as possible.

The plaintiff is also alerted to the Prison Litigation Reform Act's comprehensive administrative exhaustion requirement. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), "[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions ... by a prisoner ... until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." It would seem that the plaintiff may have filed suit prematurely: he alleges that the lockdown went into effect on February 3, 2012, and that he had a hearing on February 9, 2012. Although the complaint is undated, it was received by the Clerk of Court on March 1, 2012. It seems unlikely that the plaintiff exhausted available administrative remedies in under three weeks.

For the foregoing reasons, the court dismisses the complaint on file without prejudice. The plaintiff is granted thirty days in which to submit an amended complaint. The amended complaint should limit itself to a single claim, regarding which the plaintiff has exhausted available administrative remedies. The plaintiff must write both the case number and the judge's name on the amended complaint, sign it, and return it to the Prisoner Correspondent. As with every document filed with the court, the plaintiff must provide an extra copy for the judge; he must also submit a sufficient number of copies for service on each defendant named in the amended complaint.

The plaintiff is cautioned that an amended pleading supersedes the original complaint and must stand complete on its own. Therefore, all allegations must be set forth in the amended complaint, without reference to the original complaint. Any exhibits the plaintiff wants the court to consider in its threshold review of the amended complaint must be attached, and each copy of the amended complaint must include complete copies of any and all exhibits.

The clerk will provide the plaintiff with an amended complaint form and instructions. If the plaintiff fails to comply within thirty days, the case will be summarily dismissed on the understanding that the plaintiff does not wish to pursue his claims in federal court at this time.


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