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Bethea v. Stateville Rnc

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

July 3, 2013

TYRONE BETHEA, # K-80900, Plaintiff,
v.
STATEVILLE RNC and VIENNA CORRECTIONAL CENTER, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Vienna Correctional Center ("Vienna"), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He claims that between March 1 and March 20, 2013, he was housed in unsanitary conditions at Stateville RNC ("Stateville") (Doc. 1, p. 5). Among other complaints, he was made to sleep on a urine-covered floor near a toilet.

Thereafter, he was transferred to Vienna, where the remainder of his claims arose. Plaintiff does not include any factual allegations regarding the problems at Vienna, but mentions asbestos. The sum total of his statement regarding Vienna consists of one run-on sentence: "Gross Negligence Abestoes [sic] criminal malfeasance with harmful intent, torque claim 42 U.S.C. § 1997 § my due process 14th/5th Amendments, C.R.I.P. Ace, Imminent danger, Punitive damages, verbosity perpensity [sic]" (Doc. 1, p. 5).

Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

Under § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint, and to dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from an immune defendant.

This Court is of the opinion that neither the Stateville allegations nor the Vienna claim is sufficient to survive § 1915A review. However, Plaintiff may be able to state a viable claim if he is permitted to amend his complaint. Furthermore, the claims arose in different judicial districts against different Defendants, thus severance is appropriate.

In George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007), the Seventh Circuit emphasized that unrelated claims against different defendants belong in separate lawsuits, "not only to prevent the sort of morass" produced by multi-claim, multi-defendant suits "but also to ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees" under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. George, 507 F.3d at 607, (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b), (g)). Plaintiff's complaint can be divided into two counts: Count 1 regarding the Stateville RNC claims, and Count 2 regarding the Vienna claims.

Consistent with the George decision and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21, the Court shall sever Count 2 of Plaintiff's complaint, and shall open a new case with a newly-assigned case number for that claim. However, Plaintiff shall have an opportunity to voluntarily dismiss the newly severed case if he does not wish to proceed on the Vienna claims or incur the additional filing fee.

Severance of Count 2

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's Vienna claims (COUNT 2) are SEVERED into a new case. That new case shall be: Claims against DEFENDANT VIENNA CORRECTIONAL CENTER.

The new case SHALL BE ASSIGNED to the undersigned District Judge for further proceedings. In the new case, the Clerk is DIRECTED to file the following documents:

(1) This Memorandum and Order
(2) The Original Complaint (Doc. 1)
(3) Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma ...

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