United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
KEVIN WILLIAMS, ALAN DAVIS, TIMOTHY REICHLING, JOSHUA JURCICH, CHRISTOPHER VAN BITTER, DAMIAN PHIPPS, JEREMY MOSBY, DEMETRIUS GOLLIDAY, DAVID HAMILTON, III, CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER, BRENT FAUCETT, KEITH MUCKENSTURM, DEONTRE SAMUELS, DARRYL BROWN, MICHAEL E. BAUM, MONTRELL COOPER, JOSEPH BAUM, ERIC TUCKER, CARLOS LUNA, BRANDON SERES, TREVONTE NICHOLSON, JOHNNIE BULLOCK, ROBERT E. BALDWIN, JR., ZACH HILL, JACOB ESPARZA, RONNELL HUNTER, DELCHEVA HARRIS, RANDY McCRAY, and ANTONIO COZART, Plaintiffs,
RICHARD WATSON and ST. CLAIR COUNTY JAIL, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court for case management. This pro se action was filed by lead Plaintiff Kevin Williams and 28 other detainees at the St. Clair County Jail ("the Jail"), to challenge the Defendants' strip-search practices. This Court in Doc. 4 advised each non-lead Plaintiff that he must give notice by January 23, 2014, if he wished to voluntarily withdraw from the lawsuit. Any Plaintiff who failed to respond would continue as a party to the action. All Plaintiffs who remained in the action would incur a filing fee. In addition, each Plaintiff remaining in the suit was directed to submit a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) if he was unable to pay the fee in full. Several, but not all, of the Plaintiffs have responded.
According to the responses, or lack thereof, some Plaintiffs shall be dismissed from the action and one Plaintiff's claim shall be severed. Lead Plaintiff Kevin Williams shall be ordered to show cause why he should not be dismissed from the action for failure to comply with the Court's previous order (Doc. 4). Likewise, several other Plaintiffs are subject to dismissal from the action for failure to comply with the order at Doc. 4.
I. Plaintiffs to be Dismissed from the Action Without Fee
The order at Doc. 4 was mailed to each individual Plaintiff at the Jail. The envelopes addressed to three of the Plaintiffs (Damian Phipps, Darryl Brown, and Randy McCray) were returned as undeliverable with the notation, "No Such Person at the St. Clair County Jail" (Docs. 5, 6, 7). Because they did not receive the Court's order (which was the only notice advising them of their duty to update their address with the Court) these three Plaintiffs shall be dismissed from the action and shall not be assessed a filing fee.
In addition, six other Plaintiffs responded to the order at Doc. 4 by requesting to withdraw from the action: Johnnie Bullock (Doc. 8); David Hamilton, III (Doc. 9); Timothy Reichling (Doc. 10); Ronnell Hunter (Doc. 12); Robert E. Baldwin, Jr. (Doc. 16); and Keith Muckensturm (Doc. 17). Those requests which were docketed as motions to withdraw from the case (Docs. 12, 16, and 17) are GRANTED.
Accordingly, the following Plaintiffs are DISMISSED from the action without prejudice and shall not be assessed a filing fee: TIMOTHY REICHLING, DAMIAN PHIPPS, DAVID HAMILTON, III, KEITH MUCKENSTURM, DARRYL BROWN, JOHNNIE BULLOCK, ROBERT E. BALDWIN, JR., RONNELL HUNTER, and RANDY McCRAY.
II. Plaintiff Christopher Alexander - Motion for Severance
Plaintiff Christopher Alexander is the only Plaintiff to respond by moving for severance of his claim into a new, separate case (Doc. 15). The motion for severance also incorporated a request for appointment of counsel. Alexander filed a motion for leave to proceed IFP as directed (Docs. 13, 14).
Plaintiff Alexander's motion for severance (Doc. 15) is GRANTED; however, that portion of the motion requesting counsel is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. There is no constitutional or statutory right to appointment of counsel in federal civil cases. Romanelli v. Suliene, 615 F.3d 847, 851 (7th Cir. 2010). The Court has discretion under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) to request counsel to assist a pro se litigant. Id. Here, however, Alexander has made no showing as to whether he has attempted to obtain counsel on his own, or that he has been effectively precluded from doing so. See Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654 (7th Cir. 2007). Further, given the fairly straightforward nature of this case, there is no indication that Alexander would not be competent to litigate it himself, at least at this early stage. Alexander may re-file his motion in the newly-severed case, if he wishes to do so.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff Alexander's claims are SEVERED into a new case. That new case shall be captioned: CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER, Plaintiff, vs. RICHARD WATSON, and ST. CLAIR COUNTY JAIL (Specific Guards), Defendants.
The new severed 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 ...