United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
THOMAS SMITH, WILLIAM WEHKING, TERRY TIMMONS, and JOE SUGGS, Plaintiffs,
CLINTON COUNTY SHERIFF, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is, once again, before the Court for case management.
This civil rights action was filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 by four individuals at Clinton County Jail
(“Jail”) in Carlyle, Illinois (Doc. 1). In the
original complaint, Plaintiffs challenged the conditions of
their confinement at the Jail (Doc. 1, pp. 1-4). They also
complained of inadequate medical and mental health care
(id.). The complaint included no request for relief
(id. at 5).
Court entered a preliminary order on March 16, 2016 (Doc.
13). In it, the Court warned the four co-plaintiffs about the
consequences of proceeding with their claims in a single
group action (Doc. 13, pp. 2-5). Each plaintiff was offered
the option of withdrawing from this group action and pursuing
his claims in a separate action. Plaintiffs were given until
April 20, 2016, to advise the Court in writing whether he
wished to pursue his claims in group litigation or alone in a
separate suit (id. at 5-6). Regardless of the chosen
path, each was instructed to file an amended complaint that
includes a request for relief by the same deadline
(id. at 6).
preliminary order included the following warning:
If, by that deadline, any . . . plaintiff . . . advises the
Court that he does not wish to participate in the
action and/or wishes to pursue his claims in a separate
action, he will be dismissed from this lawsuit and will
not be charged a filing fee for this action. This is
the only way to avoid the obligation to pay a filing
fee for this action. Any plaintiff who simply does not
respond to this Order on or before April 20, 2016,
will be obligated to pay the filing fee and will
also be dismissed from this action for want of prosecution
and/or for failure to comply with a court order under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b).
(id. at 5-6) (emphasis in original).
William Wehking and Joe Suggs did not respond to the
Court’s order and will both be terminated as plaintiffs
in this action. Their claims will be dismissed with prejudice
based on their failure to prosecute the claims and comply
with an order of this Court. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
41(b). Further, they will each be responsible for paying a
filing fee for the action.
Terry Timmons will also be terminated from this action. He
did not sign the original complaint, file an IFP motion, or
respond to the court’s order. In fact, Plaintiff
Timmons never communicated with the Court about this action.
By all indications, he never intended to participate as a
plaintiff in the action. Plaintiff Timmons’ claims will
be dismissed without prejudice, and he will not be obligated
to pay a filing fee for this action.
Thomas Smith is the only plaintiff who responded to the
Court’s preliminary order (Doc. 14). Plaintiff Smith
indicated that he wishes to proceed alone with his claims,
and he shall be allowed to do so. Because all of his
co-plaintiffs will be terminated as parties in this action,
it is not necessary to sever Plaintiff Smith’s claims
into a separate case. Instead, he will proceed with his
claims in this action.
with his response to the Court’s preliminary order,
Plaintiff Smith also filed an amended complaint (Doc. 14-1).
The Clerk will be directed to re-file it as the “First
Amended Complaint” in this action. Plaintiff
Smith’s First Amended Complaint supersedes and replaces
the original complaint (Doc. 1), rendering it void. See
Flannery v. Recording Indus. Ass’n of Am., 354
F.3d 632, 638 n. 1 (7th Cir. 2004).
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
First Amended Complaint is now subject to preliminary review
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 1915A, the Court
is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out
non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion of the complaint
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 is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b). The First Amended Complaint does not
survive preliminary review under § 1915A and shall be
dismissed without prejudice and with leave to file a Second
Amended Complaint consistent with the below instructions.
First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff Smith complains about the
conditions of his confinement at the Jail (Doc. 14-1, p. 5).
He was allegedly housed in a cell that lacked adequate heat.
During the winter months, the cell became so cold that
Plaintiff Smith could see his breath. He complained to a
sergeant, who simply told ...