United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
EDWARD F. SPILLER, Plaintiff,
OFFICER CARTER, et. al., Defendants
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
E. SHADID UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the Court for review of the Plaintiff's
complaint. The Court is required by 28 U.S.C. §1915A to
“screen” the Plaintiff's complaint and
through such process to identify and dismiss any legally
insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A
claim is legally insufficient if it “(1) is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §1915A.
a pro se prisoner, claims Defendants Officer Carter,
Superintendent Asbell, Sheriff Michael McCoy and Officer
Christopher Schauchtrup violated his constitutional rights at
the Peoria County Jail. Unfortunately, the Court is not able
to clearly discern Plaintiff's intended claims. For
instance, in the first paragraph, Plaintiff first says he was
released from the jail, but then Plaintiff claims he wants an
inmate to be placed on his “keep away list, ” and
he wants to be moved to general population. (Comp., p. 5).
Plaintiff further complains his living conditions are too
cold and does not have a t.v. or hot water. Plaintiff further
alleges this is “payback” for all his lawsuits,
but in the portion of the complaint which asks for his
litigation history, Plaintiff claims he has never filed
another lawsuit. (Comp., p. 3, 5).
se litigants are held to a lesser pleading standard than
other parties, ” Federal Exp. Corp. v.
Holowecki, 552 U.S. 389, 402 (2008); see also
McGowan v. Hulick, 612 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir.2010)
(noting that the district court must construe a pro
se complaint liberally). Nonetheless, “plaintiff
must make allegations that associate specific defendants with
specific claims, so the defendants are put on notice of the
claims brought against them and so they can properly answer
the complaint.” McIntosh v. Wexford Health Sources,
Inc., 2017 WL 1067782, at *5 (S.D.Ill. March 21, 2017),
citing Hoskins v. Poelstra, 320 F.3d 761, 764 (7th
Cir. 2003). The Court is simply unable to decipher
Plaintiff's intended claims. Therefore, Plaintiff's
complaint is dismissed as a violation of Rule 8 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Lindell v.
McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1110 (7th Cir.2003) (“If
a complaint's length and lack of clarity make it
unintelligible, dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) is
permitted.... though leave to replead should ordinarily be
granted.”)(citations omitted); Fidelity Nat. Title
Ins. Co. of New York v. Intercounty Nat. Title Ins. Co.,
412 F.3d 745, 749 (7th Cir. 2005)(“a
district judge has the authority to dismiss a complaint
because it is confusing, though only in a rare case would he
be justified in dismissing it on this ground with
prejudice.); Stanard v. Nygren, 658 F.3d 792, 798
(7th Cir. 2011)(“Rule 8(a) requires parties
to make their pleadings straightforward, so that judges and
adverse parties need not try to fish a gold coin from a
bucket of mud.”); Davis v. Ruby Foods, Inc.,
269 F.3d 818, 820 (7th Cir. 2001)(“The
dismissal of a complaint on the ground that it is
unintelligible is unexceptionable.”); Johnson v.
Village of Brooklyn, IL, 2015 WL 4148374, at *3
(S.D.Ill. July 9, 2015) (“Because Plaintiff's
complaint is too muddled for either the Court or Defendants
to manage, it shall be dismissed without prejudice.”).
Court will allow Plaintiff one opportunity to clarify his
intended claims. Plaintiff's amended complaint MUST
include numbered paragraphs. Each paragraph should state only
one claim. Plaintiff should state when the event occurred,
who was involved, how they were involved and what happened.
For instance, if Plaintiff is alleging he should have been
released from segregation, he should state how long he was in
segregation, why he should have been released, and who
refused to release him. If Plaintiff is stating a claim based
on his living conditions, he should say what cell he was in,
how long he was in the cell, specifically what was wrong with
the cell and who knew about the problems and refused to
address them. Finally, if Plaintiff is alleging a Defendant
retaliated against him, Plaintiff should say who retaliated,
when they retaliated, how they retaliated and why they
retaliated. If the basis of the retaliation was a previous
lawsuit, Plaintiff should identify the lawsuit and how the
Defendants knew about it. Plaintiff must also provide his
full litigation history in his complaint.
Plaintiff fails to follow the Court's specific
directions, or fails to file his complaint by the deadline
provided, his case will be dismissed. See Wilson v.
Bruce, 400 Fed.Appx. 106, 109 (7th Cir.
2010)(“whatever benefits (the plaintiff) may seek as a
pro se litigant, they do not include license to
disregard the court's orders.”).
FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
Plaintiff has filed a motion for appointment of counsel..
Plaintiff has no constitutional right to the appointment of
counsel. In addition, the Court cannot require an attorney to
accept pro bono appointment in a civil case. The most the
Court can do is ask for volunteer counsel. See Jackson v.
County of McLean, 953 F.2d 1070, 1071 (7th
Cir. 1992). In considering Plaintiff's motion, the Court
must ask two questions: “(1) has the indigent plaintiff
made a reasonable attempt to obtain counsel or been
effectively precluded from doing so; and if so, (2) given the
difficulty of the case, does the plaintiff appear competent
to litigate it himself?” Pruitt v. Mote, 503
F.3d 647, 654 (7thCir. 2007), citing Farmer v.
Haas, 990 F.2d 319, 322 (7th Cir. 1993). In
this case, Plaintiff has not demonstrated any attempt to find
counsel such as a copy of letters sent or received.
Therefore, his motion is denied with leave to renew once
Plaintiff clarifies his claims.
1) Based on a review of the Plaintiff's complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915A, the Court finds the
complaint is a violation of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Therefore, the complaint is dismissed.
2) Plaintiff may file an amended complaint within 21 days of
this order. The amended complaint must stand complete on its
own and must not make reference to any previous filing.
Plaintiff MUST also file the Court's specific
instructions in his amended complaint. Plaintiff must file
his proposed second amended complaint within 21 days of this
order or on or before May 3, 2017. If Plaintiff does not file
his second amended complaint on or before May 3, 2017 or
fails to follow the Court's specific instructions, his
case will be dismissed.
3) The Clerk of the Court is to provide Plaintiff with a
blank complaint form to assist him. The Clerk is also
directed to reset the internal merit review deadline for 30
days from the date of this order.
4) Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel is
denied with leave to renew after Plaintiff ...