United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Gary A. Lavite, an inmate in the Madison County Jail, filed a
motion for a preliminary injunction on November 22, 2017.
(Doc. 1). Plaintiff seeks medical testing related to a skull
fracture he suffered on April 24, 2017, prior to his arrest
on September 21, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 1). Plaintiff also makes
allegations that appear unrelated to his skull fracture. For
example, he complains that on September 27, 2017 he was
placed in a cold and dark segregation cell, that he has been
denied a warm and balanced diet, toilet paper, mail, visits,
a toothbrush, and missed several meals. Id.
Plaintiff also claims that his attorney ordered a neurologist
to examine him, but that jail officials would not let the
doctor in, and that he needs surgery. Id.
Plaintiff is a prisoner, the Court must conduct a preliminary
review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
This is not possible, however, because Plaintiff failed to
file a complaint. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
provide that “[a] civil action is commenced by filing a
complaint with the court.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 3. This is
“the first step in the action.” Id.,
Advisory Committee Notes, 1937 Adoption. Plaintiff's
Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 1) does not suffice as a
complaint because it does not contain a statement of the
grounds for the court's jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P.
pro se litigants are not held to the same standards
that apply to licensed attorneys, Kyle v. Patterson,
196 F.3d 695, 697 (7th Cir. 1999), they are not entitled to
general dispensation from the rules of civil procedure.
Jones v. Phipps, 39 F.3d 158, 163 (7th Cir. 1994).
The requirement that all plaintiffs must file a complaint is
a fundamental rule in our legal system. Without a complaint,
the Court cannot ascertain the basis for jurisdiction.
See Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 681-82 (1946);
Greater Chicago Combine & Ctr., Inc. v. City of
Chicago, 431 F.3d 1065, 1069-70 (7th Cir. 2005). Nor can
the Court determine the exact causes of action that Plaintiff
intends to bring against the defendant. Plaintiff is required
to associate specific defendants with specific claims, so
that defendants are put on notice of the claims brought
against them and so they can properly answer the complaint.
See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
of example only, the case caption in the Preliminary
Injunction refers only to John Larkin, (Sheriff). (Doc. 1, p.
1). Yet the body of the motion makes no mention of Larkin at
all and does not contain any facts from which the Court could
conclude that Larkin is personally involved in the conduct
Plaintiff raises. Id. Plaintiff has not associated
his claims with any person, much less a named defendant.
Id. In the absence of a complaint that identifies
each defendant who is responsible for a violation of
Plaintiff's rights and the conduct giving rise to each
claim, the Court is unable to fully analyze Plaintiff's
claims or consider request his for a preliminary injunction.
not Plaintiff's first lawsuit; he has filed at least 5
other lawsuits in this Court complaining of conditions of his
incarceration. Plaintiff has initiated all of his prior
lawsuits with a complaint, suggesting that he is familiar
with the requirement. Additionally, in 2013, Plaintiff filed
Case No. 13-cv-576, which proceeded before the undersigned
judge. During that suit, Plaintiff filed a Temporary
Restraining Order in lieu of an amended complaint, and the
Court did not allow him to proceed in that manner. (Case No.
13-576, Docs. 12-13). There is at least some suggestion in
this Court's docket that Plaintiff is aware of the
the Court takes Plaintiff's allegations seriously, it
will not waive the requirements in the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction
will be held in abeyance until such time as he files a proper
complaint. (Doc. 1).
IS FURTHER ORDERED that on or before December 27,
2017 Plaintiff shall file a complaint, thereby initiating
this action. Plaintiff is reminded that a complaint must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Plaintiff is encouraged to use the
Court's standard civil rights complaint form to prepare
the pleading. He must clearly identify which claim(s) he is
bringing against each defendant. In particular, the
allegations should demonstrate which defendants are
personally responsible for any claimed violation of his
is further reminded that he may not bring several unrelated
claims against different defendants in the same complaint.
Such unrelated claims are subject to severance into one or
more separate actions, and Plaintiff will be obligated to pay
a separate filing fee for each action. See George v.
Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007) (unrelated claims
against different defendants belong in separate lawsuits). If
Plaintiff wishes to avoid severance and the associated filing
fees, he should limit his complaint to claims that are
factually and legally related.
is hereby WARNED that failure to file a
proper complaint by the prescribed deadline will result in
dismissal of this action for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. Such a dismissal shall count as one of his
three allotted “strikes” under the provisions of
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
Clerk is DIRECTED to mail Plaintiff a
standard Civil Rights Complaint form and instructions for a
person in custody.
Plaintiff is advised that he is under a continuing obligation
to keep the Clerk of Court and each opposing party informed
of any change in his address; the Court will not
independently investigate his whereabouts. This shall be done
in writing not later than seven (7) days after a transfer or
other change in address occurs. Failure to comply with this
order will cause a delay in the transmission of court
documents and may result in dismissal of this action for want
of prosecution. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).