United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
SUNTEZ PASLEY, TAIWAN M. DAVIS, SHAWN BUCKLEY, and RICHARD TURNER, Plaintiffs,
CRAMMER, COLE, COOK, PHILIPS, ROSS, HAWKINS, and SNYDER Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
originally filed suit on October 10, 2017, as part of a group
of 7. (Doc. 1). On October 16, 2017, the Court entered a
Boriboune Order, warning Plaintiffs of the perils of
participating in group litigation and directing them to
submit an affirmative statement to the Court that they wished
to proceed as a group. (Doc. 3). Plaintiffs all failed to
respond to the Order, although they did submit motions for
IFP and other motions, indicating to the Court that they were
still interested in pursuing this case. The Court then
entered another Order directing Plaintiffs to indicate
affirmatively that they wished to proceed together. (Doc.
19). Plaintiffs Marshall, Lacy, and Rush never responded, and
were accordingly dismissed from this action. (Doc. 26).
Court then conducted a screening on the Complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. (Doc. 29). The Court found that
Counts 1-3 failed to state a claim, and that Court 4 was
legally frivolous. (Doc. 29). Plaintiffs were directed to
file an Amended Complaint no later than February 8, 2018.
(Doc. 29). On February 5, 2018, Buckley submitted a 19-page
Complaint signed by him alone. (Doc. 36). On February 8,
2018, Davis, Turner, and Pasley all filed separate and
individual Complaints. (Doc. 38) (Doc. 40) (Doc. 41). None of
the Plaintiffs signed any other Plaintiff's Complaint.
Upon review of the Complaints submitted by the Plaintiffs,
the Court finds severance appropriate.
submitted by Plaintiffs
Buckley's Complaint brings claims against Cook, Crammer,
Ross, Phillips, Synder, and Hawkins. (Doc. 36, pp. 1-2).
Buckley alleges that the security cameras at the Alton County
Jail violate his constitutional rights. (Doc. 36, p. 5). He
also alleges that Dr. Aragona prescribed him a special diet
to compensate for the Jail's nutritionally inadequate
diet, but that Cook did not honor the special diet.
Id. Buckley also alleges that he received improper
treatment after oral surgery, causing him dry socket and an
infection, and that the defendants delayed securing him
medical care. Id. Buckley also alleges that his
psychological needs were not met. Id. Finally,
Buckley alleges that he was deprived of cleaning supplies and
religious services. (Doc. 36, p. 6).
Davis' Complaint alleges that he was deprived of access
to the courts because he could not oppose a motion for a stay
filed on his behalf by a court-appointed attorney in his
criminal case. (Doc. 38, p. 5). Davis submitted an exhibit in
support of his complaint that shows he grieved the issue on
October 12, 2017, 2 days after the original complaint in this
case was filed. (Doc. 39).
Turner's Complaint describes an incident that occurred
January 28, 2018 where he was presented for a family visit
while handcuffed. (Doc. 40, p. 4). Turner alleges that he has
experienced unhygienic conditions, no law library access,
nutritionally inadequate food, lack of exercise, and lack of
heat. (Doc. 40, p. 7). Specifically, Turner complains that
his rights were violated on May 21, 2017, November 2, 2017,
November 18, 2017, January 9, 2018, January 10, 2018, January
12, 2018, and in general between December 1, 2017 and January
17, 2018. (Doc. 40, p. 8).
Pasley's Complaint alleges that between September 25,
2017 and the present he has been denied access to the courts,
confined to his cell for approximately 23 hours every day,
subjected to unhygienic conditions of confinement, subjected
to inadequate nutrition, and subjected to a cold cell. (Doc.
41, p. 5).
George v. Smith, the Seventh Circuit emphasized that
unrelated claims belong in separate lawsuits, “not only
to prevent the sort of morass” produced by multi-claim
suits, “but also to ensure that prisoners pay the
required filing fees” under the Prison Litigation
Reform Act. 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing 28
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(g)); Wheeler v. Talbot, 695 F.
App'x 151, 152 (7th Cir. 2017) (failing to sever
mis-joined claims prejudices the United States Treasury);
Owens v. Godinez, 860 F.3d 434, 436 (7th Cir. 2017).
The Court has broad discretion to sever claims pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21 or to dismiss improperly
joined parties. See Owens v. Hinsely, 635 F.3d 950,
952 (7th Cir. 2011); Rice v. Sunrise Express,
Inc., 209 F.3d 1008, 1016 (7th Cir. 2000).
Rule of Civil Procedure 20 permits joinder of all claims that
“aris[e] out of the same transaction, occurrence, or
series of transactions or occurrences; [when] any question of
law of fact common to all plaintiffs will arise in the
action.” Both requirements must be satisfied to justify
joinder and concerns of judicial economy. Elmore v.
Henderson, 227 F.3d 1009, 1012 (7th Cir. 2000).
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not contemplate multiple
controlling complaints in a lawsuit. Right now there are 4
individual complaints in this suit. Each Plaintiff has signed
his own separate Complaint, and no Complaint is signed by
more than one individual. Each request for relief differs
from the other Complaints. This is unacceptable; there can
only be 1 governing Complaint. The Court takes the fact that
the Plaintiff submitted distinct Complaints as an indication
that Plaintiffs no longer wish to proceed together in this
the Plaintiffs had not filed separate Complaints, the Court
would still be inclined to sever this action because it is
clear that the events Plaintiffs complain of are not part of
the same transaction or occurrence. Buckley puts the medical
care he received after oral surgery at issue, as well as
medical care he received in response to his psychological
issues. No. other Plaintiff raises issues regarding medical
care or treatment, and none of their claims rely on facts
related to Buckley's treatment. Buckley also alleges that
he was prescribed a specific diet by medical staff that
correctional staff failed to honor. Despite generalized
allegations of an inadequate diet, no other Plaintiff alleges
that he was put on a medical diet. Thus Buckley has raised
issues that invoke different standards of law and involved
incidents specific to him alone in his Complaint. Portions of
his Complaint are not part of the same transaction or
occurrence as the other Plaintiffs.
Davis' claim is specifically about proceedings in his
criminal case in October 2017. No. other Plaintiff is a
defendant in that same criminal case, which means that the
facts at issue are distinct from the factual issues raised by
the other Plaintiffs. As this is the only issue in ...