United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JEFFREY COLEMAN, No. 13853-028, RANDALL A. MILLER, and ANDREW DUNK, Plaintiffs,
U.S. MARSHAL SERVICE, and RANDY COBB Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court for case management and for
preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. Plaintiff Jeffrey Coleman filed the instant
action naming himself and five other individuals as
plaintiffs. At the time of filing, all of the Plaintiffs were
incarcerated at White County Jail (“Jail”).
Initially, with the exception of Coleman, none of the
Plaintiffs signed the Complaint or submitted an IFP motion.
December 18, 2017, the Court entered a preliminary order
pursuant to Boriboune v. Berge, 391 F.3d 852 (7th
Cir. 2004) (“Boriboune Order”). (Doc.
5). In it, each plaintiff, aside from the lead plaintiff
Coleman, was ordered to advise the Court in writing, no later
than January 15, 2018, whether he wished to pursue his claims
in group litigation. The Court also ordered each non-lead
plaintiff who wanted to continue in this group action to
submit a signed copy of the Complaint on or before the
January 15, 2018 deadline.
deadline passed with varying responses. Accordingly, on
February 1, 2018, the Court entered a second case management
order. (Doc. 16). In it, Plaintiffs Edwards and Rander were
dismissed from the action based on their failure to timely
respond to the Boriboune Order. Plaintiff Jones was
also dismissed, after responding to the Boriboune
Order and indicating that he did not wish to proceed with
this group litigation. Plaintiffs Miller and Dunk submitted
incomplete responses. Therefore, the Court allowed Miller and
Dunk a brief extension, until February 15, 2018, in which to
comply with the Boriboune Order. To date, both
Miller and Dunk have asked to remain parties to this group
action, have submitted signed complaints, and have filed IFP
motions. (See Docs. 7, 9, 17, 18, and 21).
the above, as an initial matter, the Court concludes that
joinder is not appropriate. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
20(a)-(b), 21; Chavez v. Illinois State Police, 251
F.3d 612, 632 (7th Cir. 2001). Therefore, each remaining
plaintiff will be required to pursue his claims in a separate
action. But before doing so, each remaining plaintiff must
file an amended complaint in his separate case because the
Complaint (Doc. 1) does not survive screening under 28 U.S.C.
three plaintiffs remain in this action: (1) lead plaintiff
Coleman; (2) non-lead plaintiff Miller; and (3) non-lead
plaintiff Dunk. The Complaint was filed by Coleman,
purportedly on behalf of himself and 5 other individuals who,
at that time of filing, were in custody at the Jail. (Doc.
1). It appears that Miller and Dunk are still in custody at
the Jail. Coleman, however, is presently in custody at FCI
McDowell in the Southern District of West Virginia. (Doc.
Complaint includes three sets of claims: (1) claims
pertaining to recreational/exercise opportunities and cell
conditions; (2) claims pertaining to food served at the Jail;
and (3) claims pertaining to law library access. For the most
part, the allegations in the first set of claims are
associated with a single plaintiff, presumably Coleman, the
apparent author of the Complaint (e.g., “plaintiff has
been incarcerated at White County Jail for numerous
months” and “plaintiff is forced to breathe in
recycled air”). However, these claims occasionally
reference a group of individuals (e.g., “we have not
been permitted to engage in recreational activities”).
The allegations in the second set of claims are primarily
associated with Coleman. The allegations in the third set of
claims are associated with “plaintiffs” in
to the Complaint, Coleman was housed in a cell with eight
other inmates that was approximately the size of a single car
garage. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Coleman claims that it was difficult
to exercise or stretch in his cell and that, as a result, he
suffered from neck, back, and leg pain. Id. Coleman
also claims that the cell lacked fresh air and that the lack
of fresh air exacerbated his asthma. Id. Finally,
Coleman alleges that, during his time at the Jail, he and
other federal inmates were not allowed to engage in out of
cell recreational activities. Id. When Coleman
inquired about participating in recreational activities, Cobb
(the Jail Administrator) told him the head of the United
States Marshal Service said that federal inmates were not
allowed to participate in recreational activities.
Id. It is unclear whether Miller and Dunk were
subjected to the same complained of conditions.
at the Jail
complains that the Jail diet consists of overly processed
foods and is devoid of fresh food such as fruit. (Doc. 1, p.
7). According to the Complaint, the lack of variety in the
Jail diet violates state rules that require county jails to
rotate the menu every ninety days. Id. Coleman filed
grievances with Cobb regarding the diet, but did not receive
a response. Id. Coleman also blames the United
States Marshal Service for the allegedly inadequate diet
because this agency is supposed to provide county jails with
funds to ensure that the needs of federal prisoners are met.
(Doc. 1, p. 8).
generally claims that the rights of “plaintiffs”
are being violated because the Jail does not have a law
library. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Coleman states that, even though
referenced plaintiffs are represented by counsel, they need
access to a law library because their attorneys are often
overworked and/or make mistakes. Id. Coleman claims
the United States Marshals are aware of the law library
issues but have not done anything to correct the problem.
U.S.C. § 1915A
Complaint is now subject to preliminary review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if
feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after
docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner
seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall
identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any
portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable
basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an
objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable
person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209
F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of
entitlement to relief must cross “the line between
possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At
this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se
complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v.
Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir.