United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
PAUL FARROW, et al. Plaintiff,
VERMILION COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT., et al. Defendants.
MERIT REVIEW AND CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER
A. BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
proceeding pro se, and currently detained at
Vermilion County Public Safety Building, were granted leave
to proceed in forma pauperis. The case is now before
the court for a merit review of plaintiffs' claims. The
court is required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to
“screen” the plaintiffs' 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.
reviewing the complaint, the court accepts the factual
allegations as true, liberally construing them in the
plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and
labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to
“state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.” Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418, 422
(7th Cir. 2013)(citation omitted).
Paul Farrow and William Morgan allege in their complaint that
they are both housed in isolation without access to legal
material, eyeglasses, medical treatment, pain medication,
legal assistance, phone books, and “all necessities
except for clean clothing[, ] showers” and food.
Plaintiffs also allege that, in December 2018, a John Doe
Defendant correctional officer sprayed Plaintiff Morgan in
the face and genital area with mace, and that the same John
Doe officer slammed Plaintiff Farrow's head into an
elevator. Plaintiff Farrow also alleges that members of the
Danville Police Department attacked him in March 2015.
initial matter, Plaintiffs intend for this lawsuit to be a
class action; however, unrepresented plaintiffs are not
allowed to act as class representatives. See Huddleston
v. Duckworth, 97 F.R.D. 512, 514-55 (N.D. Ind. 1983).
Generally speaking, a lawsuit may have multiple pro
se plaintiffs, but motions and other pleadings filed
with the Court must be signed by each Plaintiff. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(a). Plaintiffs cannot act on each
other's behalf. To the extent that Plaintiffs seek to
litigate this matter as a class action, the request is
state a Fourteenth Amendment claim based on the alleged use
of unreasonable force in December 2018. Kingsley v.
Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2473 (2015). Because
Plaintiffs name only a Doe Defendant, the Court will retain
Defendant Hartshorn, the sheriff, as a defendant solely for
purposes of identifying the Doe defendant. Donald v. Cook
Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 95 F.3d 548, 555-56 (7th
however, do not state any further claims at this time.
Plaintiff Farrow's claim related to the 2015 use of force
is likely time-barred. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 651 (7th Cir. 2014) (“Section 1983 suits in
Illinois have a two-year statute of limitations.”)
(citation omitted). Even if it is not, Plaintiff Farrow
describes an incident that occurred several years prior to
his present detention, does not involve Plaintiff Morgan, and
names different defendants. Accordingly, the claims belong in
a separate lawsuit. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605,
607 (7th Cir. 2007) (“Unrelated claims against
different defendants belong in different suits.”);
Owens v. Godinez, 860 F.3d 434, 436 (7th Cir. 2017)
(“[D]istrict courts should not allow inmates to flout
the rules for joining claims and defendants…or to
circumvent the Prison Litigation Reform Act's fee
requirements by combining multiple lawsuits into a single
also do not allege sufficient information to state a
conditions-of-confinement claim based upon the alleged
conditions in isolation. Plaintiffs, at the very least, must
describe their respective medical conditions, how lack of
access to legal assistance has prejudiced an otherwise
meritorious claim, what steps they have taken to notify jail
officials, and the officials' responses. For these
reasons, Plaintiff Farrow's 2015 claim and
Plaintiffs' conditions-of-confinement claim will be
dismissed without prejudice.
a third detainee at the jail, Jeremy Marack, filed a Motion
to Amend Complaint (Doc. 6), seeking to join this lawsuit as
a plaintiff. As discussed above, this matter cannot proceed
as a class action. Further, Mr. Marack alleges that he was
not detained at the jail until after the December 2018
incident, and, therefore, he could not have been involved. If
Mr. Marack desires to pursue the allegations he alleged in
his motion, he must do so in a separate lawsuit.
is therefore ordered:
Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, the court finds that the plaintiffs state a
Fourteenth Amendment claim for the use of unreasonable force
against Defendant John Doe “Allen.” Defendant
Hartshorn shall remain a defendant solely for purposes of
identifying the Doe Defendants. Any additional claims shall
not be included in the case, except at the court's
discretion on motion by a party for good cause shown or
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.
case is now in the process of service. The plaintiff is
advised to wait until counsel has appeared for the defendants
before filing any motions, in order to give the defendants
notice and an opportunity to respond to those motions.
Motions filed before defendants' counsel has filed an
appearance will generally be denied as premature. The
plaintiff need not submit any evidence to the court at this
time, unless otherwise directed by the court.
court will attempt service on the defendants by mailing each
defendant a waiver of service. The defendants have 60 days
from the date the waiver is sent to file an answer. If the
defendants have not filed answers or appeared through counsel
within 90 days of the entry of this order, the plaintiff may
file a motion requesting the status of service. After the
defendants have been served, the court will enter an order
setting discovery and dispositive motion deadlines.
respect to a defendant who no longer works at the address
provided by the plaintiff, the entity for whom that defendant
worked while at that address shall provide to the clerk said
defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said
defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be
used only for effectuating service. Documentation of
forwarding addresses shall ...