United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
E. SHADID UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the Court for merit 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.
a pro se prisoner, claims Defendants Illinois Department of
Corrections (IDOC), Director John Baldwin, Michael Melvin,
Sara Johnson, Susan Prentice, Lieutenant Thorsome, Lieutenant
Sorenson, Nurse Jade Culkin, Dr. Ojelade, Dr. Tilden, Nurse
Tracy, and Dr. Renzi violated his constitutional rights at
Pontiac Correctional Center.
has divided his complaint into five counts. First, Plaintiff
says Dr. Renzi used excessive force in June of 2017 when he
ordered officers to place Plaintiff in four- point restraints
“without justification” and refused to remove the
restraints for three days. (Comp, p. 5).
Plaintiff says Nurse Culkin and Dr. Tilden refused to provide
Plaintiff with his prescribed pain medication while Plaintiff
was in the four-point restraints even though Plaintiff
advised both Defendants the restraints were exacerbating his
Plaintiff says Nurse Culkin and Dr. Ojelade refused to
provide treatment for a skin condition. Plaintiff says he
first developed the skin condition in 2017, but Plaintiff
fails to provide the specific diagnosis, nor what treatment
he requested. Plaintiff also fails to state when the
Defendants denied him medical care.
Plaintiff says Dr. Tilden, Nurse Culkin, Dr. Ojelade, and
Nurse Tracy refused to provide medical care for
Plaintiff's wrist injury. Plaintiff does not explain his
injury and the only date provided for this claim is 2017.
Plaintiff also admits he was given an x-ray which revealed no
fractures. Plaintiff does not indicate what additional
medical care was needed.
Plaintiff says he was subjected to unconstitutional living
conditions in November of 2017. Plaintiff's cell had
feces and blood on the walls and ceiling, an infestation of
spiders and insects, clogged vents, and a filthy chuck hole
for food delivery. In addition, the cell was flooded with
sewage in February of 2018. Plaintiff says he personally
notified Defendants Thorsome, Sorenson, and Drysdale, but
nothing was done. In addition, Plaintiff asked for clearing
supplies, but his requests were ignored. Plaintiff says
Defendants IDOC, Baldwin, Melvin, and Johnson were informed
of his living conditions during the grievance process.
However, Plaintiff is advised “[r]uling against a
prisoner on an administrative complaint does not cause or
contribute to the violation.” George v Smith,
507 F.3d 605, 609(7th Cir. 2007).
the deficiencies noted with some claims, there are additional
problems with Plaintiff's complaint. For instance,
Plaintiff cannot combine all of his claims in one complaint.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18 allows a plaintiff to
include in one complaint every claim of any kind against a
single defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a). Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 20 allows additional claims against separate
defendants only if the additional claims arise “out of
the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions
or occurrences.” See Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a),
the Seventh Circuit has repeatedly held “[u]nrelated
claims against different defendants belong in different
suits.” UWM Student Ass'n v. Lovell, 888
F.3d 854, 863 (7th Cir. 2018), quoting George, 507
F.3d at 607. “This is not only to ensure that prisoners
pay the required filing fees for each suit but also to
prevent them from dodging the assessment of a
‘strike' under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).”
Teen v. Massey, 2018 WL 4075499, at *3 (S.D.Ill.
Aug. 27, 2018); George, 507 F.3d at 607.
clearly cannot combine his claims involving excessive force
and a denial of medical care with his claims against
different individuals involving his unsanitary living
conditions. If Plaintiff wishes to pursue all claims, he must
file separate lawsuits and pay separate filing fees.
Consequently, Plaintiff must choose whether he wishes to
pursue Claims 1, 2, 3, and 4 in this lawsuit, or if he wishes
to pursue claim 5 in this lawsuit. For any claim Plaintiff
alleges, he must provide time frames and clearly state the
involvement of each named Defendant.
Court will not divide the claims into two lawsuits now
because of the scant information provided concerning each of
Plaintiff's medical claims. It is unclear if Plaintiff
can articulate a constitutional violation for each
allegation, and it is unclear if each of the claims should be
combined in one complaint. For instance, while Plaintiff
alleges the same Defendants were involved in the denial of
medical care, he has not explained how each
Defendant was involved in each allegation. Therefore,
Plaintiff must provide additional information in his proposed
amended complaint if he wishes to pursue the medical claims.
Court also notes it is possible some of Plaintiff's
claims might be barred by the statute of limitations period.
A lawsuit pursuant to §1983 is subject to the statute of
limitations governing personal injury claims in the state
where the alleged injury occurred. See Wilson v
Giesen, 956 F.2d 738, 740 (7th Cir. 1992) citing
Wilson v Garcia, 471 U.S. 161, 279 (1985). The
applicable statute of limitations in Illinois is two years.
See Farrell v. McDonough, 966 F.2d 279, 280-82 (7th
chose to file his complaint on October 8, 2019, but some of
his allegations occurred more than two years ago.
Nonetheless, the statute of limitations period is tolled
while an inmate participates in the grievance procedure.
Therefore, without knowing more, it is unclear whether any of
Plaintiff's claims are barred. Nonetheless, Plaintiff
should consider whether his claims are timely when filing an
amended complaint. See Hatch v. Briley, 230
Fed.Appx. 598, 599 (7th Cir. 2007)(statute of
limitations clock begins when claim accrues, stops during
grievance procedure, and restarts when procedure is
complete); Hondo, Inc. ...