United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge.
Mafayette Fields, a prisoner in the custody of the Wisconsin
Department of Corrections at the Columbia Correctional
Institution, has filed a complaint alleging that he failed to
receive due process at a conduct report hearing and that
prison officials have retaliated against him for filing
inmate grievances. Plaintiff has paid an initial partial
payment of the filing fee for this lawsuit, as previously
directed by the court.
next step is for the court to screen the complaint and
dismiss any portions that are legally frivolous, malicious,
fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or
ask for money damages from a defendant who by law cannot be
sued for money damages. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. In screening
any pro se litigant's complaint, the court must read the
allegations of the complaint generously. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972) (per curiam).
considering plaintiff's allegations, I conclude that the
complaint violates Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure by joining claims together that do not belong in
the same lawsuit. Accordingly, I will give plaintiff the
opportunity to choose which claims he wishes to pursue under
this case number, and to decide whether he wishes to bring
his other claims in a second lawsuit.
Mafayette Fields is currently incarcerated at the Columbia
Correctional Institution. The events relevant to this case
took place while plaintiff was incarcerated at the New Lisbon
point in early 2014, plaintiff received a conduct report for
possession of a contraband flash drive and lying. Although
the committee hearing his case claimed to have video evidence
of plaintiff plugging the flash drive into a computer, it
would not allow plaintiff to see the evidence to prepare his
defense. Nor did the committee make a formal finding that
plaintiff should not be allowed to see the video for security
reasons. Plaintiff was found guilty even though the other
evidence showed that he could not have been in possession of
the flash drive at the time in question. I take plaintiff to
be saying that defendants Unit Manager Thynes and Captain
Cannenberg were on the committee. Plaintiff filed an appeal
but it was denied by defendant Warden Tim Douma.
August 2014, plaintiff attempted to file a state court
certiorari petition appealing the conduct report proceeding.
Although plaintiff's allegations are somewhat difficult
to decipher, he seems to be saying that he needed to either
submit the filing fee or his trust fund account statement to
the court. Defendant Schumann, who worked in "inmate
accounts, " instructed plaintiff that he needed to get
approval for the submission of the fee or account statement
from defendant Captain Achtenberg. However, once Achtenberg
received plaintiff's request, he delayed sending the
paperwork to the business office until after plaintiff's
deadline set by the court. Even after Achtenberg sent the
documents to the business office, the documents were returned
to plaintiff because "he did not have the documentation
to have release funds used for PLRA payments." Plaintiff
sent in his petition anyway, but it was rejected for filing
by the court because his financial information was not
included. Plaintiff believes that the certiorari petition
would have been granted if he had been able to properly file
it. Achtenberg failed to help plaintiff "to teach [him]
a lesson" for filing previous inmate grievances
connected to the conduct report.
other prison officials retaliated against plaintiff for
filing inmate grievances related to the conduct report. On
June 1, 2014, defendant Correctional Officer Dempsey threw a
roll of toilet paper at plaintiff. When plaintiff threw it
back, he received a conduct report. On June 12, 2014,
defendant Correctional Officer Holsclaw refused to give
plaintiff his medication.
also states that defendant Correctional Officer Cordero gave
him two conduct reports in retaliation for a 2012 grievance
plaintiff filed (plaintiff does not explain what that
grievance was about). On June 2, 2014, plaintiff received a
conduct report from Cordero for "group resistance"
for merely filing a grievance against defendant Dempsey and
asking for a copy of DOC "work rules" describing
how an inmate could properly file a grievance. On October 23,
2014, Cordero gave plaintiff a conduct report after plaintiff
asked her to be quiet in the prison library and then refused
to make eye contact with her.
has alleged several constitutional violations against
defendants. However, he cannot proceed on all of his claims
in this lawsuit because they are not sufficiently closely
related to each other. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20
prohibits a plaintiff from asserting unrelated claims against
different defendants in the same lawsuit. Defendants may be
joined in one lawsuit only if the claims against them arise
out of the same transactions or occurrences and present
questions of law or fact that are common to them all.
George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007).
Plaintiff brings claims that belong in two separate lawsuits:
Lawsuit No. 1: various defendants violated plaintiff's
due process rights at his conduct report hearing and then
retaliated against plaintiff for filing ...