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Kidd v. Pollard

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

August 9, 2016

ROBERT KIDD, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM J. POLLARD, Defendant. TERRANCE GRISSOM, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL DITTMANN, LUCAS WEBER, and LINDSAY WALKER, Defendants. TERRANCE GRISSOM, Plaintiff,
v.
BARTOW, Defendant. TERRANCE GRISSOM, Plaintiff,
v.
KITTY RHOADES, ADMINISTRATION DOC, and ATTORNEY GENERAL, Defendants. TERRANCE GRISSOM, Plaintiff,
v.
MR. BARTOW, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JAMES D. PETERSON District Judge.

         Plaintiff Terrance Grissom, a prisoner currently incarcerated at the Racine Correctional Institution, has filed several lawsuits alleging that prison officials at various correctional institutions are threatening to harm him. Plaintiff is a frequent litigator in this court (he has brought over 60 cases here since 1990) who has “struck out” under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) and who independently has been barred from filing new complaints in this court unless his allegations show that he is in imminent danger of serious physical injury. See Grissom v. Kuluike, No. 14-cv-590-jdp (W.D. Wis. Jan. 12, 2015).

         As I have stated previously in plaintiff’s cases, he has fallen into the habit of filing complaints but then not responding to court orders or otherwise doing anything to prosecute his lawsuits. See, e.g., Grissom v. Luduigson, No. 14-cv-758-jdp (W.D. Wis.) (case dismissed after plaintiff failed to submit initial partial payment of filing fee); Grissom v. Vandenlangenberg, No. 14-cv-490-jdp (W.D. Wis.) (same). Many of plaintiff’s current pleadings fail to fully comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In this order, I will address the problems with each of plaintiff’s current lawsuits and give him a chance to either fix them or have the cases dismissed.

         A. Case no. 14-cv-808-jdp: Waupun Correctional Institution

         Plaintiff initially filed a joint complaint with a prisoner named Robert Kidd about their treatment at the Waupun Correctional Institution (WCI). I directed plaintiff to submit $0.03 as an initial partial payment of the filing fee but he failed to do so, even after opening a new case in this court, No. 15-cv-705-jdp. Kidd responded by filing a motion to dismiss plaintiff from the ’808 case. In a June 27, 2016, order, I dismissed plaintiff from the ’808 case because he failed to prosecute it. Dkt. 39.

         Now plaintiff has filed a motion for a temporary restraining order or injunction to be transferred to the Mendota Mental Health Institute (plaintiff is no longer at the Waupun Correctional Institution, his place of confinement at the time he filed the ’808 case, and whose warden, William Pollard, is the defendant in that case). Dkt. 42 and 43. Plaintiff also asks to stay the case, and for an order directing prison officials to allow him to “produce documents to [him] at no cost” and to provide him with free mailing supplies. Dkt. 42, at 5-6.

         I will not reconsider my decision to dismiss plaintiff from the ’808 case. Plaintiff did not file a timely response to this court’s order directing him to submit his initial partial payment, and Kidd has already stated his desire to continue the case without plaintiff. I will allow plaintiff to pursue his claims in a new case, separate from Kidd’s lawsuit, but only if plaintiff confirms his desire to actually litigate the case by submitting the $0.03 initial partial payment he owes for that case. Plaintiff may arrange with prison authorities to pay some or all of the assessment from his release account. From plaintiff’s trust fund account statement, it looks like he may not have any funds in his regular account to pay the fee, so I encourage him to seek the use of his release account funds for this purpose if he wants to pursue this (or any other) case. Plaintiff should show a copy of this order to prison officials to ensure that they are aware that they should send his initial partial payment to this court.

         If plaintiff chooses to continue with this lawsuit under a new case number, he should also submit an amended complaint fully explaining the basis for his claims. In his original complaint, plaintiff somewhat vaguely suggested that defendant Pollard was denying his and Kidd’s complaints about mistreatment of his mental and physical health problems. The major thrust of plaintiff’s allegations seemed to be that he was not receiving proper mental health treatment, but plaintiff did not explain what he means by that.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires a complaint to include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” A complaint “must be presented with intelligibility sufficient for a court or opposing party to understand whether a valid claim is alleged and if so what it is.” Vicom, Inc. v. Harbridge Merchant Servs., Inc., 20 F.3d 771, 775 (7th Cir. 1994). If plaintiff chooses to file an amended complaint, he should draft it as if he were telling a story to people who know nothing about his situation or defendant Pollard’s actions. Plaintiff will need to explain what Pollard did that harmed him. In particular, he needs to be specific about what decisions about mental health treatment Pollard was involved in and how Pollard’s actions harmed plaintiff.

         I will attach a blank complaint form to this order so that plaintiff can explain how Pollard or other prison staff members harmed him. Plaintiff should make sure to fill out the caption part of the complaint form so that the court and his opponent or opponents can understand who he intends to sue.

         I will deny plaintiff’s motions for injunctive relief because he has not submitted his initial partial payment and because he has been transferred away from the danger he says he faced at WCI. Also, I will deny plaintiff’s motions for an order directing free copies or mailing supplies from prison officials. This court generally does not interfere with the prison’s administration of copying or mailing-supply policies while litigating a lawsuit about completely unrelated claims. The only instance in which the court might get involved was if plaintiff could show that prison officials are effectively barring him from litigating his lawsuits, but he has not made that showing. He has been able to file his pleadings and various motions in each of the above-captioned proceedings, which indicates that prison officials are not stopping him from litigating them. Documents he attaches to some of his pleadings also suggest that plaintiff may seek a legal loan from the DOC.

         B. Case no. 15-cv-705-jdp: Columbia Correctional Institution

         Plaintiff was transferred to the Columbia Correctional Institution, and he filed a new lawsuit alleging that prison officials there were threatening to harm him. I directed plaintiff to submit a six-month copy of his trust fund account statement and to file an amended complaint containing a caption. Dkt. 2 in the ’705 case. I also warned plaintiff that, given his history of initiating cases but then refusing to prosecute them, I would dismiss the ’705 case if he failed to respond to the order.

         Plaintiff has responded by filing his prison trust fund account statement, which the court uses to determine an initial partial payment of the filing fee. Section 1915(b)(1). The initial partial payment is calculated by using the method established in § 1915 by figuring 20 percent of the greater of the average monthly balance or the average monthly deposits to the plaintiff’s trust fund account. From the account statement plaintiff has submitted, I calculate his initial partial payment to be $0.03. Like in the ’808 case, plaintiff may arrange with prison authorities to pay some or all of the assessment for this case from his ...


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