United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge.
Titus Henderson, an inmate at the Waupun Correctional
Institution, brings this lawsuit alleging that various state
and federal officials have blocked him from fully litigating
lawsuits, and have retaliated and discriminated against him
in several ways. Henderson has made an initial partial
payment of the filing fee, as previously directed by the
next step in this case is to screen the complaint. In doing
so, I must dismiss any portion that is legally frivolous,
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by
law cannot be sued for money damages. 28 U.S.C. §§
1915 and 1915A. Because Henderson is a pro se litigant, I
must read his allegations generously. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972) (per curiam).
reviewing the complaint with these principles in mind, I
conclude that Henderson's lengthy, vague allegations
violate Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 20, because he
does not explain how each of his claims belong in the same
lawsuit and how each defendant was involved in violating his
rights. I will dismiss Henderson's complaint, but I will
give him a chance to file an amended complaint that fixes
complaint suffers from the same problem as other cases he has
filed in this court, see Henderson v. Raemisch, No.
09-cv-170-bbc (W.D. Wis.), and Henderson v.
Raemisch, No. 08-cv-390-bbc (W.D. Wis.). The complaint
contains about 180 numbered allegations against 23 named
defendants, and it appears to combine numerous unrelated
claims. Most of these allegations are very vague, and do not
explain what each defendant did to violate his rights.
Rather, he names several defendants in each individual
allegation, even though it is highly unlikely that several
different state or federal officials took each action that
allegations can be summarized as follows:
● Henderson's right to access the courts has been
violated by (1) state and federal laws regulating how
inmates pay filing fees, exhaust administrative remedies,
make open records requests, conduct discovery, access
electronic filing methods, and receive legal loans; and by
(2) various state and federal officials' actions
blocking him from litigating cases.
● State officials discriminate and retaliate against
Henderson and other black inmates for challenging their
convictions or prison sentences. Henderson says that
defendants have Dated this by disciplining him, denying him
parole, placing him in “supermax” conditions,
contaminating his food, exposing him to an inmate with a
communicable disease, refusing to hire black staff, and
impeding his litigation.
least as presently written, I conclude that Henderson's
allegations violate Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and
20. Rule 8(a)(2) requires a complaint to include “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Under Rule 8(d),
“each allegation must be simple, concise, and
direct.” The primary purpose of these rules is fair
notice. 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 Serv's,
Inc., 20 F.3d 771, 775 (7th Cir. 1994). Under Rule 20,
defendants cannot be joined together in a lawsuit unless the
claims asserted against them arise out of the same occurrence
or series of occurrences.
vague allegations do not meet these standards. At best, his
allegations might properly belong in two separate
lawsuits-one about his access to courts and one about
retaliation. Even if he picks one of the two sets of claims
listed above, he will not be able to proceed on claims
against each of the named state and federal officials named
as defendants without amending his complaint to explain how
each separate event is related and how each defendant was
bulk of Henderson's claims center around several lawsuits
he says he has lost because of onerous state or federal
statues aimed at restricting prisoner litigation and because
of officials' actions to restrict his litigation. Unless
Henderson can explain a connection between each lost lawsuit,
it is likely that these allegations will need to be broken up
as well into smaller lawsuits. The various incidents
described in Henderson's complaint are alleged to have
taken place over a period of 12 years, which also makes it
unlikely that they are all connected.
to case no. 09-cv-170-bbc, Henderson attempts to bring all of
his allegations together by saying that all of the defendants
are racially discriminating against him and other black
prisoners. This court addressed Henderson's similar
conspiracy allegations in the '170 case:
At this point, the facts alleged in plaintiff's complaint
do not allow the inference to be drawn that more than 60
separate employees of the Wisconsin Department of
Corrections, including the Secretary, administrative staff,
the warden of the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility, medical
staff and dozens of guards and supervisors, as well as prison
employee union officials, plotted together to violate
plaintiff's constitutional rights. “A suit stuffed
with allegations that the plaintiff has been subjected to a
variety of constitutional violations without some hint of a
basis for plaintiff's belief that a genuine conspiracy
exists will not suffice to satisfy the requirements of Rule
20.” Wine v. Thurmer, 2008 WL 1777264, *6
(W.D. Wis. Apr. 16, 2008).
Dkt. 28 in the '170 case, at 5.
same holds true for this case. Henderson simply does not
explain how each of the many events mentioned in his
complaint are tied ...