United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER ALLOWING THE PLAINTIFF TO FILE AN AMENDED
COMPLAINT SO THAT HE MAY CONSOLIDATE HIS RELATED CLAIMS AND
DEFENDANTS IN A SINGLE LAWSUIT
PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge
Plaintiff's Motions to Consolidate Three Lawsuits
October 3, 2016, the plaintiff, who is representing himself,
filed three complaints, which the clerk of court designated
as Case Nos. 16-cv-1318, 16-cv-1319, and 16-cv-1320. On
October 24, 2016, the plaintiff filed an identical motion in
all three cases. The motion asks the court to consolidate the
three cases into a single case. The plaintiff explains that
all of the defendants work for the same institution, and he
wants to consolidate the cases to avoid a duplication of
efforts and to promote judicial economy and efficiency.
See, e.g., Case No. 13-cv-1318, Dkt. No.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18, a plaintiff may assert
numerous unrelated claims against a single defendant. In
other words, if the plaintiff has three claims against
defendant X, he does not need to file three different cases;
he can file all of his claims in a single case, even if the
claims against that defendant do not arise out of the same
events or circumstances or do not have anything in common
with one another.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2), a plaintiff may name multiple
defendants in a single lawsuit if his claims arise “out
of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of
transactions or occurrences; and any question of law or fact
common to all defendants will arise in the action.” In
other words, a plaintiff can sue defendants X, Y, Z in the
same case if the defendants all were involved in the same
alleged event(s) and if the questions of law or fact that the
court will decide apply to all of the defendants.
plaintiff may not do is sue different defendants on
unrelated claims in a single case. As the Court of Appeals
for the Seventh Circuit has cautioned, “[u]nrelated
claims against different defendants belong in different
suits, ” to prevent prisoners from dodging the fee
payment or three strikes provisions in the Prison Litigation
Reform Act. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th
court briefly reviewed the three complaints that the
plaintiff wishes to consolidate. The defendant has sued two
(2) of the same defendants in all three lawsuits: Guard
Becker and Robert Croecker (or Croker-the plaintiff spells
the name differently in different cases). The court will
refer to these defendants as the “core
defendants.” Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 18, the plaintiff may
pursue as many claims as he believes he has against the core
defendants in a single lawsuit.
addition, under Fed.R.Civ.P. 20, the plaintiff may name
additional defendants if they were involved in the
events that gave rise to any of his claims against the core
defendants. The plaintiff has sued twelve (12) defendants in
two out of the three lawsuits: Kurt Mikutis, Denise Jarvella
(or Jarvela), John Giannini, Nate Knutz, Guard Joe, Denise
Molitor-Haney, Carlos Gerena, Denise Bell, C. Fernandez, and
David G. Beth. The remaining defendants-Darron Newton; Guard
LaHare; Camron; Kenosha Visiting Community Care, Inc.;
Advance Correctional Healthcare; Nurse Jane Doe #1; Nurse
Jane Doe #1; Nurs Jane Doe #3; Debra Hertzberg; Jim Kreuser;
Robert Hallisy; Norman R. Johnson; Shawn Zwirgzdas; Carol
Oneal; Allan K. Kehl; and Lattare-appear to have been named
in only one of the suits (although 16-cv-1319 and 16-cv-1320
both involve a Nurse Doe #1 and a Nurse Doe #2). If these
defendants were involved in any of the events that gave rise
to the claims the plaintiff has raised against the core
defendants, he may add them.
things easier for both the parties and the court, the court
is going to allow the plaintiff to file an amended complaint
in Case No. 16-cv-1318. The plaintiff should include in that
amended complaint all of the claims the plaintiff believes he
has against the core defendants, and should name any
additional defendants who were involved in the events that
gave rise to his claims against the core defendants. The
plaintiff should be careful not to name additional defendants
who had no involvement in the events giving rise to claims
against the core defendants. Such claims would be
“unrelated, ” and under the rules, he cannot sue
those “unrelated” defendants in the same suit
with related defendants.
the court is giving the plaintiff the opportunity to file an
amended complaint in Case No. 16-cv-1318 that incorporates
all of his related claims and defendants, the court will deny
his motions to consolidate. If the plaintiff chooses to file
an amended complaint and is able to properly join all of his
claims from Case Nos. 16-cv-1319 and 16-cv-1320 into Case NO.
16-cv-1318, the plaintiff then should file, in Case Nos.
16-cv-1319 and 16-cv-1320, motions to voluntarily dismiss
those two cases. See Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 41 (a
plaintiff may voluntarily dismiss an action without a court
order if he files a notice of dismissal before the opposing
party serves an answer or motion for summary judgment).
the other hand, there are claims or defendants in those two
cases that the plaintiff cannot properly join in his amended
complaint in Case No. 16-cv-1318, the plaintiff will also
have to file amended complaints in Case Nos. 16-cv-1319 and
16-cv-1320. In those amended complaints, he may bring only
the claims he couldn't bring in Case No. 16-cv-1318, and
may name only those defendants he could not join in Case No.
16-cv-1318. The court will set the deadlines for filing these
amended complaints at the end of this order.
Plaintiff's Motions to Proceed without Prepayment of the
the plaintiff was a prisoner when he filed his lawsuits, the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies. The PLRA allows
a prisoner plaintiff to proceed with a lawsuit without
prepaying the case filing fee, as long as he meets certain
conditions. One of those conditions is that he pay an initial
partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. §1915(b).
court entered an order in each of the three cases requiring
the plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee. In all
three cases, the plaintiff responded with a motion asking the
court to waive the initial partial filing fee. Despite these
motions, the plaintiff then paid the initial partial filing
fee in Case Nos. 16-cv-1318 and ...