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Rivers v. Armor Correctional Staff

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

August 7, 2017

DESHIREO TYVEONCE RIVERS, Plaintiff,
v.
ARMOR CORRECTIONAL STAFF, ARMOR DENTAL STAFF, and ARAMARK KITCHEN SERVICES, Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER SCREENING THE COMPLAINT (DKT. NO. 1)

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The plaintiff filed a complaint on March 30, 2017, alleging that the defendants violated his constitutional rights. Dkt. No. 1. Less than a month after the court received the complaint, the court received a letter from the plaintiff, asking whether he could amend his complaint and asking the court to explain the process for doing so. Dkt. No. 7. The court provided the plaintiff with information about amending complaints, and told him that, if he wanted to amend his complaint, he needed to send the amended complaint to the court by June 30, 2017. Dkt. No. 8. The court also told the plaintiff that if it did not receive an amended complaint by the deadline, the court would screen his original complaint. Id.

         Four days before the deadline, the court received another letter from the plaintiff. Dkt. No. 9. This letter asked the court to disregard the plaintiff's previous request that he be allowed to file an amended complaint, and asked the court to screen his original complaint. Id.

         I. Screening the Plaintiff's Complaint

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act applies to this case because the plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed the complaint. 28 U.S.C. §1915. That law requires courts to screen complaints to identify whether the plaintiff states viable claims. 28 U.S.C. §1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint if the plaintiff raises claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §1915A(b).

         To state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, “that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows a court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         To proceed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: 1) he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and 2) the defendant was acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore v. County of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Village of North Fond du Lac, 384 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The court gives a pro se plaintiff's allegations, “however inartfully pleaded, ” a liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a), “[u]nrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits, ” to prevent prisoners from dodging the fee payment or three strikes provisions in the PLRA. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). “A party asserting a claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, or third-party claim may join, as independent or alternate claims, as many claims as it has against an opposing party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a). “[M]ultiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2.” George, 507 F.3d at 607. Joinder of multiple defendants into one case is proper only if “any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising 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” Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2).

         A. The Court's Analysis

         The plaintiff named three defendants in his complaint-Armor Correctional Staff (whom he also refers to as Armor Correctional Services), Armor Dental Staff, and Aramark Kitchen Services (which he also calls Aramark Food Services). Dkt. No. 1 at 1.

         The plaintiff first alleges that, while at the Milwaukee County Jail, he showed the dentist a tooth that hurt. Dkt. No. 1 at 2. The dentist allegedly told the plaintiff that he would pull the tooth, but, according to the plaintiff, the dentist pulled the wrong tooth. Id. A few weeks later, the plaintiff's gum continued to hurt and he could feel chipped tooth fragments in his gum. Id. at 3. The plaintiff believes that the dentist extracted only half of his tooth, but he states that, because he is afraid, he refused further dental services. Id. The court will refer to these allegations as Case #1.

         Next, the plaintiff alleges that his meals are served to him on old, plastic trays that are chipped and damaged. Id. at 2-3. The plaintiff states that he often has to pick plastic chips from the trays out of his food. Id. at 3. The plaintiff states that this is a violation of Wisconsin food regulations. Id. The court will refer to these allegations as Case #2.

         Finally, the plaintiff alleges that in late December 2016, he was suffering from heat exhaustion and tooth aches. Id. He states that he passed out in his cell, and that when he came to, at about 9:30 p.m., he pushed his emergency call button. Id. He states that Armor Correctional Staff did not arrive at his cell until 10:42 p.m., and that during the intervening time, he could have passed out or had a seizure or died. Id. When the staff arrived, they checked his vitals, accused him of lying, and threatened to charge him for the call. Id. The court will refer to these allegations as Case #3.

         B. The ...


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