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Moore v. Rozmarynoski

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

October 10, 2017

RODNEY C. MOORE, Plaintiff,
v.
SGT. ROZMARYNOSKI, MR. CROMWELL, SGT. LENNOE, SGT. WALLACE, and CO GONNERING, Defendants.

         ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2), DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL (DKT. NO. 8), DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (DKT. NO. 10), AND DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT ON OR BEFORE NOVEMBER 10, 2017

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The plaintiff is a state prisoner who is representing himself. He filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that the defendants violated his constitutional rights by turning on and leaving on unnecessary bright lights near the plaintiff's cell. Dkt. No. 1. The plaintiff also filed a motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee, dkt. no. 2, a motion to appoint counsel, dkt. no. 8, and a motion for a temporary restraining order, dkt. no. 10. The plaintiff also has filed a number of letters, updates, and other documents. This order resolves the plaintiff's motions and directs the plaintiff to file one, comprehensive amended complaint.

         I. Motion for Leave to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case because the plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed his complaint. 28 U.S.C. §1915. The PLRA allows a court to give an incarcerated plaintiff the ability to proceed with his lawsuit without prepaying the case filing fee, as long as he meets certain conditions. One of those conditions is that the plaintiff pay an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. §1915(b).

         On March 30, 2017, the court ordered the plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $3.61, dkt. no. 14, and the court received the fee on April 12, 2017. Accordingly, the court will grant the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee. The court will require the plaintiff to pay the remainder of the filing fee over time as set forth at the end of this decision.

         II. Screening the Plaintiff's Complaint

         The law requires the court to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 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).

         In addition to his original sworn complaint, the plaintiff has submitted at least fifteen additional letters and documents, asserting new allegations against the defendants and describing continuing developments in the situation regarding the wall lights. Dkt. Nos. 7-10, 12, 15-24. The court will not consider piecemeal submissions and amendments to the complaint. In order for the court to consider all of the plaintiff's claims, the plaintiff must file one, comprehensive amended complaint containing all of his allegations.

         If the plaintiff wants to proceed on all of the claims and allegations he has raised in his various letters and updates and other documents, he must file an amended complaint-a single document-containing all of his allegations against the defendants. The plaintiff must file that amended complaint in time for the court to receive it by November 10, 2017. If the plaintiff does not file an amended complaint by the deadline, the court will assume that he no longer wishes to prosecute the case, and will dismiss the case based on his failure to diligently pursue it. See Civil L.R. 41(c).

         The court is enclosing a copy of its complaint form and instructions. The plaintiff should write the word “AMENDED” in front of the word “COMPLAINT” at the top of the first page, and then put the case number for this case-17-cv-122-in the field for “Case Number.” He must list all of the defendants in the title of the complaint. He must use the spaces on pages two and three to list all the claims he wishes to bring, and to describe which defendants he believes committed the violations that relate to each claim. If the space is not enough, he may use additional sheets of paper (putting page numbers on each additional page). The amended complaint takes the place of the prior complaint; it must be complete in itself, and should not instruct the court to look back at the prior complaint for reference. See Duda v. Bd. of Educ. of Franklin Park Pub. Sch. Dist. No. 84, 133 F.3d 1054, 1056-57 (7th Cir. 1998). If the plaintiff files the amended complaint by the deadline, the court will screen it under 28 U.S.C. §1915A.

         III. Motion to Appoint Counsel

         At the end of a four-page document containing information regarding his claims and his trust account, the plaintiff asks the court to appoint counsel to help him with this case. Dkt. No. 8 at 4. He attached a letter he received from an attorney declining to represent him. Dkt. No. 8-1 at 1-2. The plaintiff indicates that he has been harassed by staff for over ten years, has had his head split open and that other inmates have been hired by staff to harm the plaintiff. Dkt. No. 8 at 4. The plaintiff argues that the use of the lights is another example of how staff does things. Id. He also says that he has three years left, that a doctor tried to kill him at GBCI in 2015, and that it hasn't been the same since. Id.

         In a civil case, the court has discretion to decide whether to recruit a lawyer for someone who cannot afford one. Navejar v. Iyola, 718 F.3d 692, 696 (7th Cir. 2013); 28 U.S.C § 1915(e)(1); Ray v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., 706 F.3d 864, 866-67 (7th Cir. 2013). First, however, the person has to make a reasonable effort to hire private counsel on their own. Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 653 (7th Cir. 2007). After the plaintiff makes that reasonable attempt to hire counsel, the court then must decide “whether the difficulty of the case - factually and legally - exceeds the particular plaintiff's capacity as a layperson to coherently present it.” Navejar, 718 F.3d at 696 (citing Pruitt, 503 F.3d at 655). To decide that, the court looks, not only at the plaintiff's ability ...


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