United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge
Shane Ryan Gage, who is currently serving a state prison
sentence at Oshkosh Correctional Institution and representing
himself, filed a pro se civil rights complaint under
42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his civil rights were
violated. This matter comes before the court on
Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepaying
the full filing fee. Plaintiff is required to pay the $350.00
statutory filing fee for this action. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). If a prisoner does not have the money to
pay the filing fee, he can request leave to proceed without
prepayment of the full filing fee. Plaintiff has filed a
certified copy of his prison trust account statement for the
six-month period immediately preceding the filing of his
complaint, as required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2).
Though Plaintiff has been assessed an initial partial filing
fee of $2.27, it appears Plaintiff lacks the funds to pay the
initial partial filing fee. Therefore, the court waives the
initial partial filing fee and grants Plaintiff's motion
for leave to proceed without prepayment of the full filing
court is required 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 or portion thereof if the
prisoner has raised 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). A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992); Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Hutchinson ex
rel. Baker v. Spink, 126 F.3d 895, 900 (7th Cir. 1997).
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter “that
is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The court accepts
the factual allegations as true and liberally construes them
in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729
F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 2013). Nevertheless, the complaint
allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (citation omitted).
21-page complaint names 35 defendants from three separate
correctional institutions asserting a variety of alleged
injustices, including numerous retaliation and due process
claims. Based on the court's reading of the complaint, it
appears Plaintiff is attempting to improperly bring unrelated
claims in a single case. As instructed by the Seventh Circuit
Court of Appeals, under the controlling principle of Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a), “[u]nrelated claims
against different defendants belong in different suits”
so as 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 Cir. 2007).
Specifically, Rule 18(a) provides that “[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). Under this rule, “multiple 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.
the court in George reminded district courts that
Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure applies as
much to prisoner cases as it does to any other case.
Id. Under Rule 20, joinder of multiple defendants
into one action 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.
court finds that the complaint violates Rules 18 and 20
insofar as it advances unrelated claims against multiple
defendants. The George court instructed that such
“buckshot complaints” should be
“rejected.” 507 F.3d at 607. Therefore, the court
will strike the original complaint submitted on February 14,
2018. If the plaintiff wants to proceed, he must file an
amended complaint curing the deficiencies in the original
complaint as described herein. Such amended complaint must be
filed on or before April 1, 2018. Failure to file an amended
complaint within this time period may result in dismissal of
plaintiff is advised that the amended complaint must bear the
docket number assigned to this case and must be labeled
“Amended Complaint.” The amended complaint
supersedes the prior complaint and must be complete in itself
without reference to the original complaint. See Duda v.
Bd. of Educ. of Franklin Park Pub. Sch. Dist. No. 84,
133 F.3d 1054, 1056 (7th Cir. 1998). In Duda, the
appellate court emphasized that in such instances, the
“prior pleading is in effect withdrawn as to all
matters not restated in the amended pleading.”
Id. at 1057 (citation omitted).
amended complaint is received, it will become the operative
complaint in this action, and the court will screen it in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
the plaintiff is advised that 42 U.S.C. § 1983
“creates a cause of action based on personal liability
and predicated upon fault; thus liability does not attach
unless the individual defendant caused or participated in a
constitutional violation.” Vance v. Peters, 97
F.3d 987, 991 (7th Cir. 1996). Moreover, the doctrine of
respondeat superior (supervisory liability) does not apply to
actions filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Pacelli v.
deVito, 972 F.2d 871, 877 (7th Cir. 1992). Section 1983
does not create collective or vicarious responsibility.
Id. Thus, with respect to any claim or claims
advanced in his amended complaint, plaintiff must identify
the individual defendants and specify the manner in which
their actions, or failure to take action, violated his
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion for
leave top proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2) is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion to
use funds from his release account to pay the initial partial
filing fee (ECF No. 11) is DENIED as moot.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the complaint submitted on
February 14, 2018 be and the same is hereby
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff is directed to
file an amended complaint on or before April 1,
2018, which contains only ...