United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
TONY D. WALKER, Plaintiff,
STATE OF WISCONSIN, et al., Defendants.
ADELMAN United States District Judge.
Tony D. Walker filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that defendants violated his constitutional rights.
Docket No. 1. Plaintiff also filed a motion for leave to
proceed without prepayment of the filing fee. Docket No. 2.
Before deciding plaintiff's motion, I will require him to
file an amended complaint.
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this action
because plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed his
complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. That law allows me to give
an incarcerated plaintiff the ability to proceed with his
lawsuit without prepaying the civil case filing fee, as long
as he meets certain conditions. However, if a prisoner files
more than three actions or appeals that are dismissed as
frivolous or malicious or for failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted, he will be prohibited from
bringing an action without prepaying the full filing fee
unless he is in imminent danger of serious physical injury.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). This is commonly known as the
“three-strikes” provision, because a prisoner is
said to have struck out once he has accrued three dismissals
under this rule.
plaintiff has three-strikes for having filed a combination of
four actions and appeals that were dismissed as frivolous or
malicious or for failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. See Walker v. Dept. of Corr., et
al., No. 96-cv-753 (W.D. Wis.); Walker v.
Hamblin, No. 13-2796 (7th Cir.) (two strikes);
Walker v. Wall, No. 13-cv-3 (E.D. Wis.). Thus,
plaintiff will be required under the PLRA to prepay the
entire $400 filing fee before he may proceed with his case,
unless he is in imminent danger of serious physical injury.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
complaint in its current state, however, has made it
difficult to discern whether he has stated a claim that meets
this requirement. Under the federal notice pleading system, a
plaintiff must provide a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief[.]”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff does not need to plead
every fact supporting his claims; he only has to “give
the defendant fair notice of what the…claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
is a reason that the rule specifies a “short and
plain” statement. “[L]ength may make a complaint
unintelligible, by scattering and concealing in a morass of
irrelevancies the few allegations that matter.”
Ladamovas v. Stevens, 706 F.3d 843, 844 (7th Cir.
2013) (quoting U.S. ex rel. Garst, 328 F.3d 374, 378
(7th Cir. 2003)).
case, plaintiff's complaint consists of 64 handwritten
pages of over 300 paragraphs of factual and legal assertions,
not to mention the over 60 varying requests for relief.
Docket. No. 1. As the Seventh Circuit indicated in
Ladamovas, if plaintiff has included factual
allegations that have merit, they are buried in pages and
pages of conclusions, allegations, and excessive and
not only is the complaint long and wordy, but it appears to
contain allegations of different kinds of injuries allegedly
committed by different groups of defendants over the span of
approximately thirteen years. Plaintiff appears to allege
that three correctional institutions, the health services
units of those institutions, at least 51 individual
defendants (not including the John and Jane Does), and even
the Wisconsin Department of Corrections as a whole failed in
some way to adequately address his chronic illnesses. For
example, he complains about the height of a commode at one
institution, the inadequate treatment provided him by several
nurses regarding shoes at another institution, and the
failure of several other nurses at another institution in not
putting his name on the list for chronic conditions.
Civ. P. 18(a) allows a plaintiff to “put in one
complaint every claim of any kind against a single defendant,
” but a plaintiff may “present claim #1 against
Defendant A, and claim #2 against Defendant B, only if both
claims arise ‘out of the same transaction, occurrence,
or series of transactions or occurrences.' Rule
20(a)(2)(A).” Wheeler v. Wexford Health Sources,
Inc., 689 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2012). In other words,
“[a] litigant cannot throw all of his grievances,
against dozens of different parties, into one stewpot.”
Id. (citing George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605
(7th Cir. 2007)).
appears to have done what the Seventh Circuit, and Rules 18
and 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, state that he
cannot do. He sues approximately 81 different entities and
individuals, trying to state claims that arise out of
different circumstances and events. While I understand that
plaintiff may have come into contact with all of the
defendants as a result of his incarceration, that is not a
sufficient basis for the court to conclude that his claims
are all related or that there are questions of law and fact
common to all of the defendants.
this case goes any further, the court will require plaintiff
to file an amended complaint, by April 13,
2018, that complies with Fed.R.Civ.P. 8, 18 and 20.
The amended complaint must provide a “simple, concise,
and direct” statement of his claims. Bennett v.
Schmidt, 153 F.3d 516, 518 (7th Cir. 1998). Plaintiff
does not need to include every detail giving rise to his
claim(s); he has to provide only enough facts that will allow
me to reasonably infer that defendants did what plaintiff
alleges they did. Plaintiff must be careful to choose from
among his many claims only those claims that are related to
one another and that arise out of the same underlying
circumstances or events.
plaintiff considers which claims to include in his amended
complaint, he should remember that “[p]ublic officials
do not have a free-floating obligation to put things to
rights.” Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 595
(7th Cir. 2009). This is because “public employees are
responsible for their own misdeeds but not for anyone
else's.” Id. Denying a prisoner's
complaint or agreeing with another employee's
recommendation on an inmate complaint does not itself violate
a prisoner's constitutional rights, nor does it make a
person liable for the alleged misconduct of another person.
See id. In other words, plaintiff should name as
defendants only those individuals who were personally
involved in or responsible for the alleged constitutional
enclosing with this order a guide for pro se
prisoners that explains how to file a complaint that I can
effectively screen. I will also include a copy of the guide
entitled, “Answers to Prisoner Litigants' Common
Questions” and a blank prisoner complaint form that
plaintiff is required to use to file his amended complaint.
See Civil L. R. 9 (E.D. Wis.). If, after crafting
his allegations in clear, concise, “who, what, when,
where, why” language, plaintiff believes he needs more
space than is provided in the form complaint, he may attach a
maximum of three handwritten pages or five typed,
double-spaced pages. If plaintiff ...