United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER SCREENING PLAINTIFF'S
COMPLAINT AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO APPOINT
JOSEPH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Daniel Montanez, a prisoner who is representing himself,
filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that
the defendants violated his civil rights while he was
confined at the Milwaukee County Jail. This matter is before
me on Montanez's motions to proceed without prepayment of
the filing fee, motion to appoint counsel, and for screening
of his complaint.
to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case
because Montanez was incarcerated when he filed his
complaint. The PLRA gives courts discretion to allow
prisoners to proceed with their lawsuits without prepaying
the $350 filing fee, as long as they comply with certain
requirements. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. One of those
requirements is that the prisoner pay an initial partial
4, 2018, I ordered Montanez to pay an initial partial filing
fee of $62.00. He paid that fee on May 21, 2018. Accordingly,
I will grant his motion to proceed without prepayment of the
filing fee. Montanez must pay the remainder of the filing fee
over time in the manner explained at the end of this order.
of the Complaint
law requires that I 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).
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). I will give 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)).
improperly brings unrelated claims in a single case. First,
he alleges that defendant Armor Medical did not respond to
his complaints about defendant Nurse Practitioner Mercy's
failure to treat his severe back pain. I will refer to that
set of allegations as Case #1. Next, he alleges defendant
John Doe healthcare staff failed to address his requests for
mental health treatment. I will refer to that set of
allegations as Case #2.
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). Fed.R.Civ.P.
20(a)(2)(B) states that persons may be joined in a case as
defendants only if there are questions of law or fact common
to “all” defendants.
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. The events and defendants related to Case #1 are
distinct from the events and defendants related to Case #2.
The only thing that all of the individuals he sues have in
common is that he came into contact with them as a result of
his incarceration. That, however, is not a sufficient basis
for me to conclude that his claims are all related or that
there are questions of law or fact common to all of the
Montanez wants to proceed, he must file an amended complaint
that complies with Fed.R.Civ.P. 18 and 20. In other words, he
must pick either Case #1 or Case #2. If he wants to proceed
on both, he must do so in separate complaints. His amended
complaint must include the docket number assigned to this
case and must be labeled “Amended Complaint.” An
amended complaint will take the place of his original
complaint, so any allegations not included in the amended
complaint are, in effect, withdrawn. See Duda v. Bd. of
Educ. of Franklin Park Pub. Sch. Dist. No. 84, 133 F.3d
1054, 1056 (7th Cir. 1998). If plaintiff files an amended
complaint, it will become the operative complaint in this
case, and I will screen it in accordance with 28 U.S.C.
remind Montanez that he must include enough facts in his
amended complaint to allow me to reasonably infer that the
defendants did what he asserts they did. Legal conclusions
(such as, “she was deliberately indifferent”)
will be insufficient on their own to state a claim. His
complaint must include facts that allow me to understand who
was involved and what they did or did not do to violate his
should also 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. The mere fact that someone
denied a prisoner's complaint, or agreed with another
employee's recommendation on an inmate complaint, does
not mean that individual violated a prisoner's
constitutional rights. Employers are not liable for the
misconduct of their employees, supervisors are not liable for
the misconduct of their subordinates, and employees are not
liable for the misconduct of their co-workers. See
Id. In other words, Montanez should name as defendants
only those individuals who were personally involved in or
responsible for the alleged constitutional violation.
court is enclosing with this order a guide for pro
se prisoners that explains how to file a complaint that
the court can effectively screen. The court also will include
a blank prisoner complaint form. The court will require
Montanez to use that form 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, ...