United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
BARBARA B. CRABB District Judge.
plaintiff Michael Johnson is incarcerated at the Green Bay
Correctional Institution. He filed this proposed civil action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, contending that staff at the
institution violated his rights under the First, Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments in various ways. Because plaintiff is
incarcerated, his complaint must be screened under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. Also before the court is plaintiff's motion
for temporary injunctive relief. Dkt. #9.
cannot conduct the required screening because plaintiff's
complaint violates Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Rule 20 prohibits litigants from bringing
unrelated claims against different defendants in a single
action. As explained in more detail below, plaintiff's
complaint contains four, unrelated lawsuits against various
defendants. Accordingly, plaintiff must choose which lawsuit
he wishes to pursue as Case No. 18-cv-184- bbc. Once
plaintiff has made his selection, I will then screen the
relevant claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The other,
unrelated claims will be dismissed without prejudice, which
means that plaintiff may bring them in new, separate
lawsuits. Plaintiff's motion for temporary injunctive
relief will be denied.
Civ. P. 20 prohibits a plaintiff from asserting unrelated
claims against different defendants or sets of defendants in
the same lawsuit. Multiple defendants may not be joined in a
single action unless the plaintiff: (1) asserts at least one
claim to relief against each defendant that arises out of the
same transaction or occurrence or series of transactions or
occurrences; and (2) presents questions of law or fact common
to all. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir.
2007). Plaintiff's complaint includes many claims against
different defendants concerning retaliation for refusing to
cooperate with prison investigations and for filing inmate
complaints, deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of
serious harm, due process violations in three different
disciplinary hearings, the denial of telephone communication
with his family and friends, the conditions of confinement in
segregation and the denial of certain religious items
necessary to practice his Muslim faith.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 18 allows a party to join unrelated claims
against defendants in a single suit, this rule applies only
after Rule 20's requirements for joinder of parties have
been satisfied. Intercon Research Association, Ltd. v.
Dresser Industries, Inc., 696 F.2d 53, 57 (7th Cir.
1983). This means that the core set of allowable defendants
must be determined under Rule 20 before a plaintiff may join
additional unrelated claims against one or more of those same
defendants under Rule 18. Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a).
Rules 18 and 20 to plaintiff's complaint, his allegations
may be grouped into three possible, separate lawsuits
consisting of the following claims:
#1: Plaintiff's claims that defendant Van Lanen
was deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's conditions of
confinement in segregation, including continuous noise from a
group of inmates called the “cranks, ” poor air
quality from the staff's daily use of tear gas in the
unit and the lack of an inside recreation area.
#2: Plaintiff's claims that several defendants
retaliated against him in the following ways for refusing to
cooperate in the investigation and reduction of gang violence
in the prison or for complaining about the retaliation:
(1) issuing plaintiff three conduct reports (##2902164,
2942095 and 2922533) for which he received three separate
disciplinary hearings, during which he did not receive due
process and was sentenced to significant periods of
(2) falsely accusing plaintiff of ordering gang hits, which
placed him at a substantial risk of serious harm from other
inmates and staff;
(3) demoting plaintiff's ranking in the behavior
modification step program, which deprived him of certain
(4) monitoring plaintiff's mail.
#3: Plaintiff's claim that a policy instituted
by defendant Security Director Kind and approved by defendant
Warden Eckstein denied him access to his religious ...