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Kidd v. Foster

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

March 5, 2019

BRIAN FOSTER, Defendant.


          JAMES D. PETERSON, District Judge.

         Plaintiff Robert Pierre Kidd, appearing pro se, is a prisoner at the Waupun Correctional Institution. Over the past few years, Kidd has filed a dozen cases in this court, most of them having to do with how prison officials have mistreated him when they respond to his seizures. Only several of the cases are still open. In my last order concerning Kidd's cases, I allowed Kidd to voluntarily dismiss one case and I discussed the remining four, all of which were about his seizures. See Dkt. 77 in case no. 17-cv-265-jdp. Those cases are:

• 17-cv-265-jdp: Kidd alleges that in July 2016, prison staff pepper sprayed him while he was having a seizure.
• 17-cv-597-jdp: Kidd alleges that he was held down and pepper sprayed during a seizure in December 2014 even though prison officials were told not to handcuff him during seizures.
• 18-cv-313-jdp: Kidd alleges that he was billed about $540 for a correctional officer's injuries after a March 2018 incident involving another seizure.
• 18-cv-707-jdp: Kidd alleges that he was placed in segregation for having a seizure in July 2018 and that the conditions there are dangerous because of his illness.

         Throughout the litigation of these cases, Kidd alternated between saying that he wanted to combine all of his allegations together in one lawsuit-with only one filing fee-and saying that he wanted to proceed with separate lawsuits. I gave him a final chance to decide whether to combine the lawsuits by filing an amended complaint combining all of his allegations. Dkt. 77 in the '265 case, at 5-6. Otherwise I would consider his four cases separately.

         Kidd responded by filing a brand-new complaint, docketed under no. 18-cv-831-jdp, in which he refers to his allegations in three of the four cases (all but the '597 case), names WCI Warden Brian Foster as the defendant, and alleges that the “prison handbook authorize[d]” WCI officials to mistreat him. Dkt. 1 in the '831 case. He followed with a letter asking that all of his lawsuits be joined together, so I take him to be saying he wishes to join the '597 case as well. Kidd has also filed a series of motions in his various cases.

         A. New complaint

         Kidd's complaint in the '831 case has not completely fixed all of the problems with his various allegations, but he has made clear that he wants to proceed with his seizure-related claims together. And he provides allegations suggesting how all of the allegations belong together-the “handbook” policy authorizing the alleged mistreatment. So I will allow Kidd to combine the four previous cases under the '831 caption, and I will direct the clerk of court to close the four previous cases. As I stated in my last order, this means that Kidd will owe a filing fee only for the '831 case.

         Because Kidd says that he wants to join all of his cases, I take him to be saying that he wishes to continue with his individual-capacity excessive force and medical care claims against defendants Joel Sankey, Matthew Huelsman, and Jessie Schneider from the '597 case. I will direct the clerk of court to docket Kidd's complaint in the '597 case into the '831 case, and I will treat both of those complaints together as the operative complaint.

         As for his allegations from the other three cases, Kidd has failed to fix a major problem with those allegations: he does not identify which individual WCI employees harmed him or punished him for having seizures. He names Warden Foster as a defendant, but he does not actually allege that Foster had any personal involvement in the violations of his rights. So I will not allow him to proceed on any claims for money damages regarding those incidents. Kidd continues to ask for damages, but he states that he believes that he can sue the prison itself for those violations, which is incorrect.

         Because Kidd appears to continue to be mistaken about how to state “individual capacity” claims for money damages against the persons who violated his rights, I will give him a final opportunity to amend his complaint in the '831 case to include as defendants all of the individuals who participated in the various incidents he mentions in his allegations, and in subsequent seizure-related incidents he mentions in additional filings to the court. As I have previously explained to Kidd, he should state his allegations as if he were telling a story to someone who knows nothing about his allegations. I cannot allow him to proceed on claims against any individuals unless he states who they are and what they did to harm him. If Kidd does not know the identity of particular defendants, he may label them as John Doe No. 1, John Doe No. 2, and so on, and the court has procedures by which he may make discovery requests to identify those defendants. I will have defendants file an answer after Kidd responds to this order.

         Kidd also seeks injunctive relief to force an end to the mistreatment and for restoration of funds that have been deducted from his trust fund account, so I take him to be attempting to bringing claims against defendant Foster in his “official capacity.” Those types of claims are essentially claims for injunctive relief against the state itself. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166 (1985). To establish that he is entitled to injunctive relief on his official capacity claims, Kidd must show that a policy or custom of the state played a part in the alleged constitutional deprivations. Id. His allegation that “handbook” policies caused him to be mistreated is enough to meet this standard. I will allow Kidd to proceed on ...

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