United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING
FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2) AND SCREENING PLAINTIFF'S
PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dennis Strong, who is representing himself, filed a complaint
on alleging that the defendants violated his civil rights
under 42 U.S.C. §1983 when they retaliated against him
for making complaints against prison staff and sexually
harassed him. This order resolves the plaintiff's motion
to proceed without prepaying the filing fee and screens his
complaint. A. Motion to Proceed without Prepaying the
Filing Fee The Prison Litigation Reform Act applies to
this case because the plaintiff was incarcerated when he
filed his complaint. 28 U.S.C. §1915. That law allows a
court to give an incarcerated plaintiff the ability to
proceed with his case without prepaying the civil case filing
fee if he meets certain conditions. One of those conditions
is that the plaintiff pay an initial partial filing fee. 28
U.S.C. §1915(b). Once the plaintiff pays the initial
partial filing fee, the court may allow the plaintiff to pay
the balance of the $350 filing fee over time, through
deductions from his prisoner account. Id.
April 4, 2019, the court ordered the plaintiff to pay an
initial partial filing fee of $0.52 by April 25, 2019. Dkt.
No. 6. The court received $1.00 from the plaintiff on April
15, 2019. The court will grant the plaintiff's motion for
leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee, and
allow him to pay the remainder of the filing fee over time in
the manner explained at the end of this order. B.
Screening of the Complaint Federal law requires the
court 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 part of the complaint, 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).
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).
proceed under 42 U.S.C. §1983, a plaintiff must allege
that: 1) he was deprived of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States; and 2) the
defendant was acting under color of state law.
Buchanan-Moore v. Cty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824,
827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Vill. of N. Fond du
Lac, 384 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also
Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The court
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,
Allegations in the Complaint
he was convicted in March 2018, the plaintiff went to Dodge
Correctional Institution. Dkt. No. 1-1 at 1. A few months
later, he was transferred to Red Granite Correctional
Institution. Id. The plaintiff alleges that once he
was transferred to Red Granite, defendant Security Captain
Terry Sawall put him in solitary confinement “as an
alleged subsequent result of a pending investigation into
plaintiff . . . and several other inmates to have filed
reports of staff misconduct” at the prison.
Id. at 2. The plaintiff alleges that while he was in
solitary, someone gave him Form DOC-78A, “Summary of
Confidential Informant Statements” “which
original statements [the plaintiff] had been advised were
reduced to affidavit form with a swearing to an oath thereof
before a notary public.” Id. at 2. The court
is not sure what this means, but the plaintiff attached the
document to which he refers; it appears to contain statements
from three un-named inmates indicating that the plaintiff
attempted to induce them to make false claims of staff
misconduct and to make false claims under the Prison Rape
Elimination Act. Dkt. No. 1-2. The plaintiff swears under
oath that the statements in the Summary of Confidential
Informant Statements “are untruthful.” Dkt. No.
1-3. The plaintiff says, however, that the Summary of
Confidential Informant Statements was used to start a
disciplinary action against him. Dkt. No. 1-1 at 2.
plaintiff alleges that there was a disciplinary hearing on
October 12, 2018. Id. at 3. He says that at the
hearing, “Defendant Sawall testified to have generated
the confidential informant affidavits after conducting
interviews of  unidentified inmates labeled as
confidential informants #1, #2 and #3 in the [DOC 78-A] form
Summary of Confidential Informant Statements document.”
Id. The plaintiff alleges that Sawall took
“deliberate and intentional actions to undermine the
accurate and truthful findings to the staff misconduct
complained of by plaintiff . . . and other inmates, ”
and that Sawall had “generated disingenuous and
untruthful documentation in an effort to conceal wrongdoing
of state actors.” Id. He alleges that Sawall
“knowingly and strategically” elicited the
statements “to be false in an effort to obstruct,
impeded, frustrate and undermine the integrity of an
investigation into bona fide complaints of multiple state
employees to have violated” federal laws and
regulations, and that Sawall did this to punish the plaintiff
for having filed the complaints against these multiple
employees. Id. at 4. The plaintiff says that on
October 12, 2018, he was found guilty of “lying about
an employee.” Id. at 3.
plaintiff alleges that ten days later, on October 22, 2018,
he swore in an affidavit before a notary public that the
statements contained in the Summary of Confidential
Statements were untruthful. Id. at 4. He alleges
that he submitted the affidavit to defendant Michael Meisner,
warden at Red Granite, along with an appeal of the finding of
guilt from the disciplinary hearing. Id. at 5. On
November 12, 2018, defendant Meisner affirmed the results of
the plaintiff's disciplinary action. Id.
days before Meisner denied the plaintiff's appeal, the
plaintiff was transferred to Racine Correctional Institution.
Id. at 6. The plaintiff states that because of the
disciplinary action, he was placed in solitary confinement at
Racine and that he remained there until February 1, 2019.
Id. He does not identify the Racine staff member who
ordered in placed in solitary.
at Racine, plaintiff alleges that three corrections officers
subjected him to sexual misconduct and harassment.
Id. He states that in December 2018, a female
corrections officer whom he identifies as Jane Doe approached
his cell in solitary confinement and told him the following
joke: “What is the difference between a snowman and a
snowwoman? Snowballs.” Id. The plaintiff
considered this a specific reference to the “private
body parts of the male gender.” Id. The
plaintiff alleges that during a routine medical pass that
same month, a male corrections officer described as John Doe
#1 told the plaintiff that “a topical skin care
hydrating ointment [was] being provided to plaintiff . . . by
HSU medical staff for the purpose of use for plaintiff . . .
to masturbate.” Id. at 7. Finally, the
plaintiff alleges that in January 2019, another male
corrections officer described as John Doe #2 asked the
plaintiff if he had some Vaseline, and then proceeded to give
him a copy of “Hustler, ” a pornographic
magazine. Id. at 7-8. The plaintiff states that the
actions of John Doe #2 violated prison policy and Wis.Stat.
§302.095 and constituted a “class I felony”
under Wisconsin state law. Id. at 8.
plaintiff asserts that there was a “socially acceptable
and cultural norm at [RCI] of the above actions of each
correctional officers.” Id. at 9. He also
alleges that there was “failure to adequately train and
intervene to prevent such actions, ” and says that he
has named the Racine warden, Paul Kemper, as a defendant for
that reason. Id. He indicates that he has sued the
State of Wisconsin and the Department of Corrections for
allowing such a widespread culture of sexual harassment.
Id. at 10. He indicates that all the defendants
violated his Eight Amendment right to be free from cruel and
unusual punishment, id. at 9-10, and that Meisner
and Sawall violated his First Amendment and due process
rights by retaliating against him for reporting staff
misconduct, id. at 10. The plaintiff seeks $110,
000, 000 in compensatory damages and $110, 000, 000 in
punitive damages, totaling $220, 000, 000, for the alleged
retaliation and sexual harassment. Id. at 11. He
also asks the court to overturn the result of his
disciplinary action. Id. at 12.
plaintiff's complaint makes claims arising out of two,
separate events that occurred at different times in different
places-(1) he claims that Sawall and Meisner caused him to be
placed into solitary confinement at Red Granite in
retaliation for his filing complaints of staff misconduct
(and that this also caused him to be placed in solitary after
he was transferred to Racine) and (2) that the other
defendants subjected him to sexual harassment at Racine. The
plaintiff has brought unrelated claims in a single case.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a), a plaintiff may
bring multiple claims in a single complaint if he brings
those claims against the same party. Under Rule 18(a),
“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 v.
Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). Under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2), a plaintiff can sue multiple
defendants in the same complaint only if he asserts the same
claim against all of them, or if “any question of law
or fact common to all ...