United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
SCREENING ORDER (DISMISS WITH LEAVE TO
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge United States District
Travis Delaney Williams, an inmate confined at the Wisconsin
Secure Program Facility, filed a pro se complaint under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the defendants violated his
constitutional rights. This order resolves Plaintiff’s
motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee
and his motion for preliminary injunction and screens his
Motion for Leave to Proceed without Prepaying the Filing
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case
because Plaintiff was a prisoner when he filed his complaint.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(h). The PLRA allows the
court to give a prisoner plaintiff the ability to proceed
with his case without prepaying the civil case filing fee. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2). When funds exist, the prisoner must
pay an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(1). He must then pay the balance of the $350 filing
fee over time, through deductions from his prisoner account.
August 30, 2019, the court waived Plaintiff’s
obligation to pay an initial partial filing fee. ECF No. 10.
The court will grant Plaintiff’s motion for leave to
proceed without prepaying the filing fee. He must pay the
entire $350 filing fee over time in the manner explained at
the end of this order.
Screening the Complaint
the PLRA, the court must screen complaints brought by
prisoners seeking relief from a governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint if the
prisoner raises 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. §
state a claim 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 should not 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)). There is a reason that
the rule specifies a “short and plain” statement.
“Rule 8(a) requires parties to make their pleadings
straightforward, so that judges and adverse parties need not
try to fish a gold coin from a bucket of mud.” U.S.
ex rel. Garst v. Lockheed-Martin Corp., 328 F.3d 374,
378 (7th Cir. 2003). “[L]ength may make a complaint
unintelligible, by scattering and concealing in a morass of
irrelevancies the few allegations that matter.”
Kadamovas v. Stevens, 706 F.3d 843, 844 (7th Cir.
2013) (quoting U.S. ex rel. Garst, 328 F.3d 374, 378
(7th Cir. 2003)). “District judges are busy, and
therefore have a right to dismiss a complaint that is so long
that it imposes an undue burden on the judge, to the
prejudice of other litigants seeking the judge’s
complaint is 250 handwritten pages. ECF No. 1. He names sixty
defendants and incorporates by reference more than 100 pages
of exhibits. As the Seventh Circuit observed in
Kadamovas, if Plaintiff has included meritorious
factual allegations, they are buried in pages and pages of
conclusions, allegations, and excessive and unnecessary
only is the complaint long and wordy, but, as best the court
can tell, it contains allegations of different kinds of
injuries allegedly committed by different groups of
defendants over several years. Fed.R.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). Further, 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. 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)).
has done what the Seventh Circuit and Rules 18 and 20 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure state that he cannot do. He
tries to state claims, which are against dozens of people,
that arise out of different circumstances and events over a
long period of time. The mere fact that Plaintiff came into
contact with the people he sues during his incarceration or
as a result of his physical disabilities is not a sufficient
basis for the court to conclude that his claims are all
related or that there are common questions of law and fact.
court will allow Plaintiff to file an amended complaint 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). The amended
complaint should “avoid a rambling, incoherent
complaint.” Ford v. Flannery, No. 2-07-CV-267,
2008 WL 821686, *2 (N.D. Ind. March 26, 2008). Plaintiff
should not include every detail giving rise to his claim(s);
he should provide only enough facts that the court can
reasonably infer that the people he sues 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. at 596. Accordingly,
Plaintiff should name only those individuals who were
personally involved in or responsible for the alleged
constitutional violation. 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.
court will include a blank prisoner complaint form with this
order, which the court will require Plaintiff to use.
See Civil L. R. 9(b) (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, he may attach a maximum
of ten handwritten pages. Plaintiff is an experienced