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Haywood v. Streekstra

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

October 16, 2019

WILL HAYWOOD, Plaintiff,
v.
CHEF STREEKSTRA, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2), DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ADD PARTIES (DKT. NO. 8), SCREENING COMPLAINT UNDER 28 U.S.C. §1915A AND DISMISSING CASE

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Will Haywood, an inmate at Waupun Correctional Institution who is representing himself, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that the defendant violated his civil rights. This decision resolves the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee, dkt. no. 2, and his motion to add parties, dkt. no. 8, and screens his complaint, dkt. no. 1.

         I. Motion for Leave to Proceed without Prepaying the Filing Fee (Dkt. No. 2)

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case because the 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 then must pay the balance of the $350 filing fee over time, through deductions from his prisoner account. Id.

         On August 13, 2019, the court ordered the plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $20.40. Dkt. No. 7. A little more than a week later, the court received a payment of $50 toward the filing fee. The court will grant the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee. He must pay the remainder of the filing fee over time in the manner explained at the end of this order.

         II. Motion to Add Parties (Dkt. No. 8)

         Nearly a month after the plaintiff filed his complaint, he filed a motion to add parties. Dkt. No. 8. He would like to add “the food services administrator Ms. Wilson[, ] the security director Mr. Meli[, ] the security supervisor Mr. Lt. Immerfall and the warden” as defendants. Id. The plaintiff explains that defendant Streekstra works for Wilson, and Immerfall works for Meli, who works for the warden. Id. The plaintiff asserts that “there are a level of chain that [he] need[s] to take.” Id.

         The plaintiff has explained that he wants to add these individuals as defendants because they are supervisors. The fact that they are supervisors, on its own, is not enough for the plaintiff to state a claim against them under §1983. Section 1983 requires that an individual be personally involved in the alleged constitutional violation. Colbert v. City of Chi., 851 F.3d 649, 657 (7th Cir. 2017) (citations omitted). The only time a supervisor is liable for a subordinate's misconduct is if the supervisor directs or consents to the misconduct. Gentry v. Duckworth, 65 F.3d 555, 561 (7th Cir. 1995). For example, the supervisor “must know about the [supervisee's] conduct and facilitate it, approve it, condone it, or turn a blind eye” for fear of what the supervisor might see. Id. (quoting Jones v. City of Chi., 856 F.2d 985, 992 (7th Cir.1988)). “[S]upervisors who are merely negligent in failing to detect and prevent subordinates' misconduct are not liable.” Jones, 856 F.2d at 992.

         The court will deny the plaintiff's motion to add these defendants.

         III. Screening the Complaint

         A. Federal Screening Standard

         Under 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. §1915A(b).

         In determining whether the complaint states a claim, the court applies the same standard that it applies when considering whether to dismiss a case under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Cesal v. Moats, 851 F.3d 714, 720 (7th Cir. 2017) (citing Booker-El v. Superintendent, Ind. State Prison, 668 F.3d 896, 899 (7th Cir. 2012)). To state a claim, a complaint must include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint must contain enough facts, accepted as true, to “state a claim for relief 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).

         To state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. §1983, a plaintiff must allege that someone deprived him of a right secured by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, and that whoever deprived him of that right was acting under the color of state law. D.S. v. E. Porter Cty. Sch. Corp., 799 F.3d 793, 798 (7th Cir. 2015) (citing Buchanan-Moore v. Cty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009)). The court construes liberally complaints filed by plaintiffs who are representing themselves and holds such complaints to a ...


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