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Adams v. Tegels

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

October 24, 2019

PAUL ALLEN ADAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN TEGELS, HSU MANAGER MAASSEN, NP TIDQUIST, HULSTEIN, HENTZ, KIMPEL, and PRALLE, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JAMES D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pro se plaintiff Paul Allen Adams, an inmate at Chippewa Valley Treatment Facility, is proceeding on Eighth Amendment medical care claims based on his allegations that he was denied medically necessary “modified diet” meals by staff at Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI), where he was formerly incarcerated. This opinion addresses two issues: (1) Adams's motions alleging that he is being retaliated against and indicating that he wants to amend his complaint (Dkt. 22; Dkt. 51; Dkt 53); and (2) the default entered against defendant Lin Kimpel, Dkt. 32, which she has moved to set aside, Dkt. 41.

         For reasons explained below, I will deny Adams's motions and grant defendant Kimpel's motion to set aside the default. The case will proceed against all currently named defendants on the merits.

         ANALYSIS

         A. Allegations of retaliation and inquiries about amending the complaint

         Adams has filed three motions related to his allegations that he is experiencing retaliation: (1) a letter alleging that he is being retaliated against, Dkt. 22; (2) a motion for clarification about amending the complaint, Dkt. 51; and (3) a motion for leave to amend the complaint by joining additional defendants, Dkt. 53.

         1. Letter alleging retaliation (Dkt. 22)

         In a letter filed in April, Adams alleges that defendants and health service unit (HSU) records personnel are retaliating against him for “writing HSU concerning his medical needs.” Dkt. 22, at 1. Specifically, he contends that defendants are “knowingly and intentionally d[e]stroying medical documents concerning [his] claim and/or keeping them from Adams, ” as well as “manipulating medical diagnoses, medical test[s], falsifying medical exams and threat[en]ing Adams with dis[c]iplinary action.” Id. at 1. He says that Ms. La Bar, an HSU records custodian, has threatened to send Adams to segregation for writing health service requests, and that defendant Hulstein, a nurse, fabricated a conduct report accusing him of stalking for the same reason.

         Adams has not followed this court's procedures for obtaining preliminary injunctive relief, the specifics of which I explained to him in my screening order. See Dkt. 15, at 6-7. And based on statements he makes in his letter, it does not appear that he is seeking injunctive relief at this time. See Dkt. 22, at 4-5 (asserting that although he “wants to” file a motion for injunctive relief, he is “very fearful” that he will be retaliated against if he does so). That raises the question what relief Adams is seeking in his letter. The answer is not clear.

         Perhaps Adams wishes to amend his complaint to add new claims against new or existing defendants. If that is his intention, he must follow the instructions in the pretrial conference order by filing a motion for leave to amend his complaint along with a supplement to his original complaint listing the factual allegations he wishes to add. Dkt. 36, at 4. (Adams should be aware that I will not grant him leave to proceed on claims that he is being retaliated against for filing this suit, as explained further below.) Alternatively, if Adams wishes to file a motion for injunctive relief, he should submit proposed findings of fact regarding the underlying events that have given rise to his need for an injunction, along with any evidence that supports those proposed findings of fact. Because it is not clear what relief Adams is seeking in his letter, I will deny it without prejudice to Adams refiling a motion that more clearly explains his requests.

         2. Motion for clarification (Dkt. 51)

         In August, Adams filed a “motion for clarification on amending complaint, ” in which he says that he “had written this court a month ago, and asked if he had to completely amend his complaint to make a retaliation claim against one of the defendants Hulst[e]in, who retaliated against Adams after he filed his complaint.” Dkt. 51, at 1. It is not clear what prior request Adams is referring to. None of the documents Adams had filed up to that point mentioned amending the complaint, let alone allegations that Hulstein had retaliated against Adams for filing this lawsuit. (Adams's April letter to the court alleged only that Hulstein was retaliating against him for filing HSU complaints.) If Adams is confused about how to go about amending his complaint, he should refer to the instructions in the pretrial conference order. Dkt. 36, at 4. If Adams wishes to add claims, he will need to file a motion for leave to amend his complaint, along with a supplement listing the factual allegations he wishes to add to his original complaint.

         But this court generally does not allow prisoners to supplement or amend their complaints to include new claims that they have been retaliated against for filing the underlying lawsuit. See, e.g., Atkinson v. Mackinnon, No. 14-cv-736-bbc, 2015 WL 13658057, at *1-2 (W.D. Wis. Oct. 29, 2015) (“These types of retaliation claims risk delaying resolution of the case indefinitely while the parties litigate and conduct discovery on each discrete instance of retaliation that may occur while the lawsuit progresses.”); Fitzgerald v. Greer, No. 07-cv-61-bbc, 2007 WL 5490138, at *1 (W.D. Wis. Apr. 2, 2007) (“[A]llowing ongoing claims of retaliation to be added to a lawsuit as the lawsuit progresses could result in a lawsuit's life being extended indefinitely.”). So if Adams wishes to pursue claims against Hulstein or anyone else based on allegations of retaliation for filing this case, he will need to file a separate lawsuit.

         3. Motion for leave to amend the ...


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