United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
JOSEPH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Darnell Love, an inmate confined at Waupun Correctional
Institution, filed a pro se complaint under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that his constitutional rights
were violated. This is now before the court on Love's
motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee,
his motion to appoint counsel, and for screening of his
complaint. The court has jurisdiction to resolve Love's
motions and to screen his complaint in light of his consent
to the full jurisdiction of a magistrate judge and the
Wisconsin Department of Justice's limited consent to the
exercise of magistrate judge jurisdiction as set forth in the
Memorandum of Understanding between the Wisconsin Department
of Justice and this court.
Motion for Leave to Proceed without Prepaying the Filing
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case
because Love 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.
October 24, 2019, the court ordered Love to pay an initial
partial filing fee of $34.69. (ECF No. 8.) Love made a $40.00
payment on November 25, 2019. The court will grant Love'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.
Screening the Complaint 2.1 Federal Screening Standard
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 standard, 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). To state a claim 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
this 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)).
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20, a plaintiff is
prohibited from asserting unrelated claims against different
defendants or different sets of defendants in the same
lawsuit. The rule allows a plaintiff to join multiple
defendants in a single lawsuit only if he asserts at least
one claim against all the defendants that arises out of the
same event or incident and presents questions of law or fact
that are common to all the defendants. Balli v. Wisconsin
Dept. of Corrections, No. 10-cv-67, 2010 WL 924886, *1
(W.D. Wis. Mar. 9, 2010) (citing George v. Smith,
507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007)).
Rule of Civil Procedure 18 allows a plaintiff to join
unrelated claims against defendants in a lawsuit,
but a plaintiff may do so only if Rule 20's requirements
for the joinder of parties is first satisfied. Id.
Meaning, a plaintiff must first establish a core group of
defendants under Rule 20, and only then may he join unrelated
claims against any defendant in that core group. Id.
He may not, however, join claims against a defendant who is
outside of that core group. Id.
attempts to do what Rules 18 and 20 prohibit. He seeks to
join close to twenty unrelated claims against more than
twenty defendants. For example (and this list is not
exhaustive), he sues some defendants for failing to protect
him from himself after he threatened to hurt himself, he sues
other defendants for ignoring his complaints of arm pain, he
sues other defendants for ignoring his complaints of eye
pain, he sues a defendant for spitting in his food, he sues
other defendants for refusing to give him a mattress and
sheets, and he sues other defendants for retaliating against
him after he filed complaints about them. Some of the
defendants are involved in only one incident, while others
are involved in more than one incident. No. defendant is
involved in every incident.
the court will not allow Love to proceed with his lawsuit
because his complaint violates Rules 18 and 20. The court
will allow Love to file an amended complaint that complies
with those rules. Under Rule 20, Love must identify a core
group of defendants against whom he states at least one claim
in which all of the core defendants were involved. Then,
under Rule 18, he may plead as many claims as he believes he
has against one or more of the core defendants. However, he
may not join claims against other individuals who
are not part of the core group. If he wants to pursue claims
against individuals who are not part of the core group, he
must do so in separate lawsuits.
must use the form included with this decision. An amended
complaint replaces the original complaint, so Love must not
refer to or incorporate parts of his original complaint. His
amended complaint must be complete in and of itself. If the
space in the form is not enough, Love may use up to five
additional sheets of paper.
Motion to ...