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Love v. Vanburen

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

December 5, 2019

DERON DARNELL LOVE, Plaintiff,
v.
TORRIA VANBUREN, et al., Defendants.

          SCREENING ORDER

          NANCY JOSEPH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Deron 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.

         1. Motion for Leave to Proceed without Prepaying the Filing Fee

         The 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. Id.

         On 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.

         2. Screening the Complaint 2.1 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).

         To 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)).

         Further, 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)).

         Federal 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.

         Love 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.

         Accordingly, 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.

         Love 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.

         3. Motion to ...


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