United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING MOTION FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT,
DENYING MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION,
AND DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE United States District Court
Paul Roberson, an Indiana Department of Correction inmate,
filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action on November 6, 2017.
Screening of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
was deferred until such time as the initial partial filing
fee was paid. Before the initial partial filing fee was
received, Mr. Roberson filed a motion to amend his complaint
and join parties and a motion for class action status and
Motion to File Amended Complaint
original complaint had not yet been screened, and defendants
had not yet been served nor had they answered. Thus pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a), plaintiff could amend his complaint
once as a matter of course and thereafter with leave of court
freely given when justice so required. But plaintiff's
proposed amended complaint adds two more plaintiffs, both
inmates of the Department of Correction. Neither have paid a
filing fee nor sought in forma pauperis status.
While they assert their claims against the same defendants
are common, a review of the claims demonstrate sufficient
differences to require separate actions.
the three purported plaintiffs have different medical
conditions, sought different medical treatments or
medications, and had a different progression of treatment.
The deliberate indifference to serious medical needs standard
is very fact-specific, requiring a case-by-case assessment,
and defenses are case-by-case as well. For instance, where
there are delays in obtaining treatment, the length of delay
that is tolerable depends on the seriousness of the condition
and the ease of providing treatment. McGowan v.
Hulick, 612 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir. 2010); see also
Kress v. CCA of Tenn., LLC, 694 F.3d 890, 893 (7th Cir.
2012) (approving a district court's observation that
“the level of medical care required . . . will vary
depending on each inmate's circumstances”). Similar
concerns surround levels of pain, changes in medication, and
available treatment options, just to name a few.
Additionally, plaintiffs' exhaustion of administrative
remedies may very well be different in each case.
cases where joinder of pro se plaintiffs could be
appropriate, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held
that the plaintiffs may join in one action, in compliance
with Fed. R. Civ. P. 20, but they must each either
be assessed the full filing fee or have their in forma
pauperis status assessed individually. Boriboune v.
Berge, 391 F.3d 852, 856 (7th Cir. 2004). This approach
prevents “prisoners who have ‘struck out'
under [20 U.S.C.] § 1915(g) and thus must prepay all
filing fees unless ‘under imminent danger of serious
physical injury' [from] tag[ing] along on a joint
complaint.” Id. at 854 (internal citations
that each of the plaintiffs in Mr. Roberson's proposed
amended complaint would need to seek and obtain in forma
pauperis status separately, or pay the entire filing fee
separately, it would be better for each plaintiff to proceed
on his own in separate cases.
motion to file an amended complaint that adds two additional
plaintiffs, dkt. , is denied.
Roberson shall have through January 29,
2018, in which to advise the Court he will proceed
on his original complaint or file an amended complaint that
does not contain additional plaintiffs. The failure to
provide notice to the Court or file an amended complaint by
that date will result in the Court screening the November 6,
2017, complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, as the
operative complaint. Any amended complaint will be subject to
the same screening requirement.
Motion for Class Action Status
the three proposed plaintiffs are attorneys, and therefore
could not prosecute a class action for other inmates. That
fact alone requires denial of class action status. But
moreover, other than the claims against Wexford Health
Services and Corizon Medical Services for their hiring of Dr.
Paul Talbot, the plaintiffs' claims do not meet the
requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23.
23(a) sets out the conditions that must be met to certify a
(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is