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Martin v. Fowler

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

April 16, 2018

ANTHONY C. MARTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
LARRY FOWLER, LISA ASH, DUSHAN ZATECKY, Mr. ALSIP, Mr. LIGONIER, Mr. COLE, MICHELLE RAINS, PENNY EDEN, Ms. POTTER, DAVIS, Property Officer, LONG, Internal Affairs, STANFORD, Internal Affairs, SARAH PECKHAM, Counselor, Offr. STURGELL, Offr. HAMILTON, Sgt. PRESTEL, Sgt. MCKINNLEY, Lt. KAYLOR, Offr. BOULES, Cpt. PEROLE, Cpt. GUILLE, Cpt. CONYERS, DUNKIN, Internal Affairs, Major ELLIOTT, Sgt. MILLER, Offr. WEDDELL, Sgt. REED, Sgt. GARHAM, Offr. POP, Sgt. BAGENSKI, Sgt. COMMANDER, Offr. ZARATE, PAULA DICKSON, ALICIA MCCULLOUGH, Dr. TALBOT, Dr. PERRY, BOLMAN, MHP, RICHARDSON, MHP, Dr. DWENGER, Dr. BADE, CORIZON, and WEXFORD HEALTH SERVICES, Defendants.

          ENTRY GRANTING IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS, GRANTING MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT, SCREENING COMPLAINT, AND DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE United States District Court.

         This matter is before the Court on pro se Plaintiff, Anthony C. Martin's (“Martin”) Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis, Dkt. [2], and Motion to Amend Complaint, Dkt. [5]. The Court grants the Motions in accordance with the directions set forth below.

         I. IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS

         Martin's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis, Dkt. [2], is granted. Notwithstanding the foregoing ruling, Martin still owes the entire filing fee. “All [28 U.S.C.] § 1915 has ever done is excuse pre-payment of the docket fees; a litigant remains liable for them, and for other costs, although poverty may make collection impossible.” Abdul-Wadood v. Nathan, 91 F.3d 1023, 1025 (7th Cir. 1996) (emphasis in original).

         II. MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT

         Martin is incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional Facility. On March 29, 2018, Martin filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against 42 defendants. On April 3, 2018, Martin filed an Amended Complaint, Dkt. [4], also against 42 defendants, and a Motion to Amend Complaint, Dkt. [5], to which he attached a proposed complaint against 48 defendants. Martin's Motion to Amend Complaint, Dkt. [5], is granted. The Clerk is directed to docket the proposed amended complaint, Dkt. [5]-1, as the Second Amended Complaint.

         III. SCREENING OF SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

         The Second Amended Complaint is now subject to the screening required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). This statute directs that the court dismiss a complaint or any claim within a complaint that “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” Id. “A complaint is subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim if the allegations, taken as true, show the plaintiff is not entitled to relief.” Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007).

         The Second Amended Complaint alleges a variety of civil rights abuses, including excessive force, deliberate indifference, and retaliation in unrelated incidents spanning a nineteen month period beginning in August 2016. Martin seeks compensatory damages and injunctive relief.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18 permits a plaintiff to bring, in one lawsuit, every claim he has against a single defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a). However, to join multiple defendants in a single action, Rule 20 requires that the plaintiff assert at least one claim against all of them “arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences” and that “any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action.” Id. 20(a)(2). Working together, these two rules mean that “[u]nrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits” so as to prevent prisoners from dodging the fee payment or three strikes provisions in the Prison Litigation Reform Act. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). Consequently, “multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2.” George, 507 F.3d at 607. Rule 20 applies as much to cases brought by prisoners as it does to any other case. Id.

         Martin's Second Amended Complaint violates Rules 18 and 20 insofar as it advances unrelated claims against multiple defendants for various discrete episodes occurring during Martin's incarceration. While it is arguable that most of his claims stem from the conditions of his confinement, the fact that he is incarcerated is not a “transaction” or “occurrence” under the Rules. As a result, there must be more tying each episode together.

         IV. DISMISSAL OF SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

         Martin's Second Amended Complaint is of the “kitchen-sink” variety. Put differently, it appears to represent Martin's catalogue of everything that happened to him while incarcerated to which he takes exception. The George court instructed that such “buckshot complaints” should be “rejected.” Id. Therefore, the Second Amended Complaint must be dismissed.

         V. OPPORTUNITY ...


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