United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon review of plaintiff's
pro se complaint. For the reasons explained below,
the Court will direct plaintiff to file an amended complaint,
and to either pay the $400 filing fee or file a motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
February 4, 2019, four inmates at the Moberly Correctional
Center (“MCC”), including plaintiff Marcus
Stephens, filed a lawsuit in this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against sixteen defendants. Because the Court
does not allow multiple prisoners to join together and
proceed in forma pauperis in a single lawsuit, the
Court severed the defendants, and opened new cases for each
one using the complaint filed in the originating action. The
complaint now before the Court alleges a multitude of
unrelated claims, including a denial of adequate medical
care, inhumane conditions of confinement, lack of adequate
legal resources, and an unlawful prison policy.
action is subject to dismissal for several reasons. First,
the complaint does not explain how any of the defendants
violated plaintiff's civil rights. Instead, it alleges
violations of the civil rights of a group of inmates as a
whole, and also of one William Grace-Bey, a plaintiff from
the originating action. Plaintiff lacks standing to bring
claims alleging mistreatment of other inmates. Instead,
plaintiff must allege a personal loss. See Martin v.
Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985). Further,
while federal law authorizes plaintiff to plead and conduct
his own case personally, 28 U.S.C. § 1654, he is not a
licensed attorney, and therefore may not represent others in
federal court. See. See Lewis v. Lenc-Smith Mfg.
Co., 784 F.2d 829, 830 (7th Cir. 1986). Additionally,
the complaint advances multiple unrelated claims against a
total of sixteen defendants. This is an impermissible
pleading practice.” Rule 20(a)(2) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure governs joinder of defendants, and
Persons . . . may be joined in one action as defendants if:
(A) any right to relief is asserted against them jointly,
severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising
out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of
transactions or occurrences; and (B) any question of law or
fact common to all defendants will arise in the action.
a plaintiff cannot join, in a single lawsuit, multiple claims
against different defendants related to events arising out of
different transactions or occurrences. Unrelated claims
against different defendants belong in different suits,
partly to ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act limits to 3 the number of
frivolous suits or appeals that any prisoner may file without
prepayment of the required fees. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
18(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs joinder
of claims, and provides:
A party asserting a claim to relief as an original claim,
counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, may join,
either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims,
legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an
multiple claims against a single defendant are valid.
complaint also violates Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. Rule 8 requires that the complaint
contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing
entitlement to relief, and it also requires that each
averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise and direct.
Rule 10 requires plaintiff to state his claims in separately
numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable to a
single set of circumstances.
complaint is also unsigned. Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure requires an unrepresented party to personally
sign all of his pleadings, motions, and other papers, and
requires courts to “strike an unsigned paper unless the
omission is promptly corrected after being called to the . .
. party's attention.” Finally, plaintiff has
neither paid the $400 filing fee, nor sought leave to proceed
in forma pauperis.
Court will give plaintiff the opportunity to file an amended
complaint to set forth his own claims for relief. In
addition, plaintiff must either pay the $400 filing fee, or
file a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
that is accompanied by a certified copy of his institution