United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PATRICIA L. COHEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on review of plaintiff Anthony
Johnson's pro se complaint. For the reasons discussed
below, the Court will order plaintiff to file a signed,
amended complaint on a Court-provided form. Plaintiff will
also be directed to either file a motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis or pay the $400 filing fee.
February 4, 2019, four inmates at the Moberly Correctional
Center (MCC) in Moberly, Missouri, including plaintiff, filed
a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docket No. 1).
The complaint names sixteen separate defendants and purports
to be a “class action lawsuit.” However, the
Court does not allow prisoners to join together and proceed
in forma pauperis in a single lawsuit. Accordingly, the
complaint was severed, and new cases opened for each
individual inmate. The complaint before the Court alleges
many unrelated claims against defendants, including a denial
of medical care, inhumane conditions of confinement, improper
censorship, and a lack of adequate legal resources.
action is subject to dismissal for several reasons. First,
the complaint alleges violations of the rights of a group of
inmates as a whole. While federal law authorizes plaintiff to
plead his own conduct personally, he lacks standing to bring
claims on behalf of others. See Warth v.
Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 499 (1975) (stating that, in
general, to satisfy the standing requirement, a plaintiff
“must assert his own legal rights and interests, and
cannot rest his claim to relief on the legal rights or
interests of third parties”). Moreover, a non-attorney
pro se litigant may not represent someone else in federal
court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1654; Iannaccone v.
Law, 142 F.3d 553, 558 (2nd Cir. 1998)
(stating that “because pro se means to appear for
one's self, a person may not appear on another's
behalf in the other's cause…A person must be
litigating an interest personal to him”); and Lewis
v. Lenc-Smith Mfg. Co., 784 F.2d 829, 830 (7th Cir.
1986) (stating that a person who is not licensed to practice
law may not represent another individual in federal court).
the complaint alleges a number of unrelated claims against a
total of 16 defendants. This is an impermissible pleading
practice. Rule 20(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure governs joinder of defendants, and provides:
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.
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.
the complaint is 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. Plaintiff
should type or neatly print his complaint on the Court's
civil rights form, which will be provided to him.
See E.D. Mo. L.R. 45 - 2.06(A) (“All actions
brought by pro se plaintiffs or petitioners should be filed
on Court-provided forms”). In the “Caption”
section of the Court-provided form, plaintiff should clearly
name each ...