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Pugh v. Trierweiler

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 16, 2017

TERRANCE PUGH et al., Plaintiffs,
TONY TRIERWEILER et al., Defendants.


          Paul L. Maloney United States District Judge.

         This is a civil rights action brought by two state prisoners pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiffs leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), the Court is required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff's pro se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). Applying these standards, Plaintiff Wright will be dismissed without prejudice for failure to comply with the Court's order to file an amended complaint. The Court will order service of Plaintiff Pugh's claim against Defendant Thompson for withholding religious materials and Plaintiff Pugh's remaining claims will be dismissed without prejudice for improper joinder.

         Factual Allegations

         Plaintiffs Pugh and Wright currently are incarcerated in the Baraga Correctional Facility and the St. Louis Correctional Facily, respectively, but the events giving rise to their complaint occurred while they were both housed at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility (IBC). The following IBC employees are named as Defendants in the amended complaint (ECF No. 10): Warden Tony Trierweiler; Deputy Wardens John Davids and Joe Macauley; Chaplain Dan Thompson; Facility Manager Arleen Edwards; Sergeants Nicesweiss and (unknown) Stump; Corrections Officers (unknown) Kerr, (uknown) Emery, (unknown) Anderson, (unknown) Walls, (unknown) Burch, (unknown) Cartwell, (unknown) Brooks, (unknown) Raymond, (unknown) Bussinger, (unknown) Simon, (unknown) Schaffer, (unknown) Shattuck, (unknown) Hall and (unknown) Longquist; Assistant Resident Unit Supervisors P. Fleck and (unknown) Avery; Resident Unit Managers R. Wright and (unknown) Buchane; and Grievance Coordinator M. Robinson. The amended complaint also names “Trinity Food Service, FSD, and AFSD, S.P. Sallese, and E. Klein, ” who provide privatized food services at IBC. (Am. Compl., ECF No. 10, PageID. 141.)

         The amended complaint raises a variety claims concerning Plaintiffs' conditions of confinement at IBC spanning from January through approximately September of 2016. Plaintiff Pugh first claims that he has not been compensated for a television that was broken by prison staff when he was transferred from the Ionia Correctional Facility to IBC on January 22, 2016. Plaintiffs Pugh and Wright raise claims of religious discrimination and excessive use of force arising from an incident that occurred on February 19, 2016, during which several of the named Defendants interrupted a Sunni Muslim religious service and sprayed Plaintiffs with chemical agents. Plaintiffs further claim that Defendants escorted them back to their housing units and were joined by several other Defendants who assisted in conducting shakedown searches without allowing Plaintiff to wash the chemical agents from their faces and skin. Plaintiffs also allege that Defendants discriminated against them based upon their religion by withholding or rejecting religious study materials and books that were sent to Plaintiffs through the mail. In addition, Plaintiffs claim that they were provided with spoiled and nutritionally inadequate food for a thirty-day period during Ramadan. Plaintiff's allege that they are subjected to harassment on a daily basis as a result of filing grievances concerning religious discrimination. Next, Plaintiffs allege that Defendant Hall, who was involved in a physical altercation with another inmate, forced them to provide false information in Hall's defense by threatening to have Plaintiffs sent to segregation. Plaintiffs further claim that they both were charged with fighting and moved to segregation in September 2016, after being attacked by other prisoners. Plaintiff Pugh alleges that while packing his personal property upon his transfer to segregation, unnamed corrections officers discovered his preparations for a civil suit and punished him by bringing false misconduct charges against him.

         Plaintiffs seeks declaratory relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.


         I. Plaintiff Wright

         Plaintiffs filed their original complaint in the Eastern District of Michigan. The case was transferred to this Court because venue only was proper in this Court. On January 11, 2017, the Court issued an order requiring Plaintiffs to file an amended complaint on the form provided by the Court within 28 days. The amended complaint (ECF No. 10) was Dated:ly by Plaintiff Pugh. Plaintiff Wright did not sign the amended complaint filed by Pugh, nor did he file a separate amended complaint. Because Plaintiff Wright failed to comply with the Court's order to file an amended complaint, he will be dismissed without prejudice.[1]

         II. Plaintiff Pugh

         A. Improper joinder

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a) limits the joinder of parties in single lawsuit, whereas Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a) limits the joinder of claims. Rule 20(a)(2) governs when multiple defendants may be joined in one action: “[p]ersons . . . 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.” Rule 18(a) states: “A party asserting a claim . . . may join, as independent or alternative claims, as many claims as it has against an opposing party.”

         Courts have recognized that, where multiple parties are named, as in this case, the analysis under Rule 20 precedes that under Rule 18:

Rule 20 deals solely with joinder of parties and becomes relevant only when there is more than one party on one or both sides of the action. It is not concerned with joinder of claims, which is governed by Rule 18. Therefore, in actions involving ...

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