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LaPine v. Corizon Inc.

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

February 14, 2018

CORIZON INC. et al., Defendants.



         This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996) (PLRA), 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's action will be dismissed without prejudice for misjoinder with respect to Defendants Mathews and Houtz.

         Factual Background

         Plaintiff Darrin LaPine is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Central Michigan Correctional Facility in St Louis, Michigan. The events of which he complains, however, occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Lakeland Correctional Facility (LCF) in Coldwater, Michigan, between April 7, 2014, and September 17, 2014.

         This lawsuit follows-up a virtually identical suit filed by Plaintiff in this Court on August 23, 2017, LaPine v. Johnson et al., No. 1:17-cv-768 (W.D. Mich.) (LaPine I), and dismissed by the undersigned on November 15, 2017. (LaPine I, Ord. & J., ECF No. 10, 11.)

         In LaPine I, Plaintiff made the same allegations as he makes in this suit; however, LaPine I included two additional defendants, Corrections Officers F. Johnson and Unknown VanOpynen, and several counts alleged against those two defendants. Defendants Johnson and VanOpynen, and the counts alleged against them, have been omitted from this suit, even though all of the factual allegations regarding those Defendants remain. In LaPine I, the undersigned concluded that Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Johnson and VanOpynen were not properly joined with the other claims against the other Defendants. Accordingly, the other claims against the other Defendants were dismissed without prejudice. Petitioner now raises those claims in this action, except he has also eliminated Defendants MDOC and Prison Health Services.[1]

         On May 22, 2014, about a month after his arrival at LCF, Plaintiff's wrist brace was taken during a shakedown. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Doctor Victor Dominguez, and other medical staff, were notified of the loss, but were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical need.

         Plaintiff alleges that he experienced severe pain in his back, neck, hips, legs, knees, and wrist, while he was at LCF. He submitted numerous health care requests. Plaintiff claims his medical records establish the need for back surgery and a wrist brace, but several Defendants, including Dr. Dominguez and Health Unit Manager Pamella Friess, were deliberately indifferent to those serious medical needs. Plaintiff claims that Dr. Dominguez was also deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's lip sores. Plaintiff claims other Defendants, including Defendant Dr. Jeffrey Stieve, and Defendant Subrina Aiken, were also deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Plaintiff claims that the deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs follows from policies adopted and enforced by Corizon.

         On August 26, 2014, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Sergeant A. Mathews placed Plaintiff in a cage in the control center, with no toilet or water access for several hours. Plaintiff contends that the conditions in the cage violated his Eighth Amendment rights and that Defendant Mathews caged Plaintiff in retaliation for Plaintiff's exercise of his First Amendment rights.

         Plaintiff complains that Unit C-3 had excessive lighting and inadequate ventilation. He complained to Defendant ARUS Amy Houtz, to no avail. Plaintiff claims he suffered severe headaches and could not breathe. Plaintiff filed a grievance against Defendant Houtz on September 2, 2014. Defendant Houtz called Plaintiff into her office on September 10, 2014, and threatened Plaintiff if he did not sign off on the grievances. Plaintiff refused. Plaintiff claims he was transferred to the Adrian Correctional Facility on September 17, 2014, for exercising his First Amendment rights.

         Plaintiff alleges that he has filed grievances regarding all of the conduct of which he complains. He states that the earliest grievance was not exhausted until October 24, 2014, and that all other grievances were not exhausted until 2015. Accordingly, Plaintiff contends, his claims are timely.


         I. Misjoinder

         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 ...

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