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Currie-Lamar v. Stephenson

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

July 2, 2018

Deandre Currie-Lamar, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Scott Stephenson, et al., Defendants.

          STEPHANIE DAWKINS DAVIS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT [1], DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL [6], AND VACATING ORDER GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF FILING FEE [4]

          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         This is a pro se prisoner civil rights case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs are nine inmates who are or were confined at the Midland County Jail in Michigan. The Defendants, all sued in their official capacity, are Midland County Sheriff Scott Stephenson, Lieutenant Administrator Amy Randall, Captain Jeffrey Derocher, and an unidentified doctor (Jane Doe). Plaintiffs allege unlawful jail conditions, highlighting inmates' inability to help other inmates with legal work and inmates' lack of timely access to medical care. Plaintiffs also complain of the inclusion of pork in meals, the cost of hygiene packages, legal copies and mailings, and the prohibition on attending church services or visiting the law library when privileges were lost. Plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages.

         Only the lead Plaintiff, Deandre Currie-Lamar, has signed the Complaint. See Dkt. No. 1. The Plaintiffs have filed a Motion for Appointment of Counsel and a letter indicating that two of the Plaintiffs have been moved to other facilities. Dkt. Nos. 5, 6. And again, only Currie-Lamar has signed the motion and letter. Dkt. Nos. 5, 6. Finally, the Plaintiffs have not paid the $350.00 filing fee and the $50.00 administrative fee. Currie-Lamar, however, has submitted an application to proceed without prepayment of fees or costs. Dkt. No. 4.

         Presently before the Court is the Plaintiffs' Motion for Appointment of Counsel [6]. The Court will DENY Plaintiffs' Motion for Appointment of Counsel [6]. The Court will also DISMISS the Complaint WITHOUT Prejudice [1], and VACATE the Order Granting Plaintiff Currie-Lamar's Motion to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees or Costs [4].

         II. Discussion

         The Court finds that the Plaintiffs have improperly joined claims and parties in this action and violated certain filing requirements. Therefore, the Court will dismiss this case without prejudice. The Court will first explain the joinder issues and will then detail the filing deficiencies.

         A. Misjoinder of Claims and Parties

         “[J]oinder of claims, parties, and remedies is strongly encouraged, ” where appropriate to further judicial economy and fairness. See United Mine Workers of America v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 724 (1966). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)(1) provides that:

[p]ersons may join in one action as plaintiffs if:
(A) they assert any right to relief 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 plaintiffs will arise in the action.

         Notwithstanding that Rule, significant practical problems arise when prisoners jointly commence litigation. See Proctor v. Applegate, 661 F.Supp.2d 743, 780 (E.D. Mich. 2009) (noting “pervasive impracticalities associated with multiple-plaintiff prisoner litigation, which militates against permissive joinder even if it were otherwise allowed by Rule 20(a).” (citing Boretsky v. Corzine, No. 08-2265, 2008 WL 2512916, at *5 (D.N.J. June 23, 2008))). These impracticalities include, for example, the “need for each plaintiff to sign every pleading, and the consequent possibilities that documents may be changed as they are circulated, or that prisoners may ...


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