United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. Neff, United States District Judge
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Under Rule 21 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, a federal court, acting sua sponte,
may at any time consider whether parties are properly joined
in an action. “Misjoinder . . . is not a ground for
dismissing an action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 21. But, the Court,
“on just terms” may drop a party or “sever
any claim against a party.” Id.
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).
Rule 21, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint
against Defendants Kent County Sheriff's Department,
Corizon Health, Bylsma, Barnhardt, Klein, Baarda, Couch,
McGinnis, Kalman, Thorne, Steele, LaJoye-Young, Johnson,
Carrel, Flentje, Unknown Party #1, Unknown Party #2, Unknown
Party #4, Unknown Party #5, Unknown Party #6, Unknown Party
#7, Unknown Party #8, because they are improperly joined
the PLRA, Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment claim of
excessive force against Defendants Jordan and Clark, and of
deliberate indifference against Defendants Jordan and Unknown
Party #3, may proceed.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Kinross Correctional Facility (KCF)
in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. The events about
which he complains, however, occurred at the Kent County Jail
in Kent County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues the Kent County
Sheriff's Department; Corizon Health, Inc.; Deputies
Unknown Jordan,  Unknown Clark, Unknown Bylsma, Unknown
Barnhardt, Unknown Klein, Unknown Baarda, and Unknown Couch;
Sergeant Unknown McGinnis; Lieutenant Unknown Kalman, Captain
Unknown Thorne; Head of Programs Rob Steele; Undersheriff
Unknown Party #1; Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young; Nurses
Unknown Party #2, Unknown Party #3, Unknown Party #4, Unknown
Party #5, Unknown Party #6, Unknown Party #7, and Unknown
Party #8; Head Nurse Penny Johnson; and Doctors Unknown
Carrel and Unknown Flentje.
33-paragraph statement of his claim describes multiple events
over the span of approximately one month from late February
2019 to late March 2019. Although the Complaint does not
specify, the events presumably occurred while Plaintiff was
awaiting trial.Plaintiff alleges that on the evening of
February 22, 2019, before 7 p.m., he met Nurse Unknown Party
#2 in the med-line to receive eye drops and skin cream.
(Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.8.) Nurse Unknown Party #2 did not
have eye drops available, but she did have skin cream and
asked Plaintiff if he had his cup, apparently so Plaintiff
could receive an allotment. Plaintiff left for an unspecified
amount of time to check if he had his cup. Before Plaintiff
returned, the nurse and Deputy Jordan had begun moving on
without giving Plaintiff skin cream. When Plaintiff inquired
why the nurse was leaving, Deputy Jordan responded “You
are done! You just want to run around the dayroom.”
(Id.) Plaintiff responded, explaining that he needed
the skin cream because his dry skin had begun cracking and
bleeding. Plaintiff alleges that Deputy Jordan dismissed the
inquiry before spraying Plaintiff with pepper spray twice,
the second time while Plaintiff “walked off.”
(Id.) Afterward, as Plaintiff walked toward his cell
wiping the pepper spray from his face, Deputy Clark used his
Taser on Plaintiff. While being tased, Plaintiff fell and
sustained an open wound to his chin. Plaintiff was then taken
to segregation. The complaint is unclear whether Plaintiff
was returned to segregation or whether he was taken to
segregation as a result of the events that evening. (See
id., PageID.9 ¶ 6.)
remainder of Plaintiff's Complaint alleges misconduct
related to: follow-up medical care (see, e.g.,
Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.9 ¶ 10); unrelated medical
care (see, e.g., id., PageID.10 ¶ 11);
Plaintiff's filing of grievances (see, e.g.,
id., PageID.10 ¶ 15 to PageID.12 ¶ 22);
his release and return to segregation (see, e.g.,
id., PageID.12 ¶¶ 23-25); and his lack of
access to the law library and its resources (see,
e.g., id., PageID.12 ¶ 26).
seeks damages in excess of $1 million and injunctive relief.
has joined 25 Defendants in this action connecting a series
of discrete events during a span of approximately one month
in February and March 2019.
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.”
have recognized that, where multiple parties are named, as in
this case, the analysis under Rule 20 precedes that under
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 multiple defendants Rule 20 operates independently
of Rule 18. . . .
Despite the broad language of Rule 18(a), plaintiff may join
multiple defendants in a single action only if plaintiff
asserts at least one claim to relief against each of them
that arises out of the same transaction or occurrence and
presents questions of law or fact common to all.
Charles Allen Wright, Arthur R. Miller, Mary Kay Kane,
Federal Practice & Procedure Civil § 1655 (3d ed.
2001), quoted in Proctor v. Applegate, 661 F.Supp.2d
743, 778 (E.D. Mich. 2009), and Garcia v. Munoz, No.
08-1648, 2007 WL 2064476, at *3 (D.N.J. May 14, 2008);
see also Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328
(1989) (joinder of defendants is not ...