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Andreas v. Yates

July 29, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lawrence J. O'Neill United States District Judge


Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Nicolas David Andreas, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on September 8, 2008. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint as a matter of right on January 14, 2009. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). On February 6, 2009, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's amended complaint for failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), with leave to amend. Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's second amended complaint, filed March 16, 2009.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious," that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2).

"Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusion are not. Id. at 1949.

II. Plaintiff's Claims

A. Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff brings this action for violation of his rights under the United States Constitution, based on events which occurred when he was housed at Pleasant Valley State Prison. Plaintiff alleges that in June of 2007, Defendant Phelan singled him out and ordered him back to his cell. As Plaintiff was returning to his cell, Defendant Cruz called him over to the podium and began berating him. When Plaintiff inquired about what was going on, Defendant Cruz threw him to the floor, beat him, and punched him in the face twice. Defendant Rodriguez hit Plaintiff in the left eye with a pepper spray canister, and sprayed Plaintiff directly in the eyes, ears, and mouth at close range. Defendant Gonzales beat Plaintiff with a baton even though Plaintiff was subdued and non-resistant, and Defendants Cabral, Clark, and Green kicked Plaintiff and threw him into a cement wall.

Plaintiff was taken to the medical clinic drenched in and blinded by pepper spray, but the nurses, Defendants Does 1-4, refused to decontaminate him and told him he could decontaminate himself in the sink or toilet. Plaintiff also alleges he suffered an asthma attack but received no medical treatment.

Plaintiff alleges that the appeals coordinators refused to process his grievances on these issues.

Plaintiff alleges that in September of 2004, Defendant Mendoza made racial slurs and epithets against Plaintiff after Plaintiff confronted Defendant over his refusal to allow Plaintiff access to Plaintiff's job as a building clerk. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant continued this abuse for years and in January of 2008, placed Plaintiff against a wall, told him to not to say a word or he would be taken down, and attempted to anally penetrate Plaintiff with his finger. When Plaintiff protested, Defendant took him to the medication window and, along with another officer, sexually battered Plaintiff and taunted and embarrassed Plaintiff by exposing themselves, which caused Plaintiff to have a mental breakdown.

B. Rule 18 Requirements

Plaintiff's claims arise from multiple events related only in that they are occurred at Pleasant Valley State Prison. Plaintiff may not proceed in one action on a myriad of unrelated claims against different staff members. "The controlling principle appears in Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a): '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 opposing party.' Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2. Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits, not only to prevent the sort of morass [a multiple claim, multiple defendant] suit produce[s], but also to ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees-for the Prison Litigation Reform Act limits to 3 the number of frivolous suits or appeals that any prisoner may file without prepayment of the required fees. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g)." George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). Plaintiff may not proceed with a "mishmash of a complaint." Id. Therefore, this action shall proceed on Plaintiff's claims arising from the June 2007 incident of excessive force and denial of medical care. Plaintiff's other claims are dismissed, without prejudice to being raised in a separate action.

C. Claims Arising from Incident of Excessive ...

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