United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
September 1, 2005.
WILLIAM MEEKINS, Plaintiff
RAYMOND COLLERAN, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDWIN KOSIK, Senior District Judge
Plaintiff, William Meekins, an inmate confined at SCI-Waymart,
Pennsylvania, filed the instant civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983*fn1 on July 12, 2005. He proceeds pro
se and in forma pauperis in this matter.*fn2 The
complaint is presently before the court for preliminary screening
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. For the reasons which follow,
plaintiff will be required to file an amended complaint within
twenty (20) days of the date of this Order.
The instant complaint as filed names nineteen (19) defendants.
It is a running narrative consisting of eight legal size pages.
It outlines various incidents which allegedly occurred while
plaintiff was incarcerated at SCI-Waymart. The plaintiff's
complaint, as written, is difficult to decipher and it would be
difficult to require a response from defendants. Moreover, the
complaint violates several Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Thus, we will direct plaintiff to file an amended complaint in
conformity with the Rules of Civil Procedure. Specifically,
plaintiff is directed to comply with Rules 8, 10 and 20(a).
Plaintiff is reminded that the "amended complaint must be
complete in all respects. It must be a new pleading which stands
by itself as an adequate complaint without reference to the
complaint already filed." Young v. Keohane, 809 F.Supp. 1185,
1198 (M.D.Pa. 1992). Additionally, it must establish the
existence of actions by the defendants which have resulted in
constitutional deprivations. E.g., Rizzo v. Goode,
423 U.S. 362, 370-73 (1976). It should specify which actions are alleged
as to which defendants. The amended complaint must be "simple,
concise, and direct" as required by the Rules of Civil Procedure.
See, Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e)(1).
Plaintiff is further advised that, when drafting his amended
complaint, he must also comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 10.
Specifically, Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b) provides, in relevant part, that
all claims ". . . shall be made in numbered paragraphs, . . ."
With respect to the nineteen (19) named defendants and the
claims against them contained in the original Complaint, we have
found that plaintiff has impermissively attempted to join all of
these defendants and the claims against them in one action, in
violation of Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a). Rule 20(a) provides:
(a) Permissive joinder. All persons . . . may be
joined in one action as defendants if there is
asserted against the jointly, severally, or in the
alternative, any right to relief in respect of or
arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or
series of transactions or occurrences and if any
questions of law or fact common to all defendants
will arise in the action. A plaintiff or defendant
need not be interested in obtaining or defending
against all the relief demanded. Judgment may be
given for one or more of the plaintiffs according to
their respective rights to relief, and against one or
more defendants according to their respective
Rule 20 only permits "joinder in a single action of all persons
asserting, or defending against, a joint, several, or alternative
right to relief that arises out of the same transaction or occurrence and presents a common question of law or fact." 7
Charles Allen Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane, Federal
Practice and Procedure § 1652 at 371-72 (1986). "Permissive
joinder is not, however, applicable in all cases. The rule
imposes two specific requisites to the joinder of parties: (1) a
right to relief must be asserted by, or against, each plaintiff
or defendant relating to or arising out of the same transaction
or occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and (2)
some question of law or fact common to all the parties must arise
in the action." Mosley v. General Motors Corp., 497 F.2d 1330,
1333 (8th Cir. 1974).
Plaintiff's amended complaint should be limited with respect to
only those defendants and claims that arise out of the same
transaction or occurrence or series of transactions or
occurrences and that have questions of law or fact common to all
defendants and claims. Plaintiff should file separate actions as
to any defendants and claims that do not share common legal and
factual questions and that do not arise out of the same
transactions or occurrences.
Finally, plaintiff is advised that if he fails, within the
applicable time period, to file an amended complaint adhering to
the standards set forth above, the instant action may be
dismissed.*fn3 An appropriate Order will be entered. ORDER
AND NOW, this 1st day of September, 2005, IT IS HEREBY
(1) The plaintiff shall file an amended complaint within twenty
(20) days of the date of this Order;
(2) The amended complaint shall properly allege a claim under
42 U.S.C. § 1983;
(3) The amended complaint shall contain a simple, concise
statement of the facts in numbered paragraphs, Fed.R.Civ.P. 8,
(4) The amended complaint shall contain only the claims and
defendants that are related and involve the same transactions or
occurrences and have a common legal and factual basis as required
by Rule 20(a);
(5) All claims that are unrelated must be filed as separate
(6) The amended complaint shall be filed to the same docket
number as the instant action and shall be entitled "Amended
(7) The amended complaint shall be complete in all respects. It
shall be a new pleading which stands by itself as an adequate
complaint without reference to the complaint already filed.
(8) Failure to timely file an amended complaint may result in a
dismissal of the action.
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