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Bailey v. McMahon

July 21, 2008

DEMETRIUS BAILEY ET AL., PLAINTIFFS
v.
MELISSA MCMAHON ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Kane

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is Plaintiff Bailey's motion to reinstate and/or join former Plaintiffs Richard Sutton, Jamiel Johnson, Devin Spady, and William Victor pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19(a). (Doc. No 33.) For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.

II. BACKGROUND

On December 10, 2007, Plaintiffs, a number of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections' ("DOC") inmates,*fn1 initiated the above-captioned civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. No. 1.) Defendants are prison officials or employees at the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Huntingdon"). Plaintiffs made numerous claims against Defendants involving the following: "denial of law library, access to courts, inadequate paging system and legal materials, notary service, inadequate legal assistant; denial of mental health treatment; unconstitutional and invalid grievance system; denial of hygiene basic issues and legal materials due to inadequate commissary system; denial of health hazards; torture, abuse, assaults on Plaintiffs; denial of infestin rodents urine and feces Plaintiffs breath, denial of clear air, ventilation, clean water; unsanitary showers, denial of medical care/treatment." (Doc. No. 1 at 2.) Plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages as well as an injunction and declaratory relief. (Id. at 3.)

Simultaneous to filing the complaint, Plaintiff Bailey filed a letter requesting in forma pauperis ("IFP") application forms be sent to all Plaintiffs. (Doc. No. 2.) On December 11, 2007, a 30-day administrative order was issued, directing the prisoners to pay the filing fee or each Plaintiff must file an application to proceed IFP and an authorization form within thirty (30) days of the date of the order or the case will be dismissed. (Doc. No. 5.) Plaintiffs were also informed that each Plaintiff is responsible for an equal share of the $350.00 filing fee, and if only one Plaintiff executes the application to proceed IFP and authorization form, he will be solely responsible for complete payment of the $350.00 filing fee. (See id.) Proper IFP forms were forwarded to each Plaintiff with a copy of the 30-day administrative order. (See id.)

Subsequent to the issuance of the 30-day administrative order, several Plaintiffs filed motions to withdraw, asserting that they either had no knowledge of, or had no desire to be part of, the instant civil action. (See Doc. Nos. 7-9, 14-15, 17-18.) Specifically, Plaintiff Sutton filed four motions to withdraw, (see Doc. Nos. 8, 9, 14, 17); Plaintiff Johnson filed one motion to withdraw, (see Doc. No. 15); and Plaintiff Victor filed one motion to withdraw, (see Doc. No. 7). All of these motions were construed as motions for voluntary dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2), and the Court granted the motions by order dated January 28, 2008.

(Doc. No. 21.)

Further, the thirty days set forth in the 30-day administrative order for paying the filing fee or submitting an application to proceed IFP and an authorization form elapsed, and a number of Plaintiffs neither made an appropriate submission nor requested an extension of time in which to do so. In particular, Plaintiff Spady did not make the appropriate submission or request an extension. As a result, this action was dismissed without prejudice as to all of those Plaintiffs. (See Doc. No. 21.)

One Plaintiff, Demetrius Bailey, filed a motion for leave to proceed IFP and an authorization form. (Doc. Nos. 10 & 11.) Noting that all other Plaintiffs had been terminated, and upon consideration of the complaint, the Court granted Plaintiff Bailey's motion to proceed IFP and directed him to file an amended complaint setting forth his individual claims against defendants. (See Doc. No. 21.) On March 10, 2008, Plaintiff Bailey filed an amended complaint, (Doc. No. 27), and the Court directed service of the amended complaint on April 28, 2008, (Doc. No. 32).

To date, Defendants' time for responding to the amended complaint has not passed. However, Plaintiff Bailey has filed the instant motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19(a) seeking to reinstate former Plaintiffs Sutton, Johnson, Spady, and Victor, who were all named in the original complaint. Plaintiff Bailey claims that these former plaintiffs were "caught off guard that this civil action was being filed ASAP," thus they should be reinstated as plaintiffs. (Doc. No. 33 at 1.)

III. DISCUSSION

Rule 19(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure determines when joinder of a particular party is compulsory. The ...


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