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Horan v. Wetzel

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

May 22, 2014

PATRICK HORAN, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN WETZEL, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

KAROLINE MEHALCHICK, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Patrick Horan, proceeding pro se, is an inmate currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution - Benner Township in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. On January 22, 2013, he filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for mandatory joinder (Doc. 36) and Plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel (Doc. 43). For the following reasons, the Court will deny these motions.

I. BACKGROUND

Horan's claims relate to events that took place when he was incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Frackville. In his complaint, Horan names twenty-four employees of the Department of Corrections as Defendants. Horan's claims arise from an incident that occurred on October 9, 2010, at SCI-Frackville. On October 9, 2010, Horan alleges that fellow inmate, Wayne Liddick, was harassed and injured by Defendants Eidem and Hardy. (Doc. 1, Compl. ¶ 18-21). Horan asserts that immediately following the assault, he filed several grievances on behalf of Liddick, and as a result, Horan was then subjected to retaliatory harassment. (Doc. 1). Additionally, Horan states that another fellow inmate at SCI-Frackville, David Chacko, was a witness to these retaliatory events and the harassment against Liddick. (Doc. 1). Horan alleges numerous incidents of retaliation, including retaliatory transfer, retaliatory cell searches, verbal threats, false block card reports, false misconduct reports, refusals to call witnesses or being allowed to speak in his own defense, removal from work assignments, mail tampering, and being labelled a pedophile to provoke assaults with other inmates. (Doc. 1, p. 2). Horan submits that these actions, including his transfer to another correctional institution, were done in retaliation for his having filed a grievance against Corrections Officer Eidem and Sergeant Hardy for their alleged assault on inmate Wayne Liddick.

On January 22, 2013, Horan filed this civil rights action. (Doc. 1). On April 1, 2013, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss Horan's complaint (Doc. 11), and a brief in support thereof on May 13, 2013. (Doc. 19). Per this Court's February 18, 2014 Order (Doc. 47), the only remaining claims in this action are: (1) Plaintiff's First Amendment retaliation claim against Defendant Serginski for filing a false misconduct report; (2) Plaintiff's First Amendment retaliation claim against Defendants Suzadail, Hardy, Covington, and Warford for filing a false misconduct report; (3) Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Collins and Cameron for transferring Plaintiff to SCI-Cresson in violation of his First Amendment Right against retaliation; (4) Plaintiff's First Amendment and Eighth Amendment claims against Defendants Eidem, Mirarchi, Hardy, Suzadail, and Gaile for allegedly calling him a "child molester"; and (5) Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Covington for sexual harassment under the Eighth Amendment. Further, Horan was granted leave to amend his claims against Defendants Collins, Dorzinsky, and Mirarchi for mail tampering, and to file a motion to add a retaliation claim or a sexual harassment claim against Defendant O'Day. (Doc. 47).

II. MOTION FOR JOINDER

On October 9, 2013, Horan filed a motion for mandatory joinder pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19 (Doc. 36), and a brief in support on October 11, 2013. (Doc. 38). Horan moves pursuant to Rule 19(a) to add two new plaintiffs to this action: (1) Wayne Liddick; and (2) David Chacko.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19 governs "mandatory" joinder, under which joinder of parties is compulsory or "necessary" if their joinder is "feasible." Gen. Refractories Co. v. First State Ins. Co., 500 F.3d 306, 312 (3d Cir. 2007). Rule 19 provides in relevant part:

A person who is subject to service of process and whose joinder will not deprive the court of subject-matter jurisdiction must be joined as a party if: (A) in that person's absence, the court cannot accord complete relief among existing parties; or (B) that person claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that disposing of the action in the person's absence may: (i) as a practical matter impair or impede the person's ability to protect the interest; or (ii) leave an existing party subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations because of the interest.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(a)(1).

Because Rule 19 is written in the disjunctive, if either clause (A) or (B) is satisfied, the absent party is a necessary party that should be joined if possible. Gen. Refractories Co., 500 F.3d at 312 (citing Koppers Co. v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 158 F.3d 170, 175 (3d Cir. 1998)). If a party is "necessary, " the court must then determine whether joinder of that party is "feasible." See Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(b); Gen. Refractories Co., 500 F.3d at 312-13.

There is no indication from Liddick and Chacko that either one of them claim an interest in this action. Thus, only clause (A) is at issue. Under that clause, "we ask whether complete relief may be accorded to those persons named as parties to the action in the absence of any unjoined parties." Gen. Refractories Co., 500 F.3d at 313. This inquiry is limited "to whether the district court can grant complete relief to persons already named as parties to the action; what effect a decision may have on absent parties is immaterial." Gen. Refractories Co., 500 F.3d at 313 (citing Angst v. Royal Maccabees Life Ins. Co., 77 F.3d 701, 705 (3d Cir. 1996); Janney Montgomery Scott, Inc. v. Shepard Niles, Inc., 11 F.3d 399, 405 (3d Cir. 1993)).

In this case, Liddick and Chacko are not necessary parties. Per this Court's February 18, 2014 Order, the only remaining claims in this action are Horan's First Amendment retaliation claims for Defendants filing a false misconduct report against him and transferring him to SCI-Cresson; a First and Eighth Amendment claim for Defendants allegedly calling him a "child molester"; and an Eighth Amendment sexual harassment claim. (Doc. 47). Horan was further granted leave to amend claims related to mail tampering and a retaliation/sexual harassment claim. (Doc. 47).

It appears Horan seeks to include Liddick and Chacko in this action because the retaliatory conduct alleged by Horan originated from an incident where Liddick was assaulted and Chacko was a witness to the assault. However, the remaining claims in this action are unrelated to the initial assault and the Court can fashion complete relief on Horan's claims against the Defendants without adding as plaintiffs Liddick or Chacko. See ...


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