United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
M. Purcell, Judge
state prisoners appearing pro se and in forma
pauperis, bring this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. The matter has been referred to the undersigned
Magistrate Judge for initial proceedings consistent with 28
U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(B). Having reviewed the sufficiency of
the Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and
1915(e)(2)(B), the undersigned recommends certain of
Plaintiffs' claims be dismissed.
filed their initial Complaint on February 22, 2019. Doc. No.
1. Following some delay in Plaintiffs properly seeking to
leave to proceed in forma pauperis and/or pay the requisite
filing fee, the Court issued an Order on April 9, 2019,
explaining, inter alia, that because the allegations
contained within their Complaint were written entirely in the
first person, the Court was unable to decipher whether one or
both of them was attempting to assert each claim. See
generally Doc. No. 13. The Court provided Plaintiffs an
opportunity to cure the deficiencies discussed within the
Order by filing an amended pleading. Id. at 10. On
April 29, 2019, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint.
See generally Doc. No. 17 (“Am. Comp.”).
Construing the same broadly, it appears Plaintiffs are
attempting to assert twelve claims. Specifically, Plaintiff
McKinley asserts a First Amendment retaliation claim, see
Id. at 10-11, an Eighth Amendment claim based on
excessive force, see Id. at 11-12, and two such
claims based on inadequate medical care. Id. at
13-15. Plaintiff Williams asserts a First Amendment
retaliation claim, see Id. at 15-16, an Eighth
Amendment claim based upon excessive force, see Id.
at 15-16, and an Eighth Amendment claim based upon inadequate
medical care. Id. at 20-21. Plaintiffs jointly
assert two First Amendment retaliation claims, see
Id. at 16-19, and three Eighth Amendment claims based
upon conditions of confinement. Id. at 16-20.
Finally, Plaintiffs name twelve Defendants in their Amended
Complaint: Lieutenant E. Hebert; Lieutenant Hall; Mrs.
Beaming, whom they identify as a doctor; Core Civic medical
staff; Case “Contalor” Light; Commanding Officer
(“CO”) Lee; Sergeant Vansteenbergh; CO Beard;
Core Civic Sort Team; CO Cavin; Unit Manager Battles, and
Sgt. Plural. Id. at 1-2, 5-8, 15.
Screening of Prisoner Complaints
federal district court must review complaints filed by
prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an
officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). After conducting an initial review, the
court must dismiss a complaint or any portion of it
presenting claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b).
conducting this review, the reviewing court must accept the
plaintiff's allegations as true and construe them, and
any reasonable inferences to be drawn from the allegations,
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Kay v.
Bemis, 500 F.3d 1214, 1217 (10th Cir. 2007). Although a
pro se litigant's pleadings are liberally construed,
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972),
“[t]he burden is on the plaintiff to frame a
‘complaint with enough factual matter (taken as true)
to suggest' that he or she is entitled to relief.”
Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1247-48 (10th
Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). The allegations in a complaint must
present “enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 570. Further, a claim is frivolous “where it lacks
an arguable basis either in law or in fact” or is
“based on an indisputably meritless legal
theory.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,
325, 327 (1989).
Plaintiffs' Independent Claims
explained above, Plaintiffs jointly assert five claims in
this lawsuit. Permissive joinder of parties is governed by
Rules 20 and 21 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule
20(a) provides, in pertinent part:
(1) Persons may join in one action as plaintiffs if:
(A) they assert any right to relief jointly, severally, or in
the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same
transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or
(B) any question of law or fact common to all plaintiffs will
arise in the action.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a). “Generally, ‘[R]ule 20(a)
is aimed at promoting trial convenience and expediting the
final determination of disputes, thereby preventing multiple
lawsuits.'” Birdwell v. Glanz, 314 F.R.D.
521, 524 (N.D. Okla. 2015) (quoting Sprint Commc'ns
Co., L.P. v. Theglobe.com, Inc., 233 F.R.D. 615, 616 (D.
Kan. 2006)). Each of Plaintiffs' joint claims are based
upon essentially the same set of factual occurrences and are
asserted against the same Defendants. Am. Comp. at 16-20.
Thus, as to those claims, Plaintiffs clearly meet Rule
20(a)'s requirements for joinder.
in addition to their jointly asserted claims, Plaintiffs also
assert seven claims individually that rely on independent
factual circumstances and/or allegations that are unrelated
to their fellow Plaintiff. For example, Plaintiff McKinley
asserts an Eighth Amendment claim of inadequate medical care
based upon allegations that Defendant Beaming failed to
provide the proper medication for Plaintiff's mental
health condition(s). Id. at 13-14. Plaintiff
Williams asserts an Eighth Amendment claim of excessive force