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Lionell G. Miller v. Michelle R. Ricci

October 24, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Freda L. Wolfson, United States District Judge



1. On February 15, 2011, Plaintiff submitted for filing his civil complaint ("Complaint") asserting numerous challenges.*fn1 See Docket Entry No. 1. The Complaint arrived accompanied by Plaintiff's in forma pauperis application to prosecute the instant matter without prepayment of the filing fee. See Docket Entry No. 1-1.

2. On April 28, 2011, this Court issued an order in an accompanying opinion granting Plaintiff in forma pauperis status for the purposes of the instant matter and addressing Plaintiff's challenges raised in the Complaint. See Docket Entries Nos. 5 and 6. The Court's order provided, in pertinent part, as follows:

IT IS . . . ORDERED that Plaintiff's habeas challenges are dismissed, without prejudice to initiation of an appropriate habeas action; and it is further ORDERED that Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment excessive force challenges against Officers Fry, Nagy, Perez, Tyson and Wojciechowski are proceeded past the sua sponte dismissal stage; and it is further ORDERED that all other Plaintiff's claims are dismissed with prejudice . . . .

Docket Entry No. 6, at 2.

The Court, therefore, directed service on Officers Fry, Nagy, Perez, Tyson and Wojciechowski ("Remaining Defendants") with regard to the viable claims articulated in the Complaint, namely, that these Defendants assaulted Plaintiff during the altercation of February 24, 2009. See id.; see also Docket Entry No. 5.

2. Seven months after filing his Complaint and five months after the Court directed service of Plaintiff's allegations based on the February 24, 2009, Plaintiff filed his motion at bar ("Motion") seeking injunctive relief against -- and monetary damages from -- a multitude of persons other than the Remaining Defendants ("Other Persons"); in support of this application, Plaintiff's Motion asserted a panoply of new claims ensuing from the events which: (i) had no transactional relation with the alleged February 24, 2009, altercation; and (ii) occurred years after that altercation and even after the Court ruled on Plaintiff's Complaint. See Docket Entry No. 21.*fn2

3. The Remaining Defendants, in their opposition to the Motion, pointed out that this Court had no jurisdiction over the Other Persons, who were not parties to this suit. See Docket Entry No. 28. The Remaining Defendants also pointed out that they had no involvement in the transactions challenged in Plaintiff's Motion, and Plaintiff never asserted otherwise. See id. In addition, the Remaining Defendants stressed that monetary damages were not available as part of preliminary injunctive relief, and -- in any event

-- Plaintiff did not establish his entitlement to preliminary injunctive relief. See id.

4. The Remaining Defendants are correct in their assertion that Plaintiff cannot litigate, in this action, his new challenges, which are transactionally unrelated to the alleged altercation of February 24, 2009, that underlies the proceedings at bar. The Remaining Defendants are also correct in their assertion that preliminary injunctive relief does not and cannot encompass the relief in form of monetary damages. Since Plaintiff asserted challenges transactionally unrelated to the events that gave rise to the instant matter and which implicated Other Persons, it appears that Plaintiff's instant Motion was meant to operate as either Plaintiff's amended complaint or a pleading submitted with the goal to commence a new and separate legal action.

5. If this Court were to construe Plaintiff's Motion as an amended complaint filed without obtaining due leave to make such filing,*fn3 such construction would not allow introduction of Plaintiff's challenges stated in his Motion into the instant matter. Rule 20(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure limits the joinder of defendants, and Rule 18(a), governs the joinder of claims. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a), 20(a)(2). Rule 20(a)(2) provides: "Persons . . . may be joined in one action as defendants if: (A) any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and (B) any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action." Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a)(2)(A) and (B). Rule 18 (a) provides "A party asserting a claim . . . may join, as independent or alternative claims, as many claims as it has against an opposing party." Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a). Wright & Miller's treatise on federal civil procedure explains that, where multiple defendants are named, the analysis under Rule 20 precedes that under Rule 18:

Rule 20 deals solely with joinder of parties and becomes relevant only when there is more than one party on one or both sides of the action. It is not concerned with joinder of claims, which is governed by Rule 18. Therefore, in actions involving multiple defendants Rule 20 operates independently of Rule 18 . . .

Despite the broad language of Rule 18(a), plaintiff may join multiple defendants in a single action only if plaintiff asserts at least one claim to relief against each of them that arises out of the same transaction or ...

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