United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. Sheridan United States District Judge.
case has come before the Court on a civil rights Complaint
filed by Plaintiff Ralph Baker, asserting that his
constitutional rights have been violated by Defendants. The
Court previously dismissed the Complaint, finding that
subsequent numerous filings by Plaintiff made it impossible
to determine what claims Plaintiff seeks to assert. ECF No.
13 at 1. As such, the Court ordered that Plaintiff file an
amended complaint to consolidate all of his claims.
Id. However, the Court cautioned that Plaintiff
should be mindful of the joinder rules, Rules 18 and 20,
under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when filing his
amended complaint. Id. at 1-2.
before the Court is Plaintiff s Amended Complaint. ECF No.
15. It appears that Plaintiff completely ignored the joinder
rules. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that "[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). However, it also
limits the joinder of defendants. Rule 20(a)(2) states that
"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 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); see also
Hagan v. Rogers, 570 F.3d 146, 157 (3d Cir. 2009)
(finding that Rule 20 applies to prisoners); McDaniel v.
Lanigan, No. 12- 3834, 2012 WL 5880371, at *3 (D.N.J.
Nov. 21, 2012) (claims by prisoners are not exempt from Rules
18 and 20). Rule 20's requirements are to be liberally
construed in the interest of convenience and judicial
economy. See Paladino v. Newsome, No. 12-2021, 2012
WL 3315571, at *5 (D.N.J. Aug. 13, 2012).
this application, however liberal, "is not a license to
join unrelated claims and defendants in one lawsuit."
Id. (citing Pruden v. SCI Camp Hill, 252
F.App'x 436 (3d Cir. 2007) (per curiam)); see also
Miller v. Lanigan, No. 12-4470, 2013 WL 1750138, at *2
(D.N.J. Apr. 23, 2013) (stating that a plaintiff cannot
"lump" all his challenges into a single pleading in
violation of Rule 18 and 20). Although Rule 18 allows a
plaintiff to join as many claims as he has against a
defendant in a complaint, whether they are related,
independent, or otherwise, when a plaintiff seeks to join
multiple defendants in a case, Rule 20 controls.
Marrakush Soc 'y v. N.J. State Police, No.
09-2518, 2009 WL 2366132, at *28 (D.N.J. July 30, 2009)
(citing 7 Charles Allen Wright et al., Federal Practice
& Procedure Civil § 1655 (3d ed. 2009)).
"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 occurrence and
presents questions of law or fact common to all."
Id. at *28 (citing Wright et al., supra); see
Ross v. Meagan, 638 F.2d 650 n.5 (3d Cir. 1981),
overruled on other grounds by Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989) (joinder of defendants is not
permitted by Rule 20 unless both commonality and same
transaction requirements are satisfied). No claims addressing
unrelated events, be these claims jammed into a single set of
pleadings or spread among multiple complaints submitted for
filing in the same matter, could satisfy the requirements of
Rules 18 and 20. Marrakush, 2009 WL 2366132, at *27.
of misjoinder, "a court may not simply dismiss a suit
altogether. Instead, the court has two remedial options: (1)
misjoined parties may be dropped 'on such terms as are
just'; or (2) any claims against misjoined parties
'may be severed and proceeded with separately.'"
DirecTV, Inc. v. Leto, 467 F.3d 842, 845 (3d Cir.
2006) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 21).
in Plaintiffs own words, is a sampling of the alleged claims
that he is asserting in the Amended Complaint:
Plaintiff Ralph Baker hereby brings this law suit pursuant to
U.S.C. 1983, 1985, 1986. This Court has jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. 1331, 1343. Plaintiff Ralph baker also seeks a
declaratory judgment. The scope of this suit, revolves around
the failure of the State to allow legal mail reaching the
office of the President of the United States Honorable Barak
Obama, for Presidential Pardon; Plaintiff was denied medical
treatment for Hepatitis C, threats made against the
Plaintiffs life from prison staff and officials, State
officials denial of appointing Counsel; failure of the State
to comply with this Court's directive to afford State
appeal, and Post Conviction Relief, the open conspiracy from
the New Jersey Public Defender, aiding the State
Prosecutions, denial of legal documents seized at the State
maximum security prison, which are needed, and the release of
the entire habeas Corpus File, to secure necessary documents
filed on habeas Corpus. The reimbursement of funds seized
pursuant to indigency, and the reimbursement of funds
allotted which would allow purchase of these same federal
documents, in a period of three (3) consecutive years.
Failure to protect. Plaintiff from hostilities of Prison
Staff. Failure ensure that medical stroke theraphy is given,
for after stroke care, heart medications and premature
release from cardiac care unit.at St. Francis Medical center,
contractee of the New Jersey State Prison. Misdiagnosis of
cancer and fluid on the lungs. The notification to Plaintiff
family that he was expire on an immediate bass, and.to
prepare for his pending death. The sexual harassman by male
officers within the prison complex, while Plaintiff is not
homosexual (Homosexuality is against the tents within the
core content of the Islam belief system, and prohibited by
Qur'anic law and against the principles established in
the Islamic Shariah), and failure to allow Plaintiff to
adhere to his Islamic religious beliefs, and Islamic
services. The failure to correction Classification Files, a
liberty interest, for community release, prison transfer, and
objective scoring under the New Jersey Legislature Objective
Score card and Classification of Prisons. To add 71 years to
Plaintiff Prison record, and the same was addressed to the
State Judge who resided over the State Trials, and that
Middlesex County Superior on Indictment No. 02-10-1239 Court
failed to respond, instead dismissed the Post Conviction
Order. Pursuant to this Court prior mandate to Plaintiff
ECF No. 15 at 2-3 (mistakes in the original). No legal
expertise is required to see that Plaintiff is attempting to
lump completely unrelated claims and completely unrelated
defendants together into one single "omnibus"
complaint-for example, it is difficult to see how claims
against the public defenders would be related to the claims
and defendants for the denial of medical services, or how any
of them would be related to the alleged mail tampering of
Plaintiff s request for Presidential pardon. It would appear
that the Court's previous caution regarding improper
joinder fell on deaf ears. Accordingly, the Court finds that
the Amended Complaint is defective for improper joinder.
the Third Circuit instructs this Court to either dismiss
unrelated defendants from the case or sever the pleading into
separate actions, given the comprehensive and
all-encompassing nature of the Amended Complaint, it is
impossible for the Court to determine Plaintiffs intent in
deciding what defendants to dismiss, or how to sever the
multitude of claims. Therefore, the Court hereby directs
Plaintiff to amend the pleading again, to assert only claims
that would comply with the joinder rules-to assert other
unrelated claims, Plaintiff must file separate
complaints. If Plaintiff cannot or refuses to amend the
pleading to adhere to the joinder rules, the Court may have
no choice but to dismiss the action. See 28 U.S.C.
therefore on this 29 day of March, 2017,
ORDERED that within 45 days from the date of
this Order, Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint that is
consistent with the holdings above; it is further
the Clerk shall ADMINISTRATIVELY TERMINATE
this matter for docket management purposes; the Court will
reopen the matter once an amended complaint that complies
with the joinder rules has been filed; and it is further
that the Clerk shall serve a copy of this Order upon