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Garrett v. Stirling

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

May 25, 2018

Robert Louis Garrett, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
Director Bryan P. Stirling, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          PAIGE J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, Robert Louis Garrett, Jr., proceeding pro se, filed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and § 1915A. Under Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.), pretrial proceedings in this action have been referred to the assigned United States Magistrate Judge.

         By a contemporaneously issued report and recommendation, the court recommended that the claims against most of the seventy-seven defendants in this matter be summarily dismissed pursuant to § 1915 and § 1915A. As to the remaining defendants, the court observes that the Complaint raises claims concerning at least five separate incidents that took place between April 2015 and May 2016. All of the incidents involve Plaintiff's claims of excessive force during his incarceration at three separate South Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC”) facilities; however, other than the nature of the claim, the incidents appear to be wholly unrelated.

         Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits defendants to be joined in one action if 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 and occurrences, and any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise. Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2). If parties are misjoined, the court may add or drop a party or sever any claim. Fed.R.Civ.P. 21.

         Here, Plaintiff's claims against the seventy-seven named defendants do not arise out of the same transaction or occurrence, or series thereof. Thus, Plaintiff's claims should be severed into four separate cases. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 21 (“On motion or on its own, the court may at any time, on just terms, add or drop a party. The court may also sever any claim against a party.”); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2); Owens v. Hinsley, 635 F.3d 950, 952 (7th Cir. 2011) (providing that where a plaintiff fails to observe the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)(2) with respect to joinder of parties, unrelated claims against different defendants belong in separate lawsuits, and the action may be severed into separate lawsuits). To comply with the Rules, Plaintiff's claims should be divided into the following four separate groups of defendants:

(1) Plaintiff's allegations against Defendants Franklin Richardson, Rogers, and McBride, for an incident that occurred on April 13, 2015 at Lee Correctional Institution. (“Lee Incident”)
(2) Plaintiff's allegations against Defendants Chad Binkley and “Unknown Officers From 9 May 2015 Attack, ” for an incident that occurred on May 9, 2015 at Perry Correctional Institution. (“May 2015 Perry Incident”)
(3) Plaintiff's allegations against Defendants Randall Fowler, Jr.; Lasley; Williams; DeGeorgis; Wantonta Golden; Jeff Bilyeu; R. Blackburn; Kenneth Myers; James Jennings; and Nathan Rice; for an incident that occurred on June 19 or 20, 2015 at Perry Correctional Institution. (“June 2015 Perry Incident”)
(4) Plaintiff's allegations against Defendants Aull; Beckett, Jr.; T. Esterline; and James Parrish; for multiple incidents that occurred at Broad River Correctional Institution between January 2016 and May 2016, and his allegations against Parrish stemming from an incident that occurred on May 25, 2016.[1] (“Broad River Incidents”)

         Accordingly, Plaintiff's claims are hereby severed into four distinct matters, as divided above.

         TO THE CLERK OF COURT:

         The above-captioned case should pertain only to the Lee Incident. Therefore, the Clerk of Court is directed to terminate the defendants who were not summarily dismissed by the court's contemporaneously issued report and recommendation, and the defendants listed above with any incident other than the Lee Incident. Thus, the only defendants that should remain in the instant matter are Defendants Franklin Richardson, Rogers, and McBride.

         The Clerk of Court is directed to assign three new civil action numbers to Plaintiff, one for each of the other incidents listed above. The Clerk shall add as defendants to each docket the named defendants that correspond to each incident, as they are listed above. The Clerk shall file this order as the initial docket entry in the newly created cases. The Clerk shall also file the Complaint (ECF No. 1) and Additional Attachments (ECF Nos. 5 & 6) from the instant case's docket as entries in each of the new cases. The Clerk shall also send a copy of this order to Plaintiff.

         TO ...


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