United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division
Francisco K. Avoki; Prisca A. Avoki; William P. Avoki, Plaintiffs,
City of Chester, South Carolina; Police Department of Chester, South Carolina; Hy-Gloss Paint & Body Shop, Inc.; Cpl. Robert Martz; Ptl. Tyler Covington; Does I-XXX; George Caldwell, Defendants.
J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiffs, Francisco K. Avoki, Prisca A. Avoki, and William
P. Avoki, proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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. This matter is before the court pursuant to
a motion to sever by the City of Chester Defendants. (ECF No.
City of Chester Defendants first argue that the plaintiffs
and defendants in this matter are misjoined pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20 because each
plaintiff's claims relate to separate and distinct
incidents that occurred over four years and will require
individual determinations of liability. The court agrees.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(1) (providing that plaintiffs
may join in one action if 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 occurrences; and any question of
law or fact common to all plaintiffs will arise in the
action); Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2) (providing a plaintiff may
bring a claim against multiple defendants 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 or
occurrences; and any question of law or fact common to all
defendants will arise in the action.”).
argued by the City of Chester Defendants, the plaintiffs'
allegations here concern three separate and distinct matters
between different sets of parties at different times. The
incidents appear to concern:
• Francisco Avoki's claims that the City of Chester
and Hy-Gloss Paint & Body Shop, Inc. violated his civil
rights in 2018 by impounding or towing his vehicles in
retaliation for a previous lawsuit.
• William Avoki's claims that the City of Chester
Police failed to investigate three incidents in which William
was assaulted between 2014 and 2016 and arrested William in
2018 for attempted murder.
• Prisca Avoki's claims concerning an incident on
April 3, 2018, in which she was arrested by City of Chester
Police officers Robert Martz and Tyler Covington.
the plaintiffs' claims do not arise out of the
“same transaction, occurrence, or series of
transactions or occurrences, ” and the plaintiffs do
not seek relief jointly, severally, or in the alternative.
the City of Chester Defendants' motion to sever should be
granted. (ECF No. 48.) Plaintiff's claims shall be
severed into three distinct matters. 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).
THE CLERK OF COURT:
above-captioned case should pertain only to Francisco
Avoki's claims, as described above. The defendants in the
above-captioned case shall remain the same. Prisca Avoki and
William Avoki shall be terminated as plaintiffs in this
Clerk of Court is further directed to assign separate civil
action numbers to the claims of Prisca Avoki and William
Avoki. In those cases, the defendants should remain the same
as in the above caption except Hy-Gloss Paint & Body
Shop, Inc. shall not be included. In William Avoki's
case, Francisco Avoki should be listed as next friend for
William. The Clerk of Court shall file this order,
the Amended Complaint, and the City of Chester
Defendants' Answer (ECF No. 46) as the initial docket
entries in the newly created cases. The Clerk of Court shall
also file the Motion for a 26(f) Conference (ECF No. 72) as a
docket entry in Prisca Avoki's case.