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Kathleen Blanc, Sandy Jonas, Kathryn Vann, Jeannie Disney, Alisha Ann Murphy, Autumn Pauls, Deanna v. Brent Reinke

April 23, 2012

KATHLEEN BLANC, SANDY JONAS, KATHRYN VANN, JEANNIE DISNEY, ALISHA ANN MURPHY, AUTUMN PAULS, DEANNA C. BUTTRAM, DAWN M. JOHNSON, LONI M. SHIER, TAMMY A. MCMILLEN HOOVER, VIRGINIA GOODSON, KATHI L. WINN, AND NORA A. HARRISON BARKEY, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
BRENT REINKE, WARDEN JIM WOOLF, LEEANNE HAMILTON, JEFF KIRKMAN, FELICIA FUNK, AND JOHN AND JANE DOES 1-10, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable B. Lynn Winmill Chief U. S. District Judge

ORDER

This prisoner civil rights case was assigned to United States Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush, who conducted an initial review of the Plaintiffs' Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and § 1915A. (Dkt. 9.) The case has since been reassigned to the undersigned District Judge because not all parties have consented to a Magistrate Judge conducting all proceedings. (Dkt. 15.)

Currently before the Court are (1) Plaintiff Nora Harrison Barkey's "Response to Initial Review Order and Request #2 for Class Action Certification" (Dkt. 11), (2)

Plaintiffs Winn, Buttram, and Jonas's letters in response to the Initial Review Order (Dkt. 11-1, 11-2, 12), and (3) Plaintiffs Blanc and Goodson's motions for voluntary dismissal (Dkts. 10, 14).

BACKGROUND

A group of prisoners at the Pocatello Women's Correctional Center (PWCC) started this lawsuit by jointly filing a Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint, in which they alleged that prison officials and employees have violated their constitutional rights and have contravened various federal criminal statutes. (Dkt. 3.) Plaintiffs also requested certification of a class action. (Dkt. 4.)

The case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Bush, who conducted an initial review of the Complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and § 1915A. (Dkt. 9.) Judge Bush determined that the Plaintiffs had failed to state a claim on which relief may be granted.

In reaching that conclusion, he found that the claims "are vague and do not contain sufficient factual allegations for the Court to draw a plausible inference that Defendants are liable for the alleged misconduct." (Dkt. 9, p. 4.) Judge Bush further noted that, "[i]t is difficult for the Court to determine which Plaintiff is asserting which claim against which Defendant, and the personal participation of each Defendant in each alleged violation is unclear." (Id.)

To address these concerns, the Judge Bush instructed each Plaintiff who wished to proceed to file her own amended complaint, rather than to continue as joint plaintiffs in a single case, and to submit a new application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Dkt. 9, pp. 24- 25.) Judge Bush also set out the law for each potential legal claim and gave Plaintiffs specific instructions on how to draft amended complaints that are concise and that comply with Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Id.)

Plaintiff Barkey has since filed a "Response to Initial Review Order and Request #2 for Class Action Certification," challenging many of the conclusions and instructions in the Initial Review Order. (Dkt. 11.) Sandy Jonas and Deanna Buttram have submitted letters, attached to Barkey's Response, that outline what they perceive to be problems and issues at PWCC. (Id.) Kathi Winn has also filed a letter with the Court, apparently intending for the letter to serve as an amended complaint (Dkt. 12). Finally, Plaintiffs Blanc and Goodson seek their dismissal from the action, (Dkts. 10, 14), and no other Plaintiff has filed a response of any kind.

DISCUSSION

The Court will first grant the requests of Plaintiffs' Blanc and Goodson for voluntary dismissal, and they will dismissed as parties to this action without prejudice.*fn1

Next, Plaintiffs Vann, Disney, Murphy, Pauls, Johnson, Shier, and McMillen Hoover did not respond in any fashion to the Initial Review Order, and they will also be dismissed without prejudice to refiling new complaints at a later date. Therefore, of those Plaintiffs who signed or were added to the original Complaint, only Plaintiffs Barkey, Jonas, Buttram, and Winn remain.

The Court has independently reviewed the Complaint and agrees with the Magistrate Judge that it fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. The Court concurs with the well-reasoned analysis in the Initial Review Order and adopts it here. The Complaint is written in a narrative form that touches on wide-ranging conditions at PWCC without alleging facts that show constitutional injuries or that link together specific Plaintiffs, Defendants, and claims. Ms. Barkey's Response to Initial Review Order continues this pattern, and Plaintiffs Jonas, Buttram, and Winn have submitted letters instead of properly completed amended complaints with case captions, named defendants tied to causes of action, and requests for relief. Only Barkey has filed a new Motion ...


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