Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Howard v. Head

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

April 1, 2015

NEAL HOWARD, Plaintiff,
v.
Warden FRED HEAD, et. al. Defendants.

ORDER

MARC T. TREADWELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff NEAL HOWARD, an inmate currently confined at Dooly State Prison, in Unadilla, Georgia, filed a pro se civil rights complaint in this Court seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. As required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the United States Magistrate Judge conducted a preliminary review of Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 8) and recommended that the Complaint be dismissed without prejudice under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and for abuse of process. (Doc. 12). Plaintiff filed a timely Objection (Doc. 13) but does not specifically object to the findings or recommendations of the Magistrate Judge. After a de novo review of Plaintiff's allegations, the Court agrees that the Complaint is due to be dismissed but finds that it is more appropriately DISMISSED under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) for failure to state a claim.

I. Background & Recommendation

The present action arises out of Plaintiff's arrest, conviction, and confinement. Plaintiff complains that, in 2010, his arresting officers falsified evidence and obtained a prejudicial identification. Plaintiff was then tried and convicted in 2011 and now contends that both the presiding judge and his defense counsel violated his rights during that process. The Complaint also alleges that Plaintiff has been subjected to retaliatory and arbitrary transfers while in the custody of the Georgia Department of Corrections and that prison officials have denied him access to the law library, ignored his grievances, given his mail to another inmate, and damaged his property.

Plaintiff filed his original pleading in this case on or about September 19, 2014, [1] and was thereafter ordered to recast his pleading on the standard complaint form. The United States Magistrate Judge conducted a preliminary review of Plaintiff's recast Complaint and found that Plaintiff had misrepresented his litigation history on the form, thereby submitting false or misleading information to the Court in violation of Rule 11. The Magistrate Judge did not find any bad faith or intent to deceive, however, and it was thus recommended that the Complaint be dismissed without prejudice because the statute of limitations would not bar Plaintiff from refiling his claims. See Brown v. McLaughlin, 2014 WL 1908829, at *4 (M.D. Ga.) ("[T]he sanction of dismissal is normally premised on a finding of bad faith." (citing Harris v. Warden, 498 F.Appx. 962, 964 (11th Cir. 2012))).

This Court agrees that Plaintiff did in fact submit false or misleading information to the Court and that his Complaint could be properly dismissed without prejudice if the statute of limitations would not bar him from refiling. See Redmon v. Lake Cnty. Sheriff's Office, 414 F.Appx. 221, 226 (11th Cir. 2011). However, in this case, it appears that the statute of limitations may bar Plaintiff from refiling one or more of his claims. The Court therefore finds that, in the absence of a finding of bad faith, dismissal under Rule 11 would not be appropriate, as it is in essence a dismissal with prejudice as to those claims. See Denison v. Spradlin, 2015 WL 427833, at *2 (M.D. Ga.) (finding sanction of dismissal was not appropriate because "where, as here, a dismissal without prejudice has the effect of precluding the plaintiff from re-filing his claim due to the running of the statute of limitations, it is tantamount to a dismissal with prejudice'" (quoting Stephenson v. Warden, 554 F.Appx. 835, 837 (11th Cir. 2014))).

The Court nonetheless agrees that Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed. After conducting a review of Plaintiff's allegations under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court finds that his Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

II. Preliminary Review

A. Standard of Review under 28 U.S.C. §1915A

When conducting a preliminary review, the district court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true. Brown v. Johnson, 387 F.3d 1344, 1347 (11th Cir. 2004). Pro se pleadings are also "held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys" and will be "liberally construed." Tannenbaum v. United States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998).

A pro se pleading is, however, subject to dismissal prior to service if the court finds that the complaint, when construed liberally and viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). To state a claim, a complaint must include "enough factual matter (taken as true)" to "give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests[.]" Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). The plaintiff must also allege sufficient facts to "raise the right to relief above the speculative level" and create "a reasonable expectation" that discovery will reveal evidence necessary to prove a claim. See id. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009).

B. Plaintiff's Claims

In his Complaint, Plaintiff brings claims for false arrest, retaliation, denial of due process, and denial of access to the courts in violation of his rights guaranteed by ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.