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Cook v. Batten

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

June 8, 2015

ANTHONY COOK, LAWRENCE L. CRAWFORD, a/k/a Jonah Gabriel, JOHN MILLS, JOHN E. SUTCLIFFE, and FREDDRICK HOWELL, Plaintiffs,
v.
JUDGE TIMOTHY C. BATTEN, et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, Jr., District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Magistrate Judge Justin S. Anand's Final Report and Recommendation ("R&R") [8]. The R&R considers the joint civil Complaint [1] filed by Plaintiffs Anthony Cook ("Cook"), Lawrence L. Crawford ("Crawford"), [1] John Mills, John E. Sutcliffe, and Freddrick Howell (collectively, "Plaintiffs"). Also before the Court are Plaintiffs' "Objections" [16], Motion for Recusal, Motion Seeking Ruling of Law, Motion for an Evidentiary Hearing, Motion to Add Magistrate Judge Anand as a Party [13], and Crawford's application for Post-Conviction Relief [26].

I. BACKGROUND

This is the latest in a series of pro se filings by Plaintiffs, who are incarcerated at the Lieber Correctional Institution, a state prison located in Ridgeville, South Carolina.[2]

On November 17, 2014, the Clerk received and docketed a 2, 087-page document, including over 30 attachments and exhibits, labeled "RE: Filing and Initiating a New § 1983 Action" (the "Complaint") [1]. Overall, the Complaint is difficult, if not impossible, to discern what claims for relief Plaintiffs seek to assert and against whom they seek to bring these unspecified claims.[3] Each Plaintiff involved in this action submitted separate financial affidavits seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"), without paying the required filing fee. (See [2, 3, 4, 5, 6]).

On December 15, 2014, the Magistrate Judge recommended that this action be dismissed without prejudice. The Magistrate Judge relied on Hubbard v. Haley, 262 F.3d 1194 (11th Cir. 2001), in which the Eleventh Circuit held that dismissal of a multi-plaintiff action, consisting of eighteen prisoner-plaintiffs, was proper "based on [the prisoner-plaintiffs'] failure to file separate complaints and pay separate filing fees." Id. at 1198. The Magistrate Judge also recommended dismissal because Plaintiffs' Complaint is an impermissible shotgun pleading.[4]

On December 22, 2014, Plaintiffs filed several "motions" [13] consisting of 95 handwritten pages.[5] Plaintiffs appear to request a ruling on their "pending motions, " and to add Magistrate Judge Anand as a Defendant. Plaintiffs also move for an evidentiary hearing, an extension of time to respond to the R&R, [6] and for Judge Batten to recuse from this case.[7]

On January 27, 2015, Plaintiffs untimely filed their "objections" to the R&R.

On April 16, 2015, Crawford filed an Application for Post-Conviction Relief [26]. Although the Docket reflects that the Application for Post-Conviction Relief was filed by Plaintiff Crawford, the 73-page document - which is nearly incomprehensible - is actually another attempt by Plaintiffs to reiterate their general dissatisfaction with the government of the United States, the federal and state court systems, and the "continuous acts of fraud" by the judges and administration involved within. (See [26] at p. 36). In the application, Plaintiff Crawford also appears to appoint Plaintiff Cook as his legal counsel.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

After conducting a careful and complete review of the findings and recommendations, a district judge may accept, reject, or modify a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Williams v. Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir. 1982), cert denied, 459 U.S. 1112 (1983). A district judge "shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). With respect to those findings and recommendations to which a party has not asserted objections, the district judge must conduct a plain error review of the record. United States v. Slay, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th Cir. 1983).

Plaintiffs' Objections are incoherent. They do not address the Magistrate Judge's reasons for dismissing Plaintiffs' Complaint and instead consist of rambling allegations that are nearly impossible to discern.[8] See Marsden v. Moore, 847 F.2d 1536, 1548 (11th Cir. 1988) ("Parties filing objections to a magistrate's report and recommendation must specifically identify those findings objected to. Frivolous, conclusive, or general objections need not be considered by the ...


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