United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
CRYSTAL CHARMAINE PATCHEN; and DEBRA P. WIGGINS, Plaintiffs,
JEFF EVANS; SCOTT TANNER; LEON MCKINNEY; ANTHONY TILLMAN; ROBERT EUNICE; MARK MELTON; JOEY COLEMAN; and STACEY WILKERSON, in their official capacities, Defendants.
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
pretrial detainees at the Appling County Detention Center in
Baxley, Georgia, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 contesting their arrests by Defendants. (Doc. 1.)
For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES
Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma
Pauperis, (doc. 2). Additionally, I RECOMMEND that the
Court DISMISS Plaintiffs' Complaint WITHOUT PREJUDICE and
DENY Plaintiffs leave to appeal in forma pauperis.
attempt to bring this suit contesting their arrests by
Defendants. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiffs aver that Defendants
arrested and searched them on February 23, 2017, without
probable cause. (Id. at p. 16.) Plaintiffs request
as relief that they be given bond and allowed to read the
search warrants related to their arrests. (Id.)
seek to bring this action in forma pauperis and
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(1), the Court may authorize the filing of a civil
lawsuit without the prepayment of fees if the plaintiff
submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all of her
assets and shows an inability to pay the filing fee and also
includes a statement of the nature of the action which shows
that she is entitled to redress. Even if the plaintiff proves
indigence, the Court must dismiss the action if it is
frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). Additionally, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, the Court must review a complaint in which a
prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity. Upon such
screening, the Court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion
thereof, that is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
reviewing a Complaint on an application to proceed in
forma pauperis, the Court is guided by the instructions
for pleading contained in the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (“A pleading
that states a claim for relief must contain [among other
things] . . . a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 10 (requiring that claims be set forth in
numbered paragraphs, each limited to a single set of
circumstances). Further, a claim is frivolous under Section
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) “if it is ‘without arguable
merit either in law or fact.'” Napier v.
Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528, 531 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting
Bilal v. Driver, 251 F.3d 1346, 1349 (11th Cir.
a complaint fails to state a claim under Section
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Thompson v. Rundle, 393 F. App'x 675,
678 (11th Cir. 2010). Under that standard, this Court must
determine whether the complaint contains “sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A plaintiff must assert “more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not” suffice. Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555. Section 1915 also “accords judges not
only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual
power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual
allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless.” Bilal, 251
F.3d at 1349 (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 327 (1989)).
analysis, the Court will abide by the long-standing principle
that the pleadings of unrepresented parties are held to a
less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys and,
therefore, must be liberally construed. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Boxer X v.
Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006)
(“Pro se pleadings are held to a less
stringent standard than pleadings drafted by
attorneys.”) (emphasis omitted) (quoting Hughes v.
Lott, 350 F.3d 1157, 1160 (11th Cir. 2003)). However,
Plaintiffs' unrepresented status will not excuse mistakes
regarding procedural rules. McNeil v. United States,
508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993) (“We have never suggested that
procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be
interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed
Claims of Multiple Plaintiffs in One Action
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has considered the issue of
whether “the Prison Litigation Reform Act
[“PLRA”] permits multi-plaintiff in forma
pauperis [“IFP”] civil actions.”
Hubbard v. Haley, 262 F.3d 1194, 1196 (11th Cir.
2001). In Hubbard, the Court of Appeals noted that
“the intent of Congress in promulgating the PLRA was to
curtail abusive prisoner tort, civil rights and conditions of
confinement litigation.” Id. (citing
Anderson v. Singletary, 111 F.3d 801, 805 (11th Cir.
1997)). After interpreting the PLRA, the Eleventh Circuit
upheld a district court's dismissal of a
multiple-prisoner/plaintiff lawsuit wherein the plaintiffs
sought to proceed in forma pauperis together. The
Eleventh Circuit concluded that “the PLRA clearly and
unambiguously requires that ‘if a prisoner brings a
civil action or files an appeal [IFP], the prisoner shall be
required to pay the full amount of the filing
fee.'” Id. at 1197 (citing 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1)). Specifically, the Eleventh Circuit
affirmed the following procedure:
The district court never reached the merits of the case, but
instead dismissed the case, finding that each plaintiff had
to file a separate complaint and pay a separate filing fee.
To facilitate its ruling, the district court indicated that
it would open a new suit with a separate number in each of
the plaintiff's names and consider the original complaint
to be their complaints. The majority of the 18 plaintiffs had
already filed separate petitions to proceed IFP. The court
directed each of the remaining plaintiffs to file his own
form complaint and petition to proceed IFP. The court then
dismissed the original multi-plaintiff complaint without
Id. Ultimately, the Eleventh Circuit determined that
“the plain language of the PLRA requires that each
prisoner proceeding IFP pay the full ...