United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
CARLOS R. JOHNSON, JR., Plaintiff,
BOBBITT TREVONZA; SANDY JACKSON; LIEUTENANT SHARP; SERGEANT ANTHONY; OFFICER FIRST SHIFT; JOHN DOE 1; and JOHN DOE 2, Defendants.
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
an inmate at Augusta State Medical Prison in Grovetown,
Georgia, brought this suit contesting certain conditions of
his confinement while he was housed at Georgia State Prison
in Reidsville, Georgia. (Doc. 1.) For the reasons which
follow, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's
Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc.
2.) Additionally, I RECOMMEND that the Court
DISMISS without prejudice Plaintiff's
Complaint, (doc. 1), and DIRECT the Clerk of
Court to CLOSE this case. I also
RECOMMEND that the Court
DENY Plaintiff in forma pauperis
status on appeal.
filed a Complaint on July 31, 2017, alleging that Defendants
assaulted him. (Doc. 1, p. 5.) Plaintiff requests
compensatory damages from each Defendant in the amount of
$50, 000, as well as $60, 000 in punitive damages.
seeks 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 his
assets and shows an inability to pay the filing fee and also
includes a statement of the nature of the action which shows
that he 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, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted or which 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,
Plaintiff's 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
Dismissal for Abuse of Judicial Process
noted above, Plaintiff has moved to proceed in forma
pauperis in this action. The form Complaint filed by
Plaintiff directly asked whether Plaintiff had filed any
“lawsuits in federal court which deal with facts other
than those involved in this action” and directed
Plaintiff to describe any additional lawsuits. (Doc. 1, p.
2.) In response, Plaintiff indicated that he had not filed
any such lawsuits. (Id.) Despite Plaintiff's
assertion to the contrary, the case management system shows
that Plaintiff has brought at least one additional lawsuit in
federal court while he was incarcerated or detained prior to
filing this action: Compl., Johnson v. Jackson, et
al., 6:17-cv-80 (S.D. Ga. June 14, 2017), ECF No. 1. In
fact, that case is still pending before this Court.
previously stated, Section 1915 requires a court to dismiss a
prisoner's action if, at any time, the court determines
that it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim, or
seeks relief from an immune defendant. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Significantly, “[a] finding that the
plaintiff engaged in bad faith litigiousness or manipulative
tactics warrants dismissal” under Section 1915.
Redmon v. Lake Cty. Sheriff's Office, 414 F.
App'x 221, 225 (11th Cir. 2011) (alteration in original)
(quoting Attwood v. Singletary, 105 F.3d 610, 613
(11th Cir. 1997)). In addition, Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 11(c) permits a court to impose sanctions,
including dismissal, for “knowingly fil[ing] a pleading
that contains false contentions.” Id. at
225-26 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c)). Again, although pro
se pleadings are to be construed liberally, “a
plaintiff's pro se status will not excuse
mistakes regarding procedural rules.” Id. at
on this authority, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh
Circuit has consistently upheld the dismissal of cases where
a pro se prisoner plaintiff has failed to disclose
his previous lawsuits as required on the face of the Section
1983 complaint form. See, e.g., Redmon, 414
F. App'x at 226 (pro se prisoner's
nondisclosure of prior litigation in Section 1983 complaint
amounted to abuse of judicial process resulting in sanction
of dismissal); Shelton v. Rohrs, 406 F. App'x
340, 341 (11th Cir. 2010) (same); Young v. Sec'y Fla.
for Dep't of Corr., 380 F. App'x 939, 941 (11th
Cir. 2010) (same); Hood v. Tompkins, 197 F.
App'x 818, 819 (11th Cir. 2006) (same). Even where the
prisoner has later provided an explanation for his lack of
candor, the Court has generally rejected the proffered reason
as unpersuasive. See, e.g., Redmon, 414 F.
App'x at 226 (“The district court did not abuse its
discretion in concluding that Plaintiff's explanation for
his failure to disclose the Colorado lawsuit-that he
misunderstood the form- did not excuse the misrepresentation
and that dismissal was a proper sanction.”);
Shelton, 406 F. App'x at 341 (“Even if
[the plaintiff] did not have access to his materials, he
would have known that he filed multiple previous
lawsuits.”); Young, 380 F. App'x at 941
(finding that not having documents concerning prior
litigation and not being able to pay for copies of same did
not absolve prisoner ...