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Parks v. State

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division

January 2, 2018

ROBERT PARKS, Plaintiff,
STATE OF GEORGIA, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at Augusta State Medical Prison in Grovetown, Georgia, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff also filed a Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc. 3.) This Court deferred ruling on Plaintiff's Motion by Order dated July 10, 2017, because Plaintiff did not file his Motion on the Court's preferred forms and because Plaintiff's claims were unrelated to each other. (Doc. 8.) The Court ordered Plaintiff to correct the deficiencies in his Motion and to amend his Complaint appropriately within fourteen (14) days of its Order and warned Plaintiff that his failure to do so would result in the dismissal of his Complaint. (Id. at pp. 4, 7.) Plaintiff re-submitted his Motion on the proper forms and has filed an Amended Complaint and various other Motions.

         For the reasons which follow, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motions for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, (docs. 3, 9). For purposes of the Court's frivolity review, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motions to Amend his Complaint, (docs. 11, 14). The Court also DENIES Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel, (doc. 11), and DISMISSES as moot Plaintiff's Motions for Documents, (docs. 18, 20). For these same reasons, I RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS without prejudice Plaintiff's Complaint based on his failure to follow this Court's Order, DISMISS as moot the remaining Motions for Protective Order, (docs. 11, 17), and DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal. Additionally, I RECOMMEND the Court DENY Plaintiff leave to appeal in forma pauperis.


         Plaintiff brings his Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his Complaint, Plaintiff asserts Defendants “have cause[d him] to suffer grievous harm” and the “deprivation” of his rights. (Doc. 1, p. 2.) Plaintiff also asserts the State of Georgia has committed fraud, torture, torment, controlling abuse, molestation, vexatious acts, annoyance, and irritation, all of which have caused him pain and suffering. Additionally, Plaintiff maintains the “administration” has intercepted his mail and phone calls. (Id.) Plaintiff avers the Department of Corrections is using computers on him and the citizens of the State of Georgia, which causes blindness, and these computers have instituted plots to have Plaintiff killed, including at Wheeler Correctional Facility. He contends undisclosed staff and other inmates have beaten him, almost putting him in a coma. Plaintiff states he was placed in a cell at Georgia State Prison with an inmate who attempted to kill Plaintiff with a shank. When the attempt to kill him failed, Plaintiff was placed in a cell containing a toilet full of toxic feces. (Id.) Plaintiff also states he has been placed in the mental health unit while housed in Augusta State Medical Prison, yet he does not suffer from mental health issues. In his Amended Complaint and his Motions to Amend, Plaintiff sets forth many of the same allegations as he did in his original Complaint, although he does name individually-named entities as Defendants. (Docs. 10, 11, 14.)


         Plaintiff seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis. 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, 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).

         The Court looks to the instructions for pleading contained in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when reviewing a Complaint on an application to proceed in forma pauperis. 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. 2001)).

         Whether 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)).

         In its 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 . . . .”) (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 without counsel.”).


         I. Dismissal for Failure to Follow this Court's Orders

         The Court advised Plaintiff that his Complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The Court noted Plaintiff's factual allegations but warned him that he did not name an entity amenable to suit and that his claims were unrelated to each other. (Doc. 8, pp. 6-7.) The Court advised Plaintiff that he should submit an Amended Complaint that “set[s] forth allegations indicating that his constitutional rights have been violated and by whom his rights have been violated.” (Id.) While Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, as explained below, he failed to explain how the entities named in his Amended Complaint violated his rights or are “persons” subject to suit pursuant to Section 1983. The Court forewarned Plaintiff that, if he did not file an Amended Complaint which complied with the Court's instructions, the Court could dismiss his Complaint for failure to follow the Court's Order. (Id. at p. 7.) However, Plaintiff ignored the Court's instructions and failed to file an appropriate Amended Complaint.

         A district court may dismiss a plaintiff's claims sua sponte pursuant to either Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) (“Rule 41(b)”) or the court's inherent authority to manage its docket. Link v. Wabash R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626 (1962); Coleman v. St. Lucie Cty. Jail, 433 F. App'x 716, 718 (11th Cir. 2011) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b) and Betty K Agencies, Ltd. v. M/V MONADA, 432 F.3d 1333, 1337 (11th Cir. 2005)). In particular, Rule 41(b) allows for the involuntary dismissal of a plaintiff's claims where he has failed to prosecute those claims, comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or local rules, or follow a court order. Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b); see also Coleman, 433 F. App'x at 718; Sanders v. Barrett, No. 05-12660, 2005 WL 2640979, at *1 (11th Cir. Oct. 17, 2005) (citing Kilgo v. Ricks, 983 F.2d 189, 192 (11th Cir. 1993)); cf. Local R. 41.1(b) (“[T]he assigned Judge may, after notice to counsel of record, sua sponte . . . dismiss any action for want of prosecution, with or without prejudice[, ] . . . [based on] willful disobedience or neglect of any order of the Court.” (emphasis omitted)). ...

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