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Bradley v. Augusta State Medical Prison Dental Department

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

February 21, 2018




         Plaintiff, an inmate at Hays State Prison in Trion, Georgia, is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis (“IFP”) in this civil rights case. Because he is proceeding IFP, Plaintiff's pleadings must be screened to protect potential defendants. Phillips v. Mashburn, 746 F.2d 782, 785 (11th Cir. 1984); Al-Amin v. Donald, 165 Fed.Appx. 733, 736 (11th Cir. 2006). The Court affords a liberal construction to a pro se litigant's pleadings, holding them to a more lenient standard than those drafted by an attorney, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), but the Court may dismiss the complaint or any portion thereof if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune to such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b).

         On February 2, 2018, the Court screened Plaintiff's original complaint, but because of pleading deficiencies, could not determine whether Plaintiff had any viable claims. (See doc. no. 14.) The Court gave Plaintiff an opportunity to attempt to cure those pleading deficiencies by allowing him fourteen days to file an amended complaint. (See id.) That amended complaint, signed February 7, 2018, is now before the Court. Not only did Plaintiff fail to address the previously identified pleading deficiencies, but after a review of Plaintiff's prior history of case filings, the Court REPORTS and RECOMMENDS this action be DISMISSED without prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A prisoner attempting to proceed IFP in a civil action in federal court must comply with the mandates of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996). 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) of the PLRA provides:

In no event shall a prisoner bring a civil action or appeal a judgment in a civil action or proceeding under this section if the prisoner has, on 3 or more prior occasions, while incarcerated or detained in any facility, brought an action or appeal in a court of the United States that was dismissed on the grounds that it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury.

         “This provision of the PLRA, commonly known as the three strikes provision, requires frequent filer prisoners to prepay the entire filing fee before federal courts may consider their lawsuits and appeals.” Rivera v. Allin, 144 F.3d 719, 723 (11th Cir. 1998) (internal citations omitted), abrogated on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). The Eleventh Circuit has upheld the constitutionality of § 1915(g) because it does not violate an inmate's right to access the courts, the doctrine of separation of powers, an inmate's right to due process of law, or an inmate's right to equal protection. Id. at 721-27.

         To that end, the “Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights (Prisoner Complaint)” requires that prisoner plaintiffs disclose: (1) whether they have begun other lawsuits in state or federal court dealing with the same facts involved in the current action, (2) whether they have brought any state or federal lawsuits otherwise relating to the conditions of their imprisonment, and (3) the disposition of any such lawsuits. (Doc. no. 17, pp. 8-10.) Under the questions concerning whether a prisoner plaintiff has brought any lawsuits dealing with the same facts involved in this action or facts other than those involved in this action, the prisoner plaintiff who has brought any such lawsuits is specifically instructed to describe each lawsuit, including the court hearing the case, the date of filing, and disposition. (Id.) If there is more than one such lawsuit, the additional lawsuits must be described on another piece of paper. (Id. at 9-10.) By affixing his signature to the complaint form, Plaintiff certifies the accuracy of the information contained therein in accordance with Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Id. at 11.)


         Here, Plaintiff identified only one other lawsuit he filed based on the same or different facts as those in the instant complaint. (Id. at 9-10.) The Court is aware of at least six other cases Plaintiff filed in federal court prior to signing his amended complaint on February 7, 2018, two of which appear to have some factual similarity to the instant case in that they relate to a jaw injury and/or the treatment Plaintiff has received for it. See Bradley v. Wendy, 4:17-CV-0297 (N.D.Ga. Dec. 27, 2017); Bradley v. Gilbert, 4:17-CV-0298 (N.D.Ga. Dec. 27, 2017). At least one other case relates to his conditions of imprisonment, Bradley v. Lucas, 4:18-CV-0006 (N.D.Ga. Jan. 10, 2018). Plaintiff's other three cases relate to alleged civil rights violations regarding the manner in which his conviction was obtained and the manner in which his divorce proceedings were conducted. See Bradley v. Boswell, 4:18-CV-0008 (N.D.Ga. Jan. 10, 2018); Bradley v. Boswell, 4:18-CV-0007 (N.D.Ga. Jan. 10, 2018); Bradley v. Marx, 3:17-CV-3317 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 5, 2017).

         The Eleventh Circuit has approved of dismissing a case based on dishonesty in a complaint. In Rivera, the Court of Appeals reviewed a prisoner plaintiff's filing history for the purpose of determining whether prior cases counted as “strikes” under the PLRA and stated:

The district court's dismissal without prejudice in Parker is equally, if not more, strike-worthy. In that case, the court found that Rivera had lied under penalty of perjury about the existence of a prior lawsuit, Arocho. As a sanction, the court dismissed the action without prejudice, finding that Rivera “abuse[d] the judicial process[.]”

Rivera, 144 F.3d at 731; see also Sears v. Haas, 509 Fed.Appx. 935, 936 (11th Cir. 2013) (affirming dismissal of complaint where prisoner plaintiff failed to accurately disclose previous litigation); Redmon v. Lake Cty. Sheriff's Office, 414 Fed.Appx. 221, 223, 226 (11th Cir. 2011) (affirming dismissal, after directing service of process, of amended complaint raising claims that included denial of proper medical care and cruel and unusual punishment for placement in a “restraint chair” and thirty-seven days of solitary confinement upon discovering prisoner plaintiff failed to disclose one prior federal lawsuit); Young v. Sec'y Fla. Dep't of Corr., 380 Fed.Appx. 939, 940-41 (11th Cir. 2010) (affirming dismissal of third amended complaint based on a plaintiff's failure to disclose prior cases on the court's complaint form); Alexander v. Salvador, No. 5:12cv15, 2012 WL 1538368 (N.D. Fla. Mar. 21, 2012) (dismissing case alleging deliberate indifference to serious medical needs where plaintiff failed to disclose new case commenced in interim between filing original complaint and second amended complaint), adopted by, Alexander v. Salvador, No. 5:12cv15, 2012 WL 1538336 (N.D. Fla. May 2, 2012).

         The practice of dismissing a case as a sanction for providing false information about prior filing history is also well established in the Southern District of Georgia. See, e.g., Brown v. Wright CV 111-044 (S.D. Ga. June 17, 2011); Hood v. Tompkins, CV 605-094 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 31, 2005), affd,197 Fed.Appx. 818 (11th Cir. 2006). As discussed above, Plaintiffs answers about filing other federal lawsuits ...

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