United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
who is currently housed at Long Unit in Ludowici, Georgia,
filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
contesting certain events which allegedly occurred at Jenkins
Correctional Facility in Millen, Georgia. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff
attempts to bring this cause of action on behalf of three (3)
other inmates. For the reasons set forth below, I
RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS without
prejudice the claims of the three (3) other inmates
listed on the Complaint form. I also
RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS without
prejudice Plaintiff's Complaint based on his
failure to exhaust his administrative remedies,
DIRECT the Clerk of Court to
CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate
judgment of dismissal, and DENY Plaintiff
in forma pauperis status on appeal.
Complaint, Plaintiff contends he was told on June 13, 2017,
that he could “not offer congregational prayer”
and that this had been the policy since December 2016. (Doc.
1, p. 5.) Plaintiff states he received a copy of this policy
bearing Defendant Robert Adams' signature. According to
Plaintiff, he is a practicing Muslim who must perform the
congregational prayer five (5) times a day and must face
east. (Id.) Plaintiff contends “their”
resolution is to allow Muslim adherents to pray parallel to
their bunks, which prevents him from facing east during his
prayers and from praying in congregation, as the Quran
prescribes. (Id.) Plaintiff avers that, if he prays
parallel to his bunk, it will prevent his cellmate from
accessing his bunk, which is a violation of the policy that
religious practices should not impose on another inmate.
Plaintiff alleges fourteen (14) Muslim inmates were caught
praying in congregation across three (3) dormitories.
Plaintiff contends he and the other inmates were taken to the
segregation unit and placed on pending investigation status
for seven (7) days. (Id.) Plaintiff maintains the
Georgia Department of Corrections is responsible for
“oppressing” his right to religious exercise
through this policy against congregational prayer, and
CoreCivic, Inc. is responsible for this
“oppression” because it enforces this policy.
(Id.) Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and
requests that the Georgia Department of Corrections terminate
this policy immediately. (Id. at p. 6.)
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, 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).
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)).
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 Fed.Appx. 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 . . .
.”) (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
Plaintiff's Efforts to Bring Suit on Behalf of Other
attempts to file a single action on behalf of three (3) other
inmates, ostensibly to circumvent or pro-rate payment of the
filing fee. The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996
(“PLRA”) provides that a prisoner bringing a
civil action in forma pauperis must pay the full
filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). The
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that the
language of the PLRA requires each prisoner to pay the full
amount of the filing fee or face dismissal of his case.
Hubbard v. Haley, 262 F.3d 1194, 1197-98 (11th Cir.
2001). Further, “[a]n individual unquestionably has the
right to litigate his own claims in federal court, before
both the district and appellate courts . . . . The right to
litigate for oneself, however, does not create a coordinate
right to litigate for others.” Walker v.
Brown, No. CV 112-105, 2012 WL 4049438, at *1 (S.D. Ga.
Aug.14, 2012) (citing Oxendine v. Williams, 509 F.2d
1405, 1407 (4th Cir. 1975) (holding that a pro se
prisoner may not litigate the interests of other prisoners in
class action)), report and recommendation adopted by
2012 WL 4052038 (S.D. Ga. Sept.13, 2012); see also
Wallace v. Smith, 145 Fed.Appx. 300, 302 (11th Cir.
2005) (per curiam) (same).
Plaintiff Thompson moved to proceed in forma
pauperis and was granted that status, the Court should
DISMISS without prejudice the claims of the
other three (3) inmates listed on the Complaint form. The
Court considers Plaintiff ...