United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
NATHAN L. COOKE, Plaintiff,
HOMER BRYSON, et al., Defendants.
Christopher L. Ray United States Magistrate Judge.
pro se and in forma pauperis (IFP), Nathan
L. Cooke has filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against various
prison officials and staff involved in his medical care while
incarcerated. Docs. 1, 13 & 14. He seeks declaratory and
injunctive relief, as well as compensatory damages against
defendants, jointly and severally. Id. at 12. This
is all laid out in his own handwritten statements, in lieu of
utilizing the Court's § 1983 civil rights complaint
federal courts have long made available to jails and prisons
specific forms for filing habeas and civil rights cases. In
Williams v. Freesemann, 2015 WL 6798946 at * 1 n. 4
(S.D. Ga. Oct. 15, 2015), this Court noted that some
inmate-litigants bypass those forms in favor of
“home-brewed” filings. Adverse factors can
motivate that effort. The Court's forms force inmates to
answer questions aimed at capturing things like 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(g) strikes and repeat (e.g., successive
writ) habeas filings. See, e.g., Bright v.
Corizon Health Corp., 2015 WL 9257155 at * 1 (S.D. Ga.
Dec. 18, 2015) (“Bright's incentive to omit his
prior case information is strong because of the §
1915(g) three-strike bar.”). “Home-brewers”
typically omit those prophylactic questions from their
filings. While Cooke's handwritten complaint closely
tracks the Court's form, it notably omits any
mention of these key questions. Plaintiff must complete and
sign his form Complaint answering these questions before the
Court can screen it.
issue arises before the Court can screen plaintiff's
Complaint. A complaint must contain a “short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). While detailed
factual allegations are not required, “[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). In other words, a complaint may not simply allege a
wrong has been committed and demand relief. The pleading
standard “demands more than an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation[;]” the
complaint must contain “sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570). Further, while
factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions
are not. Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at
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. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). This liberal
construction does not mean, however, that the court has a
duty to re-write the complaint. Snow v. DirecTV,
Inc., 450 F.3d 1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2006). Cooke's
meandering, chronologically incoherent filing must be
rewritten to set forth the harm he suffered and the relief he
seeks. Amendment is necessary.
plaintiff must submit his Amended Complaint on this
Court's form within 14 days of the date this Order is
served. Plaintiff is therefore ORDERED to
complete the attached Form to be Used by Prisoners in
Filing a Complaint Under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, which requires that prisoner plaintiffs
disclose: (1) whether they have brought other federal
lawsuits while incarcerated, (2) whether they were allowed to
proceed IFP in any such lawsuits, and (3) whether any such
suit was dismissed on the ground that it was frivolous,
malicious, or failed to state a claim.
Failure to comply with this order within 14 days
from the date this Order is served will result in a
recommendation that this case be
it is time for plaintiff to pay his filing fee. His PLRA
paperwork reflects $0 in average monthly deposits over the
six month period prior to the date of his Prison Account
Statement. Doc. 12. He therefore owes no initial partial
filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)
(requiring an initial fee assessment “when funds exist,
” under a specific 20 percent formula). Plaintiffs
custodian (or designee) shall therefore set aside 20 percent
of all future deposits to his account, then forward those
funds to the Clerk each time the set aside amount reaches
$10.00, until the balance of the Court's $350.00 filing
fee has been paid in full.
 This Court's § 1983 complaint
form, which is available to all prisons and jails,
inmates to disclose prior lawsuits. That data is necessary to
enforce the “Three Strikes” rule illuminated in
Owens v. Morales, 2015 WL 5040245 at * 1 (S.D. Ga.
Aug. 25, 2015). See Boney v. Hickey, 2014 WL 4103918
at * 4-5 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 15, 2014) (collecting cases that
discuss what constitutes a 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) strike,
three of which can lead to a substantial curtailment on an
inmate's ability to proceed IFP).
Under the question concerning whether a prisoner
plaintiff has brought any lawsuits in federal court dealing
with the facts other than those involved in this action,
plaintiff must specifically describe each such
lawsuit, and if there is more than one such lawsuit, the
additional lawsuits must be described on another piece of
 To aid Cooke in his endeavor, the
Clerk is DIRECTED to enclose copies of his
Complaint and amendments (docs. 1, 13 & 14). However,
plaintiff is warned that his amended complaint will supersede
the original complaint and therefore must be complete in
itself. Once he files his amended complaint, the prior
pleadings will no longer serve any function in the case.
See Malowney v. Fed. Collection Deposit Grp, 193
F.3d 1342, 1345 n.1 (11th Cir. 1999) (“An amended
complaint supersedes an original complaint”);
Varnes v. Local 91, Glass Bottle Blowers Ass'n of
U.S. & Canada, 674 F.2d 1365, 1370 n.6 (11th Cir.
1982) (“As a general rule, an amended complaint
supersedes and replaces the original complaint unless the
amendment specifically refers to or adopts the earlier
The Clerk is DIRECTED
to send this Order to plaintiffs account custodian
immediately, as this payment directive is nondispositive
within the meaning of Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a), so no Rule 72(b)
adoption is required. In the event he is transferred to
another institution, his present custodian shall forward a
copy of this Order and all financial information concerning
payment of the filing fee and costs in this case to
plaintiffs new custodian. The balance due from plaintiff
shall be collected by ...