United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Gainesville Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. JONES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
initiated this case by filing a handwritten complaint and a
motion for a preliminary injunction. ECF Nos. 1, 2. Plaintiff
has been granted leave to proceed as a pauper by separate
order. ECF No. 12. At the time the complaint was filed,
Plaintiff was confined at the Alachua County Jail. He was
subsequently transferred to the North Florida Evaluation and
Treatment Center in late April 2017. ECF No. 10. He was
returned Alachua County Jail before being transferred again
to the Florida State Hospital, where he remains as of this
date. ECF Nos. 17, 23.
March 8, 2017, the Court ordered Plaintiff to file an amended
complaint on the Court's form. The motion for a
preliminary injunction was stricken as facially deficient.
ECF No. 4. Plaintiff received extensions of time to file an
amended complaint. ECF Nos. 11, 14. When Plaintiff failed to
comply within the allotted time, the Court recommended that
the case be dismissed. ECF No. 16. Plaintiff objected,
informing the Court that he had been transferred, and the
Court withdrew the R&R and ordered Plaintiff to file his
amended complaint by August 10, 2017. ECF No. 20.
filed an amended complaint on August 14, 2017. ECF No. 22.
The Court screened the amended complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), which provides that the Court shall
dismiss the complaint if it is “(I) frivolous or
malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief from a defendant
who is immune from such relief.” The allegations of the
amended complaint stem from incidents that occurred while
Plaintiff was confined at the Alachua County Jail. Plaintiff
alleged that mailroom staff at the Alachua County Jail
mishandled some of Plaintiff's mail, in violation of his
constitutional rights. Plaintiff sought monetary damages for
“pain, suffering, and legal fees” as well as
injunctive relief against the Jail. ECF No. 22.
to the Prison Litigation Reform Act, a prisoner may not bring
a federal civil action “for mental or emotional injury
suffered while in custody without a prior showing of physical
injury.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997(e); Smith v.
Allen 502 F.3d 1255, 1271 (11th Cir. 2007)
(citing Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528, 532 (11th
Cir.2002)). The Court concluded that Plaintiff's claims
do not concern any physical injury, and therefore he has no
claim for compensatory damages. The Court further concluded
that any claim for injunctive relief is moot because
Plaintiff is no longer confined at the Alachua County Jail.
Thus, even if Plaintiff is able to successfully establish the
violation of a constitutional right in connection with his
mail, he would only be able to recover nominal damages -
typically $1.00. Plaintiff has no claim for “legal
fees” because he is proceeding pro se. The
Court entered an order explaining this reasoning and gave
Plaintiff an opportunity to file a second amended complaint
clarifying that he may only seek nominal damages in this
case. ECF No. 24.
second amended complaint, ECF No. 26, suffered from multiple
defects. The second amended complaint was unsigned. It was 99
pages in length, including incorporated exhibits. Local Rule
5.7(B) provides that a complaint must not exceed 25 pages
unless the Court authorizes it. In addition, Plaintiff failed
to clarify whether he intended to pursue a claim for nominal
damages only in connection with his assertion that his
constitutional rights were violated by the Alachua County
Jail mailroom staff. The second amended complaint wholly
failed to state what relief Plaintiff sought. ECF No. 26.
of these defects, the Court determined that the second
amended complaint should be stricken, and required Plaintiff
to show cause by November 27, 2017, as to why this case
should not be dismissed for failure to comply with the
Court's orders and failure to prosecute. ECF No. 29.
case is now before the Court on Plaintiff's construed
motion for reconsideration, entitled “petition of mercy
and acceptance of resubmitted amended complaint.” ECF
No. 30. Plaintiff alleges that he resubmitted an amended
complaint, but no amended complaint has been received by the
Court. Plaintiff submitted a handwritten “statement of
facts” that includes one page of the Court's
complaint form. That page reflects that Plaintiff continues
to seek monetary damages for pain, suffering, and emotional
distress as well as legal fees. Id. at 30-1 p. 4.
has also filed a motion for leave to file excess pages,
entitled “writ of prohibition/petition for leave to
exceed civil complaint form page limit.” ECF No. 32.
Plaintiff restates his basic first amendment claim regarding
the alleged mail room violations, but the motion provides no
basis for the Court to conclude that Plaintiff should be
allowed to file an amended complaint in excess of the Local
Rules' 25-page limit.
construed as a response to the show cause order, neither of
these pleadings establish cause for failing to comply with
the Court's order to file a signed amended complaint, on
the Court's form, that seeks relief that can be granted
if Plaintiff were to succeed on his first amendment claim -
in this case, only nominal damages. Plaintiff continues to
seek relief in the form of compensatory damages for mental
and emotional distress; such damages are barred on the facts
alleged. See ECF No. 30-1.
Court therefore concludes that Plaintiff has failed to show
cause as to why this case should not be dismissed. First,
Plaintiff has failed, despite numerous opportunities, to
comply with the Court's clear and explicit orders to file
a signed amended complaint that complies with the Local
Rules. Second, Plaintiff has failed to establish that this
case should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted because his claim for
compensatory damages is barred by the PLRA, as explained
it is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff's
motion for reconsideration, ECF No. 30, and motion for leave
to file excess pages, ECF No. 32, are
respectfully RECOMMENDED that this case
should be DISMISSED for failure to comply
with an order of the Court and failure to ...