United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Panama City Division
JESSE ELIJAH ROGERS, Inmate No. 590268959, Plaintiff,
HOLMES COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
ELIZABETH M. TIMOTHY CHIEF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
cause is before the court on Plaintiff's civil rights
complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (ECF No.
1). Leave to proceed in forma pauperis has been granted (ECF
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the court must
review the complaint and dismiss it if satisfied that the
action “is (i) frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Having
conducted a thorough review, the court is satisfied that this
action is malicious and thus recommends dismissal under
main, Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at Holmes
County Work Camp, claims he has been denied adequate access
to a law library so that he can prosecute his criminal
appeals. Plaintiff also complains of various other conditions
of his confinement.
VIII of the complaint form requires Plaintiff to disclose
information regarding prior civil cases he filed in state and
federal court (ECF No. 1 at 14-17).Question A of Section VIII
asks: “To the best of your knowledge, have you had any
case dismissed for a reason listed in § 1915(g) which
counts as a strike?” Plaintiff answered “no” to
the question (id. at 15). Question B of Section VIII
asks the following question: “Have you filed other
lawsuits in either state or federal court dealing with the
same facts or issue involved in this case?” Plaintiff
also answered “no” to this question
(id.). Question C of Section VIII asks, “Have
you filed any other lawsuit in federal court either
challenging your conviction or otherwise relating to the
conditions of your confinement?” In response to this
question, Plaintiff identified one case, No.
in effect, Plaintiff has stated that he has filed no previous
federal cases in federal court that were dismissed for a
reason listed in § 1915(g) and thereby counted as a
“strike” under that section, nor has he filed any
other cases besides No. 5:17cv270/MCR/EMT that dealt with the
conditions of his confinement.
following warning appears at the end of Section VIII,
“Failure to disclose all prior cases may result in the
dismissal of this case” (id. at 17).
Additionally, in Section IX, Plaintiff signed his name after
the following statement on the form: “I declare under
penalty of perjury that the foregoing (including all
continuation pages) is true and correct” (id.
routinely recognized by this court, the information gathered
from the complaint form about previous cases is useful to the
court in many ways:
. . . it allows efficient consideration of whether the
prisoner is entitled to pursue the current action under the
“three strikes” provision of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act; it allows consideration of whether the
action is related to, or otherwise should be considered in
conjunction with or by the same judge who presided over,
another action; it allows consideration of whether any ruling
in the other action affects the prisoner's current case.
All of these things are appropriately considered in
connection with the preliminary review of such a complaint
under the Prison Litigation Reform Act.
Spires v. Taylor, Order of Dismissal, No.
3:00cv249-RH (N.D. Fla. Oct. 27, 2000). Further, because
prisoner plaintiffs generally proceed pro se, the information
helps the court determine their litigation experience and
familiarity with the legal terrain of the current action. The
time spent verifying the cases a plaintiff has filed but
failed to identify, as well as the dispositions of those
cases, can be considerable.
review of the docket, this court takes judicial notice that,
as of the date Plaintiff filed his complaint, he had
previously filed Rogers v. Tate, No.
5:17cv161/MCR/GRJ, in this district on June 16,
2017. This case largely concerned the conditions
of confinement at Holmes County Work Camp, where Plaintiff
contends that as a pretrial detainee his Sixth Amendment
right of access to the courts was abridged because Defendant
Sheriff John Tate did not provide him adequate access to the
legal library at the Work Camp so that he could properly
represent himself in his criminal case. See No.
5:17cv161/MCR/GRJ, ECF Nos. 1 at 5-7, 5 at 1-2. On July 10,
2017, that case was dismissed for failure to state a claim
upon which relief could be granted and was assessed a
“strike” under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). See
id., ECF Nos. 5, 7, 8. As can readily be determined,
this previous case presents virtually the same factual
situation as the one presently before the court, and it
surely presents the same legal issue.
Plaintiff previously filed a case in federal court but failed
to disclose it on the complaint form even though it should
have been identified under Question A as a previous case that
was dismissed and given a “strike” under Section
1915(g); under Question B as a case that dealt with the same
facts and issue (insufficient access to a legal library) as
the instant case; and under Question C as a previous case
that dealt with the conditions of his confinement.
court has authority to control and manage matters such as
this pending before it, and Plaintiff's pro se status
does not excuse him from conforming to acceptable standards
in approaching the court. If the court cannot rely on the
statements or responses made by the parties, the quality of
justice is threatened. The court will not tolerate false
responses or statements in any pleading or motion filed
before it. Here, Plaintiff falsely responded to questions on
the complaint form, as detailed above. Plaintiff knew, or
from reading the complaint form should have known, that
disclosure of his prior actions was required and that
dismissal of the action may result from his untruthful
answers. If Plaintiff suffered no penalty for his untruthful
responses, there would be little or no disincentive for his
attempt to evade or undermine the purpose of the form.
Furthermore, if word spread around the prisons that the
questions on the complaint form could be circumvented in such
a manner, the court might be confronted with widespread abuse
from its many prisoner litigants. Therefore, this court
should not allow Plaintiff's false responses to go
court recommends that an appropriate sanction for
Plaintiff's abuse of the judicial process in not
providing the court with true factual statements or responses
is to dismiss this cause without
prejudice.See, e.g., Hanson v.
McCaul, No. 4:09cv126-SPM/WCS, 2009 WL 3010481, at **1-2
(N.D. Fla. Sept. 16, 2009) (dismissing case without prejudice
for prisoner plaintiff's failure to disclose two federal
cases (both of which were previously dismissed for failure to
comply with court orders) on complaint form which required
prisoner litigants to list all other cases that plaintiff had
previously initiated in state and federal court); Thomas
v. Ammons, No. CV409-139, 2009 WL 5174109, at **1-3
(S.D. Ga. Dec. 23, 2009) (dismissing case without prejudice
for prisoner plaintiff's failure to disclose four federal
cases (two of which were previously dismissed for failure to
comply with court orders and the other two were previously
voluntarily dismissed by plaintiff) on complaint form which
demanded litigation information regarding “any lawsuits
brought in federal court . . .”). Plaintiff should also
be warned that such ...