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Easley v. Inch

United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Panama City Division

July 22, 2019

ROBERT EASLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK S. INCH, et al., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MICHAEL J. FRANK, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Robert Easley, a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, has filed a third amended civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 34), and a motion for permanent injunction. (Doc. 37). The undersigned recommends that this case be dismissed as malicious, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and 1915A(b)(1), for Easley's abuse of the judicial process in failing to completely and honestly disclose his prior litigation history.[1]

         I. Background

         Easley, DC#L11027, is an inmate of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) confined at the Northwest Florida Reception Center (NWFRC) in Chipley, Florida. Easley initiated this case on June 18, 2018, by filing a “Motion for Permanent/Temporary Injunction; Temporary Restraining Order; Memorandum of Law; and Request for Evidentiary Hearing.” (Doc. 1). The court struck the filing and ordered Easley to file a complaint on the Northern District of Florida's civil rights complaint form for use by prisoners. (Doc. 4). Easley eventually complied (Doc. 13), and has amended his complaint three times. (Docs. 27, 29, 34). Easley's third amended complaint is the operative pleading. (Doc. 34).

         Easley's third amended complaint names two Defendants: FDC Secretary Mark S. Inch and NWFRC Nurse Mary Pliskin. (Doc. 34, pp. 1-2 in ECF). Easley claims they violated his rights under the Civil Rights Act as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (RA), 29 U.S.C. § 794, when they denied him therapeutic soft shoes to accommodate his foot and back pain, diabetes, and neuropathy. (Doc. 34, pp. 6-11 in ECF). As relief, Easley seeks a total of $775, 000.00 in damages, as well as injunctive relief (the provision of various accommodations and medical passes). (Id., p. 12 in ECF). Easley's motion for a permanent injunction seeks to compel the FDC to provide him soft shoes, an ADA bed, an ADA locker, a back brace, button-up shirts, pain medications, muscle relaxers, epidural shots, physical therapy, and the following medical passes: front door access to the chow hall, front cuff, no prolonged sitting, and no recreation. (Doc. 37).

         II. Discussion

         A. Screening for Maliciousness

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), was enacted in “an effort to stem the flood of prisoner lawsuits in federal court.” Harris v. Garner, 216 F.3d 970, 972 (11th Cir. 2000) (en banc); see Procup v. Strickland, 792 F.2d 1069, 1071 (11th Cir. 1986) (per curiam) (“Recent years have witnessed an explosion of prisoner litigation in the federal courts.”). Under the PLRA, a federal court is required to screen a prisoner complaint to determine whether the action is frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A; see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (screening provision of in forma pauperis statute).

         When a complaint form requires a plaintiff to list his litigation history, and the plaintiff's statements are made under penalty of perjury, a plaintiff's affirmative misrepresentation regarding his prior litigation history constitutes abuse of the judicial process warranting dismissal of the case as “malicious.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and § 1915A(b)(1); Rivera v. Allin, 144 F.3d 719, 731 (11th Cir. 1998) (holding that dismissal of an action without prejudice as a sanction for a pro se prisoner's failure to disclose the existence of a prior lawsuit, where that prisoner was under penalty of perjury, was proper), abrogated in part on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 127 S.Ct. 910 (2007); see also, e.g., Sears v. Haas, 509 Fed.Appx. 935, 935-36 (11th Cir. 2013) (holding that dismissal of prisoner-plaintiff's case for abuse of the judicial process under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) was warranted where the prisoner failed to disclose cases he previously filed); Harris v. Warden, 498 Fed.Appx. 962, 964-65 (11th Cir. 2012) (same); Jackson v. Fla. Dep't of Corr., 491 Fed.Appx. 129, 132-33 (11th Cir. 2012) (same).

         B. Easley's Disclosures

         In each of his complaints, Easley provided answers to Section IV of this court's civil rights complaint form, which requires him to disclose his litigation history. (Doc. 34 at 3). On page three of the civil rights complaint form, Section IV(B), Previous Lawsuits, is the following question: “Have you initiated other actions in federal court dealing with the same or similar facts/issues involved in this action?” (Doc. 34, p. 3 in ECF). Where there are parenthetical areas to mark either a “Yes” or “No” answer to Question (B), Easley marked “Yes”, and disclosed one case:

(1) Easley v. Dep't of Corr., Case No. 1:11cv23547 - a civil rights action Easley filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (“Southern District”) in 2011 for medical deliberate indifference - an action Easley “lost in summary judgment stage” in 2014.

(Doc. 34, p. 3 in ECF).

         On page four of the civil rights complaint form, Section IV(C), Previous Lawsuits, is the following question: “Have you initiated other actions (besides those listed above in Questions (A) and (B))[2] in either state or federal court that relate to the fact or manner of your incarceration (including habeas corpus petitions) or the conditions of your confinement (including civil rights complaints about any aspect of prison life, whether it be general circumstances or a particular episode, and whether it involved excessive force or some other wrong)?” (Doc. 34, p. 4 in ECF) (footnote added). Where ...


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