United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division
ORDER AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
THAI CANNON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on an amended complaint filed by
the Plaintiff, Eric Lee Youngs, on July 19, 2019. ECF Doc.
11. Previously, the undersigned issued a Report and
Recommendation that this case be dismissed without prejudice
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) as frivolous or
malicious or under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) for
Plaintiff's failure to prosecute and failure to follow
orders of the Court - namely because Plaintiff failed to file
a second amended complaint as directed (ECF Docs. 8, 9). ECF
Doc. 10. For the reasons which follow, that earlier Report
and Recommendation is vacated and replaced with the Report
and Recommendation below.
April 9, 2019, the Court denied without prejudice the
Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis
(ECF Doc. 7) and warned the Plaintiff that his first amended
complaint failed to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8. ECF Doc. 8. The order directed the Plaintiff to file, by
May 9, 2019, a complete in forma pauperis
application and a second amended complaint which remedied the
defects of the first amended complaint. Id. at 3.
Plaintiff was warned that “failure to timely comply
with this order as instructed, including Plaintiff's
failure to provide a clear and legible second amended
complaint, will result in a recommendation that this case be
dismissed for failure to comply with a court order without
further notice.” Id.
failed to file either a new in forma pauperis
application or a second amended complaint by May 9, 2019, so
on May 21, 2019, the Court issued an order directing
Plaintiff to show cause by June 4, 2019 why his case should
not be recommended for dismissal for failure to prosecute or
to follow an order of the Court. ECF Doc. 9. Plaintiff did
not respond by June 4, 2019, so on June 20, 2019 the Court
issued the Report and Recommendation at ECF Doc. 10,
recommending that this matter be dismissed without
prejudice. Rather than file objections to the Report
and Recommendation, the Plaintiff, on July 19, 2019, filed
another complaint using the Northern District's civil
rights complaint form, which the clerk docketed as a
“First Amended Complaint, ” and is really a
second amended complaint. ECF Doc. 11.
light of the Eleventh Circuit's “‘strong
policy of determining cases on their merits[, ]'”
Perez v. Wells Fargo N.A., 774 F.3d 1329, 1339
(11th Cir. 2014) (quoting Fla. Physician's
Ins. Co., Inc. v. Ehlers, 8 F.3d 780, 783
(11th Cir. 1993)), the undersigned finds that it
is appropriate to vacate the previous Report and
Recommendation and consider whether Plaintiff's second
amended complaint states a cause of action entitling him to
relief. The undersigned finds it does not.
like each of the prior complaints, Plaintiff's proposed
amended complaint is both illegible and, where the
handwriting can be read, mainly incomprehensible. Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides that a “pleading
that states a claim for relief must contain: (1) a short and
plain statement of the grounds for the court's
jurisdiction ..., [and] (2) a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1)-(2). “The point is
to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and
the grounds upon which it rests.” Harrison v.
Benchmark Elecs. Huntsville, Inc., 593 F.3d 1206, 1214
(11th Cir. 2010). A pleading where “it is virtually
impossible to know which allegations of fact are intended to
support which claim(s) for relief” does not comply with
that standard. Peavey v. Black, 476 Fed.Appx. 697,
699 (11th Cir. 2012) (citing Anderson v. Dist. Bd. of
Trs. of Ctr. Fla. Cmty. Coll., 77 F.3d 364, 366-67 (11th
Cir. 1996). Specifically, the Eleventh Circuit in
Peavey instructed as follows:
The district court did not abuse its discretion in
dismissing, without leave to amend, Peavey's second
amended complaint for his third failure to comply with Rule
8(a). The district court's orders twice instructed Peavey
how to file properly an amended complaint that conformed to
Rule 8(a). Yet Peavey's second amended complaint still
was unintelligible, indecipherable, and replete with
irrelevant facts, making it impossible for the defendants to
know what Peavey is claiming, against whom, and on what
grounds. Peavey also failed to identify any basis for the
court's exercise of subject matter jurisdiction over
Geithner. The district court did not abuse its discretion in
ruling that after three strikes Peavey was out.
476 Fed.Appx. 697, 699 (11th Cir. 2012).
instant case, it is similarly impossible to discern what
Plaintiff is claiming, against whom, and on what grounds. For
example, Plaintiff identifies the defendant as Volusia County
Correctional Jail in the style of the case, and then
identifies “Sargent” and “Officer McMullen
(witness)” under the section of the form requiring him
to identify the “Defendants” by name, position,
employment and address. ECF Doc. 11 at 2. He provides no
other identifying information. Also, even after three tries,
the second amended complaint at ECF Doc. 11 fails to make
clear where the events described therein took place --
specifically, whether they occurred at Volusia County
Correctional Jail (located in the Middle District) or at
Florida State Hospital at Chattahoochee (located in the
Northern District). ECF Doc. 11 at 6 (referencing Florida
State Hospital, where he is currently in custody). Thus, like
the plaintiff in Peavey, Plaintiff has failed to
allege what his claims are, who they are against or even
where they are alleged to have occurred, and so has failed to
allege a basis for this Court's jurisdiction. Because
Plaintiff has been given three opportunities to file a
legible complaint stating a cause of action, the undersigned
finds that allowing Plaintiff a fourth opportunity to
carefully craft a complaint would be futile.
despite filing his belated second amended complaint,
Plaintiff remains noncompliant with the Court's prior
orders as he has still not filed a proper motion to proceed
in forma pauperis or paid the filing fee. When a
Plaintiff fails to follow orders of the Court and to
prosecute his case, a district court may dismiss a
plaintiff's claims sua sponte pursuant to either
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) (“Rule
41(b)”) or the court's inherent authority to manage
its docket. Link v. Wabash R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626
(1962); Coleman v. St. Lucie Cty. Jail, 433
Fed.Appx. 716, 718 (11th Cir. 2011) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
41(b) and Betty K Agencies, Ltd. v. M/V
MONADA, 432 F.3d 1333, 1337 (11th Cir. 2005)). In
particular, Rule 41(b) allows for the involuntary dismissal
of a plaintiff's claims where he has failed to prosecute
those claims, comply with the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure or local rules, or follow a court order.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b); see also Coleman, 433 Fed.Appx.
at 718; Sanders v. Barrett, No. 05-12660, 2005 WL
2640979, at *1 (11th Cir. Oct. 17, 2005) (citing Kilgo v.
Ricks, 983 F.2d 189, 192 (11th Cir. 1993)); cf.
Local R. 41.1(b) (“[T]he assigned Judge may, after
notice to counsel of record, sua sponte... dismiss
any action for want of prosecution, with or without
prejudice[, ] ... [based on] willful disobedience or neglect
of any order of the Court.” (emphasis omitted)).
Additionally, a district court's “power to dismiss
is an inherent aspect of its authority to enforce its orders
and ensure prompt disposition of lawsuits.” Brown
v. Tallahassee Police Dep't, 205 Fed.Appx. 802, 802
(11th Cir. 2006) (quoting Jones v. Graham, 709 F.2d
1457, 1458 (11th Cir. 1983)).