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Lucius v. Judd

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

August 28, 2019

FRED ALLEN LUCIUS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
GRADY JUDD, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          WILLIAM F. TJUNG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Mr. Lucius is a pretrial detainee at Polk County Jail who initiated this action by filing a civil rights complaint in which he challenges the conditions of his confinement. Because Mr. Lucius is proceeding in this action in forma pauperis, the Court has examined the complaint in accord with 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Section 1915(e)(2) provides, in pertinent part, that:

Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that- (A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or (B) the action or appeal- (i) is 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.

         The procedure required by § 1915(e)(2) is a screening process to be applied by the Court sua sponte. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The Court finds, for reasons set forth infra, that the complaint should be dismissed, with leave to amend, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.[1]

         DISCUSSION

         I. Allegations

         Mr. Lucius alleges that Defendants "are all responsible in various ways either directly or indirectly for violating [his] first amendment right[s] to freedom of speech... freedom of religion. . .[and] access to the courts" (Doc. 1, docket p. 16). He contends that his right of access to the courts was violated because Defendants denied him adequate legal supplies and federal case law, his right of freedom of speech was violated because Defendants denied him books and magazines, and his right of freedom of religion was violated because Defendants denied him halal food, a prayer rug and kufi, and religious books and magazines. He further contends that Defendants have violated the "R.F.R.A. (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) and the R.L.U.P.A. [sic] (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized of [sic] Person Act of 2000)" (Id.). As relief, he seeks an order directing Defendants to (1) allow him to purchase and receive "any paperback book coming from a bookstore/publisher," (2) provide "a proper Halla/Kosher diet be served to all inmates requesting so," (3) allow reasonable newspapers and magazines with the same standards set forth by the Florida Department of Corrections," (4) pay him costs associated with "not receiving a proper diet" and "filing this action," (5) "provide reasonable legal materials such as (paper, envelopes, pencils, ) and postage for all indigent inmates," and (6) allow him to purchase and receive a prayer rug and kuffe (Id., docket pp. 19-20).

         II. Analysis

         A. It is unclear which allegations apply to each Defendant

          Rule 8(a), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires, in pertinent part, that a complaint include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." A complaint fails to satisfy Rule 8 when it "lump[s] all the defendants together in each claim and provid[es] no factual basis to distinguish their conduct[.]" Lane v. Capital Acquisitions & Mgmt. Co., 2006 WL 4590705, at *5 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 14, 2006). Such a complaint violates Rule 8 because "the individual defendants cannot determine from the face of the Complaint which acts or omissions the Plaintiffs seek to hold each of them liable." Id.

         The complaint fails to differentiate among the Defendants. Mr. Lucius lumps all the Defendants together and fails to clearly indicate which facts and claims are applicable to each Defendant. He therefore will be required to file an amended complaint specifying the factual allegations relevant to each count and to each Defendant.

         2. The allegations in the complaint fail to state a claim of a violation of access to the courts

         Prisoners have a constitutional right to access to the courts. Wilson v. Blankenship, 163 F.3d 1284, 1290 (11th Cir.1998) (citing Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 828, (1977)). However, a plaintiff raising a denial of access-to-court claim "must show actual injury before seeking relief." Id., 163 F.3d at 1290. "An inmate may establish an actual injury by demonstrating that officials have frustrated or impeded his efforts to pursue a nonfrivolous claim." Miller v. Sheriff, 550 Fed.Appx. 722, 724 (11th Cir. 2013) (unpublished) (citing Barbour v. Haley, 471 F.3d 1222, 1225 (11th Cir. 2006)). Moreover, "[a] prisoner plaintiff alleging a violation of his right of access to the courts 'must show actual injury in the pursuit of specific types of nonfrivolous cases: direct or collateral attacks on sentences and challenges to conditions of confinement.'" Moulds v. Bullard, 345 Fed.Appx. 387, 394 (11th Cir.2009) (unpublished) (quoting Wilson, 163 F.3d at 1290). The complaint does not allege sufficient facts indicating that Mr. Lucius sustained actual injury from the denial of adequate legal materials.

         3. Mr. Lucius fails to state a claim upon which relief can be ...


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