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Corker v. Allman

United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division

September 3, 2019

MICHAEL CORKER, Plaintiff,
v.
JUDGE FRANCIS ALLMAN, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Michael J. Frank United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Michael Corker, an inmate of the Leon County Detention Facility, has filed an amended civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 4), and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 5). Good cause having been shown, leave to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted. Upon review of Corker's amended complaint, 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 Corker's abuse of the judicial process in failing to completely and honestly disclose his litigation history.[1]

         I. Background

         Corker initiated this action on July 30, 2019, by filing a document titled “Pro Se Litigant in Actions Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Federal Habeas Corpus.” (Doc. 1). Corker claimed that a state court judge and two probation officers caused him to be unlawfully imprisoned on a probation violation charge in Leon County Circuit Court No. 97-CF-4740. As relief, Corker sought $5 million from each Defendant. Corker filed his amended complaint on August 22, 2019. (Doc. 4). Corker's amended complaint asserts the same claims, but adds a fourth Defendant - a detective with the Broward County Sheriff's Office. (Doc. 4). Corker's amended complaint increases his demand for damages by several million dollars. (Id. at 8 in ECF).

         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 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. Corker's Disclosures

         In his amended complaint, Corker provided answers to Section IV of this court's civil rights complaint form, which requires him to disclose his litigation history. (Doc. 4 at 4).[2] On page three of the civil rights complaint form, Section IV(A), Previous Lawsuits, is the following question: “Have you initiated other actions in state court dealing with the same or similar facts/issues involved in this action?” (Doc. 4 at 4 in ECF). Where there are parenthetical areas to mark either a “Yes” or “No” answer to Question (A), Corker marked “Yes”, and disclosed his underlying criminal case, Leon County Circuit Court No. 97-CF-4740. (Doc. 4 at 4 in ECF).

         On the same page 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. 4 at 4 in ECF). Where there are parenthetical areas to mark either a “Yes” or “No” answer to Question (B), Corker marked “No”, and disclosed no cases. (Doc. 4 at 4 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)) 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. 4 at 5 in ECF). Where there are parenthetical areas to mark either a “Yes” or “No” answer to Question (C), Corker marked “No, ” and disclosed no cases.

         Also on page four of the civil rights complaint form, Section IV(D), Previous Lawsuits, is the following question: “Have you ever had any actions in federal court dismissed as frivolous, malicious, failing to state a claim, or prior to service? If so, identify each and every case so dismissed.” (Doc. 4 at 5 in ECF). Where there are parenthetical areas to mark either a “Yes” or “No” answer to Question (D), Corker marked “No”, and disclosed no cases. (Doc. 4 at 5 in ECF).

         At the end of the civil rights complaint form, Corker signed his name after the following statement: “I DECLARE UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY THAT THE FOREGOING STATEMENTS OF FACT, INCLUDING ALL CONTINUATION PAGES, ARE TRUE AND CORRECT.” (Doc. 4 at 8 in ECF). Thus, Corker has in effect stated that at the time he filed his amended complaint on August 22, 2019, he had not initiated any other action in federal court that (1) dealt with the same or similar facts/issues ...


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