United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
ORDER DISMISSING CASE
WILLIAM F. JUNG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a pre-trial detainee at the Marion County Jail, initiated
this case by filing a pro se civil rights Complaint and a
motion for leave to proceed as a pauper. (Docs. 1 and 2). On
September 24, 2019, the Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause
why this case should not be dismissed for abuse of the
judicial process because Plaintiff failed to truthfully
disclose all of his prior federal cases (nine total), as
required on the complaint form. (Doc. 7). Plaintiff has filed
a response. (Doc. 9).
executed the civil rights complaint form under the penalty of
perjury. (Doc. 1 at 9). That form requires prisoners to
disclose information regarding previous lawsuits initiated by
them. Specifically, it required Plaintiff to disclose whether
he had “initiated lawsuits or appeals from lawsuits in
federal court that have been dismissed as frivolous,
malicious, or for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, ” and to disclose all other lawsuits he
filed in state or federal court dealing with the same or
similar facts involved in this action, and other lawsuits he
filed relating to his imprisonment or conditions thereof. It
also required Plaintiff to disclose information about each
lawsuit filed. Plaintiff wrote that he had “prior
litigation USDC DC of IL and Indiana.” (Doc. 1 at 3).
inquiry concerning a prisoner's prior lawsuits is not a
matter of idle curiosity, nor is it an effort to raise
meaningless obstacles to a prisoner's access to the
courts. Rather, the existence of prior litigation initiated
by a prisoner is required in order for the Court to apply 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g) (the “three strikes rule”
applicable to prisoners proceeding in forma pauperis).
Additionally, it has been the Court's experience that a
significant number of prisoner filings raise claims or issues
that have already been decided adversely to the prisoner in
prior litigation. Identification of that prior litigation
frequently enables the Court to dispose of the successive
case without further expenditure of finite judicial
resources. In the absence of any basis for excusing a
plaintiff's lack of candor, failure to disclose and
truthfully describe previous lawsuits as clearly required on
the Court's prisoner civil rights complaint form warrants
dismissal of the complaint for abuse of the judicial process.
See Redmon v. Lake Cty. Sheriff's Office, 414
Fed.Appx. 221, 225 (11th Cir. 2011).
Redmon, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal
of a prisoner's civil rights complaint that did not
disclose a previous lawsuit. The plaintiff argued that he
“misunderstood” the form, but the Court held that
the district court had the discretion to conclude that the
plaintiff's explanation did not excuse his
misrepresentation because the complaint form “clearly
asked Plaintiff to disclose previously filed
lawsuits[.]” Id. The Court determined that
dismissal was an appropriate sanction:
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, “[a] finding that the
plaintiff engaged in bad faith litigiousness or manipulative
tactics warrants dismissal.” Attwood v.
Singletary, 105 F.3d 610, 613 (11th Cir. 1997). In
addition, a district court may impose sanctions if a party
knowingly files a pleading that contains false contentions.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c). Although pro se pleadings are
held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by
attorneys, a plaintiff's pro se status will not
excuse mistakes regarding procedural rules. McNeil v.
United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993).
Id. The failure to exercise candor in completing the
form impedes the Court in managing its caseload and merits
the sanction of dismissal. See id.; Jenkins v.
Hutcheson, 708 Fed.Appx. 647, 648 (11th Cir. 2018)
(finding that “the district court was entitled to
dismiss [plaintiff's] complaint based on his failure to
fully disclose his litigation history, ” and noting
that the district court reasoned that requiring prisoners to
disclose prior lawsuits is important to enable courts to
apply the “three strike rule” and dispose of
successive cases that relitigate old matters).
response to the Order to Show Cause (Doc. 9), Plaintiff
states that the cases listed by the Court “have nothing
to do with ‘this' case and apparantly [sic] were
not dismissed as frivolous, malicious nor failure to state a
claim and therefore do not apply to the question(s) on the
‘form'.” Plaintiff claims that he was not
required to list any of his recently filed cases because they
had not been dismissed. Id. That is not a credible
has failed to truthfully disclose his prior cases as required
by the plain language instructions of the form and has failed
to come forward with any persuasive reason to excuse his lack
of candor. The Court finds that Plaintiff's failure to
fully disclose his previous lawsuits, under penalty of
perjury, constitutes an abuse of the judicial process.
See Rivera v. Allin, 144 F.3d 719, 731 (11th Cir.
1998). An appropriate sanction for such abuse of the judicial
process is the dismissal of the Complaint. Id.
this case is hereby DISMISSED without prejudice. Such
dismissal counts as a “strike” for the purposes
of the three-strikes provision of the PLRA, 28 U.S.C. §
1915(g). The Clerk is directed to enter judgment
dismissing this case without prejudice, terminate any pending
motions, and close the file.