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Harris v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

April 5, 2017

VAUGHN HARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL

          BERNARD A. FRIEDMAN, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is presently before the Court on the Court's review of plaintiff's most recent amended complaint [docket entry 205]. Because plaintiff has repeatedly failed to file an amended complaint that complies with Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), and because he has twice disregarded the Court's orders requiring him to file an appropriate amended complaint, the Court shall dismiss this matter with prejudice.

         Plaintiff, a pro se inmate, commenced this action on April 1, 2015. His original complaint [docket entry 1] was brought against the Davidson County Sheriff, Correct Care Solutions, 15 named defendants, “all other superiors in neglect, ” and “any other unnamed officers responsible for the plaintiff's abuse and neglect.” The complaint consisted of 15 pages of “statement of facts” and “relief requested” narratives, two pages of discovery requests, and 27 pages of grievance forms, incident reports, and other documents. Plaintiff complained, among other things, of “denial of dental care, staff reprisal and corporal punishment, personal injury, improper warmth, and harassment, ” Compl. at 6; “discrimination by the law librarian and denied legal case law, ” id.; that he “was lied on and given a false infraction report by several officers while being forced to see a case manager that is a compulsive liar and I had not signed up to see, ” id.; that he “was injured in a door and the incident was completely denied, ” id.; that an “officer tampered with my food in reprisal for reporting misconduct on his friend, ” id. at 7; that “no Bibles were allowed to 4A inmates, ” id.; that his bed and sheets were urine-stained, id.; that his case manager falsely accused him of sexually harassing her, id. at 15; that a guard “smashed my arm in the door, ” id. at 17; and that a guard put ink spots on one of plaintiff's cookies, id. at 18.

         On April 10, 2015, the Court granted plaintiff's application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismissed the complaint as to all defendants except Correct Care Solutions [docket entry 3]. The Court noted that the complaint failed to state claims against any of the other defendants.

         On April 20, 2015, plaintiff filed a “motion to amend complaint” [docket entry 6]. On April 21, he filed a document entitled “motion to amend complaint . . . amended complaint” [docket entry 7], which appeared to be an amended (or proposed amended) complaint that is essentially identical to the original complaint, but with the addition of three named defendants and some further allegations. The same day, he filed a “memorandum motion to amend legal case” [docket entry 8], which made other allegations and provided another long list of defendants.

         On April 23, 2015, Magistrate Judge Brown issued an order denying plaintiff's motion for leave to amend [docket entry 10]. He noted that plaintiff's three recent filings [entries 6, 7, and 8] “make[] is difficult, if not impossible, to determine what his final complaint is in this matter.” Magistrate Judge Brown ordered plaintiff, within 14 days, “to file a single amended complaint, which is complete in all details.”

         Plaintiff did not comply with the magistrate judge's order. On April 23, 2015, he filed a motion to amend and an amended complaint that looked very much like the original [docket entry 12]. The same day, plaintiff filed a notice of appeal [docket entry 14] regarding the Court's April 10, 2015, order of partial dismissal. The appeal was dismissed on June 15, 2015 [docket entry 31]. On June 18, 2015, plaintiff filed an amended complaint that appears to be a copy of the original [docket entry 36].

         On July 1, 2015, plaintiff filed a “motion to amend complaint and add these pages to the complaint” [docket entry 45]. In this motion plaintiff asked that the Court “demote or fire” two defendants “for failure to uphold their legal responsibilities.” Id. at 1. He alleged these defendants “both are liars and need to be fired”; that a sergeant placed him in segregation without a hearing; that the health services administrator “refused to make the dentist perform her job duties”; that another defendant neglected to replace plaintiff's contaminated cookie; that a dental assistant scratched plaintiff's gums while taking x-rays; that a case manager “refused to give my [legal research] request to the librarian; and that another sergeant “returned me to SMU for no reason for 10 days.” Id. at 1-3. On July 16, 2015, plaintiff filed a “motion to amend complaint and add unknown defendant and misconduct” [docket entry 47] in which he alleged that a dental assistant “injured my gums twice on two separate occasions” and that the medical and dental staff have destroyed his requests for treatment.

         On August 19, 2015, the magistrate judge denied these two most recent motions to amend and reminded plaintiff that he “has been told that if he wishes to amend his complaint he should file a new complaint that is complete in all details” [docket entry 63].

         On April 27, 2016, plaintiff filed another document entitled “motion for amended and supplemental pleadings to be added to complaint” [docket entry 117]. This is another rambling, disorganized, “stream of consciousness” diatribe that closely resembles the original complaint in size and appearance. On May 20, 2016, plaintiff filed another document by this title [docket entry 130]. It is 178 pages in length. On May 25, 2016, plaintiff filed another amended complaint, which appears similar to the original [docket entry 131]. On July 26, 2016, plaintiff filed another amended complaint, this one being 313 pages in length [docket entry 152].

         On February 3, 2017, the Court dismissed the complaint in part and, once again, gave plaintiff the opportunity, within 21 days of the date of the order, to file a proper amended complaint [docket entry 189]. The same day, the magistrate judge reiterated that plaintiff had 21 days “to comply with the requirement that he file an appropriate amended complaint” [docket entry 190].

         On February 28, 2017, plaintiff filed the most recent version of his complaint. It appears to be essentially the same as the original. The first 42 pages consists of a long list of defendants, a convoluted statement of facts, and various requests for relief - and 360 pages of grievances, dental records, medical records, and other documents.

         The Court is out of patience. For two years the Court has waited for plaintiff to file a proper amended complaint. On three occasions - on April 23, 2015, February 3, 2017, and March 20, 2017 - the Court has specifically ordered plaintiff to do so. Plaintiff has stubbornly refused to comply with these orders, despite repeated coaching in the Court's orders of partial dismissal, which signaled how plaintiff might reasonably have pared down his complaint to comply with the Court's orders and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         While pro se prisoner complaints are entitled to liberal construction, see, e.g., Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), pro se litigators are not excused from complying with the Court's orders or with the procedural rules applicable to all litigants. “[T]hose who proceed without counsel must still comply with the procedural rules that govern civil cases.” Frame v. SuperiorFireplace, 74 F. App'x 601, 603 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing McNeil v. U.S., 508 U.S. ...


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