United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
the Court is Plaintiff's pro se complaint for violation
of civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc. 1]
and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
[Doc. 3]. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's
motion to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 3] will be
GRANTED, and Plaintiff's complaint will
be DISMISSED sua sponte.
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), any
prisoner who files a complaint in a district court must
tender the full filing fee or file (1) an application to
proceed in forma pauperis without prepayment of fees
and (2) a certified copy of his inmate trust account for the
previous six-month period. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2). On
September 24, 2015, the Court entered an Order, directing
Plaintiff to either pay the full filing fee or submit an
application to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 2].
Plaintiff then submitted an application to proceed in
forma pauperis [Doc. 3], and it appears from his
application that he lacks sufficient financial resources to
pay the $350.00 filing fee. Accordingly, Plaintiff's
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc.
3] will be GRANTED and, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915, the Clerk is DIRECTED to
file this action without the prepayment of costs or fees or
security therefor as of the date the Complaint was received.
However, because Plaintiff's complaint will be dismissed
as duplicative, and Plaintiff will be charged a filing fee
for his initial case, the Court will not assess a filing fee
at this time.
currently incarcerated at the WTSP, filed this complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on September 23, 2015, for
alleged violations of his civil rights occurring during his
confinement at the Morgan County Correctional Complex
(“MCCX”) [Doc. 1]. Plaintiff claims that the
Defendants acted in deliberate indifference under the Eighth
Amendment to his serious medical needs when several of his
“chronic care” medications were not renewed after
the prescriptions expired [Id. at 6]. Additionally,
Plaintiff claims that his due process rights were violated
through the grievance process related to the denial of his
prescription medication [Id. at 8]. Further,
Plaintiff alleges that the cancellation of his “chronic
care” medication has resulted in constant pain and
suffering [Id. at 9]. Plaintiff requests that the
Court issue a declaratory judgment and an injunction
providing him with appropriate medical treatment, and seeks
compensatory and punitive damages [Id. at 11-12].
the PLRA, district courts must screen prisoner complaints and
sua sponte dismiss those that are frivolous or
malicious, fail to state a claim for relief or are against a
defendant who is immune. See Benson v. O'Brian,
179 F.3d 1014, 1015-16 (6th Cir. 1999) (“Congress
directed the federal courts to review or ‘screen'
certain complaints sua sponte and to dismiss those
that failed to state a claim upon which relief could be
granted [or] . . . sought monetary relief from a defendant
immune from such relief.”). The dismissal standard
articulated by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and in Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) “governs
dismissals for failure to state a claim under [28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A] because the relevant
statutory language tracks the language in Rule
12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468,
470-71 (6th Cir. 2010).
to survive an initial review under the PLRA, a complaint
“must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). However,
“a district court must (1) view the complaint in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all
well-pleaded factual allegations as true.” Tackett
v. M&G Polymers, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009)
(citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th
Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
establish that they were deprived of a federal right by a
person acting under color of state law. Black v.
Barberton Citizens Hospital, 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th
Cir. 1998); O'Brien v. City of Grand Rapids, 23
F.3d 990, 995 (6th Cir. 1994); Russo v. City of
Cincinnati, 953 F.2d 1036, 1042 (6th Cir. 1992); see
also Braley v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th
Cir. 1990) ("Section 1983 does not itself create any
constitutional rights; it creates a right of action for the
vindication of constitutional guarantees found
elsewhere."). In other words, Plaintiff must plead facts
sufficient to show: (1) the deprivation of a right,
privilege, or immunity secured to her by the United States
Constitution or other federal law; and (2) that the
individual responsible for such deprivation was acting under
color of state law. Gregory v. Shelby Cty., 220 F.3d
433, 441 (6th Cir. 2000).
Plaintiff previously filed a civil rights complaint in this
Court raising essentially the same claims raised in this
case, and concerning conduct occurring over the same period
of time as the factual allegations at issue. See Philipps
v. Houston-Fagan et al., No. 3:15-cv-322. That matter
remains pending before the Court.
between federal district courts, . . . though no precise rule
has evolved, the general principle is to avoid duplicative
litigation.” Colorado River Water Conservation
Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 817 (1976).
“Generally, a suit is duplicative if the claims,
parties, and available relief do not significantly differ
between the two actions.” Serlin v. Aruthus
Anderson & Co., 3 F.3d 221, 223 (7th Cir. 1993).
Faced with a duplicative suit, such as this one, a federal
court may exercise its discretion to stay or dismiss the suit
before it, allow both federal cases to proceed, or enjoin the
parties from proceeding in the other suit. See Smith v.
SEC, 129 F.3d 356, 361 (6th Cir. 1997).
respect to duplicative suits, the Sixth Circuit has stated
“[S]imple dismissal of the second suit is [a] common
disposition because plaintiffs have no right to maintain two
actions on the same subject in the same court, against the
same defendant at the same time.” Curtis v.
Citibank, N.A., 226 F.3d 133, 138- 39 (2d Cir. 2000);
see also Missouri v. Prudential Health Care Plan,
Inc., 259 F.3d 949, 953-54 (8th Cir. 2001) (joining
other courts that have held a district court may dismiss one
of two identical pending actions).
Twaddle v. Diem, 200 F.Appx. 435, 438 (6th Cir.
2006) (alterations in original). “A complaint is
malicious when it ‘duplicates allegations of another [
]federal lawsuit by the same plaintiff.'”
Skudnov v. U.S. Dep't of HUD, No.
3:15-CV-100-JHM, 2015 WL 3892422, at *3(W.D. Ky. June 24,
2015) (quoting Daley v. U.S. Dist. Court Dist. of
Del., 629 F.Supp.2d 357, 359-60 (D. Del. 2009));
see, e.g., Harris v. TDOC Comm'r, No.
3:16-cv-615, 2016 WL 6464480, at *2 (E.D. Tenn Nov. 1, 2016)
(dismissing duplicative § 1983 complaint as malicious).
Accordingly, this Court will exercise its discretion and will
DISMISS this duplicative § 1983
complaint as malicious. ...