United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. JONKER, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff leave
to proceed in forma pauperis. Under the Prison
Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321
(1996), the Court is required to dismiss any prisoner action
brought under federal law if the complaint is frivolous,
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune
from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A;
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must read
Plaintiff's pro se complaint indulgently,
see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and
accept Plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are
clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). Applying these
standards, Plaintiff's action will be dismissed as
duplicative and, therefore, frivolous.
presently is incarcerated at the Carson City Correctional
Facility. In his pro se complaint, Plaintiff
complains that over the years of his incarceration in various
state prisons, he has suffered deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs; risk of extreme harm by virtue of
defendants' failures to protect him; assault, libel, and
slander; medical malpractice; violations of the Americans
with Disabilities Act; theft of personal property; and
disclosure of private information relating to him and his
children. Plaintiff sues forty-five defendants.
of the forty-five defendants are from the Michigan Department
of Corrections in Lansing; but, most from several prisons
where Plaintiff has been incarcerated. Some of these prisons
are in the Eastern District of Michigan and some are in this
district. The events giving rise to Plaintiff's action
occurred at the Duane L. Waters Health Center in Jackson,
Michigan (Eastern District), the Chippewa Correctional
Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan (Western District), the
Michigan Reformatory in Ionia, Michigan (Western District),
the Saginaw Correctional Facility in Freeland, Michigan
(Eastern District), Marquette Branch Prison in Marquette,
Michigan (Western District), Baraga Correctional Facility in
Baraga, Michigan (Western District), Earnest C. Brooks
Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, Michigan (Western
District), Carson City Correctional Facility in Carson City,
Michigan (Western District), and Gus Harrison Correctional
Facility in Adrian, Michigan (Eastern District).
complaint Plaintiff filed in this action on October 6, 2016
(ECF No. 1) is simply a photocopy of the complaint filed on
September 12, 2016, in Belser v. Borgerding, No.
2:16-cv-13296 (E.D. Mich.).
generally have “no right to maintain two separate
actions involving the same subject matter at the same time in
the same court and against the same defendants.”
Walton v. Eaton Corp., 563 F.2d 66, 70 (3d Cir.
1977). Accordingly, as part of its inherent power to
administer its docket, a district court may dismiss a suit
that is duplicative of another federal court suit. See
Colo. River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States,
424 U.S. 800, 817 (1976); Adams v. California Dep't
of Health Serv., 487 F.3d 684, 688 (9th Cir. 2007);
Missouri v. Prudential Health Care Plan, Inc., 259
F.3d 949, 953-54 (8th Cir. 2001); Curtis v. Citibank,
N.A., 226 F.3d 133, 138-39 (2d Cir. 2000); Smith v.
SEC, 129 F.3d 356, 361 (6th Cir. 1997). The power to
dismiss a duplicative lawsuit is meant to foster judicial
economy and the “comprehensive disposition of
litigation, ” Kerotest Mfg. Co. v. C-O-Two Fire
Equip. Co., 342 U.S. 180, 183 (1952), and protect
parties from “the vexation of concurrent litigation
over the same subject matter.” Adam v. Jacobs,
950 F.2d 89, 93 (2d Cir. 1991).
addition, courts have held that an in forma pauperis
complaint that merely repeats pending or previously litigated
claims may be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(i)
as frivolous or malicious. See, e.g. McWilliams
v. State of Colo., 121 F.3d 573, 574 (10th Cir. 1997)
(holding that repetitious litigation of virtually identical
causes of action may be dismissed under the in forma
pauperis statute as frivolous or malicious); Cato v.
United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1105 n.2 (9th Cir. 1995)
(noting that an action may be dismissed as frivolous under 28
U.S.C. § 1915 when the complaint “merely repeats
pending or previously litigated claims); Pittman v.
Moore, 980 F.2d 994, 994-95 (5th Cir. 1993) (finding
that it is “malicious” for a pauper to file a
lawsuit that duplicates allegations of another pending
federal lawsuit by the same plaintiff); Bailey v.
Johnson, 846 F.2d 1019, 1021 (5th Cir. 1988) (holding
that it was appropriate to dismiss an in forma
pauperis civil rights suit by prison inmate where suit
was duplicative of facts and allegations made in previously
dismissed suit, and merely named a different defendant whose
actions formed a partial basis for the previous suit);
Risley v. Hawk, 918 F.Supp. 18, 22 (D.D.C. Cir.
1996) (holding that the district court may dismiss an in
forma pauperis action where the complaint duplicates the
allegations of other pending or previously filed litigation,
even where the previously filed actions were filed in
different districts); Hahn v. Tarnow, No.
06-cv-12814, 2006 WL 2160934, at *3 (E.D. Mich. July 31,
2006).A complaint is duplicative and subject to
dismissal if the claims, parties and available relief do not
significantly differ from an earlier-filed action. See
Serlin v. Arthur Andersen & Co., 3 F.3d 221, 223
(7th Cir. 1993). Although complaints may not
“significantly differ, ” they need not be
identical. Courts focus on the substance of the complaint.
See, e.g. Bailey, 846 F.2d at 1021 (holding
that a complaint was duplicative although different
defendants were named because it “repeat[ed] the same
factual allegations” asserted in the earlier case).
Here, where the complaints are identical, the Court concludes
that the present complaint is duplicative. Therefore,
pursuant to the Court's inherent power and 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(i), the complaint will be dismissed on the
grounds that it is duplicative and frivolous.
conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform
Act, the Court determines that Plaintiff's action will be
dismissed as duplicative and frivolous under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b), and 42 U.S.C. §
Court must next decide whether an appeal of this action would
be in good faith within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(3). See McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d
601, 611 (6th Cir. 1997). For the same reasons that the Court
dismisses the action, the Court discerns no good-faith basis
for an appeal. Should Plaintiff appeal this decision, the
Court will assess the $505.00 appellate filing fee pursuant
to § 1915(b)(1), see McGore, 114 F.3d at
610-11, unless Plaintiff is barred from proceeding in
forma pauperis, e.g., by ...