United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
HONORABLE JANET T. NEFF 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, the Court will dismiss
Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at Baraga Correctional Facility (AMF) in
Baraga, Baraga County, Michigan. The events about which he
complains, however, occurred at the Richard A. Handlon
Correctional Facility (MTU) in Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan.
Plaintiff sues dozens of Defendants who are employed at MTU,
including the following: MDOC Director Daniel Heyns, Warden
C. Stoddard; Deputy Warden Unknown Laurer; Grievance
Coordinator C. Heffelbower; Director of Mental Health Greg
Johnson; Health Unit Manager Michelle Pilon; Doctors Unknown
Huyge and Richard Czop; Psychiatrists Armando Santiago,
Unknown Shafer, Kathleen Mutschler, and Unknown Gildersleeve;
Psychologists Jay Choi, Rebbeca Busman, and Unknown Gould;
Mental Health Professional Erica Enz; Social Workers Jeffery
Caler and Ashley Detman; Nurse Supervisor Joshua Lanedon;
Nurses Unknown Harding, Sherri Hernandez-Cruz, Mark Castor,
Unknown Smith, Unknown Lorentz, Kay Stouffer, Unknown Lewis,
Unknown Wendt, Unknown Hasseldor, Jarita Unknown, and Rodney
Unknown; Case Manager Unknown Lean; Housing Unit Manager
Unknown Kirsdorf; Lieutenants Unknown Wood, Unknown Allen and
Unknown Cook; Sergeants Unknown Cassel and Unknown Sutton;
Corrections Officers J. Somers, Unknown Desjardan, Unknown
Clark, Unknown Heard, Unknown Griffith, Unknown Bolano,
Unknown Slater, Unknown Kolowickzi, Unknown Eerdman, Unknown
Rosewizki, Unknown Ruthruff, Unknown Kolsten, Unknown Castle,
Unknown Mullins, and Unknown Johnston; Unknown Parties of
Corizon Health (Health Care Provider to the MDOC); Unknown
Parties of Maxor (Pharmaceutical Supplier to the MDOC); and
Unknown Parties of the MDOC Bureau of Health Care Services.
contends that each Defendant, prior to May of 2013, and
during May and June of 2013, participated in a plan to
improperly diagnose Plaintiff as mentally ill and that many
harms befell him because of that improper diagnosis,
including: forcible injections of powerful antipsychotic
drugs; false misconduct allegations regarding a knife;
improper medical treatment; retaliation for grievances; false
imprisonment; exposure to dangerous, assaultive, and
predatory mentally ill prisoners; serious bodily injury;
withholding of property; and the use of excessive force.
Plaintiff attributes each of these improper actions to the
Defendants as a group. Plaintiff claims Defendants'
actions violated his First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C.
§§ 1961-1968; the False Claim Act, 31 U.S.C. §
3729, the Torture Prevention Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1350, and
the Terrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2331. Plaintiff seeks
declaratory and injunctive relief as well as an award of
compensatory and punitive damages against each Defendant.
acknowledges that these allegations have already been the
subject of an action in this Court: Weatherspoon v. Choi
et al, No. 1:14-cv-707 (W.D. Mich.) (herein
“Choi I”). In the instant suit,
Plaintiff has added one group of unknown Defendants (Unknown
Parties of the MDOC Bureau of Health Care Services) and
omitted two others (Corrections Officers Unknown Perez and
Unknown Miller), but the parties are otherwise identical.
Moreover, Plaintiff alleges the same facts, attempts to state
the same causes of action for violation of his constitutional
rights, and seeks the same relief in the instant suit as in
Choi I, the Court dismissed most of the Defendants
upon initial review of Plaintiff's amended complaint
because he had failed to make specific allegations against
them. (1:14-cv-707, Op. and Ord., ECF Nos. 13-14.) The Court
dismissed a few others for failure to state a claim.
(Id.) The Court ordered service of Plaintiff's
amended complaint upon seventeen of the Choi I
Defendants. (Id.) The case proceeded through
discovery; however, the Court granted summary judgment in
favor of the remaining Defendants on the merits and entered
judgment on September 8, 2017. (1:14-cv-707, Reports and
Recommendations, Ops. and Ords., and Judgment, ECF Nos. 88,
105, 219, 231-232.) The matter is presently before the Sixth
Circuit Court of Appeals.
filed the instant action before judgment was entered in
Duplicative actions are frivolous
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.
Colorado, 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).
complaint is duplicative and subject to dismissal if the
claims, parties and available relief do not significantly
differ from an earlier-filed action. 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). Considering the substantial
similarities between the parties, legal claims, factual
allegations, temporal circumstances and relief sought in the
present complaint and the complaint in Choi I, the
Court concludes that the present complaint is duplicative.
Plaintiff's action is ...