United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
Robert J. Jonker U.S. District Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MAARTEN VERMAAT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a civil rights action brought by state prisoner Scott Blevins
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is currently
housed at the Oaks Correctional Facility. The events about
which he complains occurred while he was housed at the Alger
Correctional Facility (LMF). The remaining Defendants Joseph
Naeyaert, K. Mattson, Unknown Kurth, and Unknown Cobb filed a
motion to dismiss this case based upon repetitiveness with
Blevins v. Naeyaert, No. 2:17-cv-185. (ECF No. 13.)
Plaintiff has not filed a response. This Court recommends
that the actions in Nos. 2:17-cv-00170 and 2:17-cv-00185 be
asserts nearly identical allegations in No. 2:17-cv-185.
Plaintiff alleges that he is transgender and has been forced
to prostitute himself for gang members at LMF. Plaintiff
alleges that in August of 2017, he was told by his
prospective cell mate, inmate Flores, not to lock with him
because Flores did not want to share a cell with a
transgender inmate. Inmate Flores threatened Plaintiff with
assault. While Plaintiff was in the “small yard”
he was threatened with harm by Latin King Brother members who
told him to move out of inmate Flores' cell. Plaintiff
asserts that Defendants Naeyaert, Mattson, Kurth, and Cobb
failed to protect him from threats of harm and ridiculed him.
placed Plaintiff on suicide watch and moved him out of his
cell. According to Plaintiff, Defendants failed to believe
that Plaintiff was under a serious threat of harm. Plaintiff
was told that he would be released back to a different cell.
Defendants told Plaintiff to return to his cell. Plaintiff
refused to house with inmate Flores due to threats of harm
and being forced to prostitute himself. Plaintiff asserts
that Defendants failed to intervene in violation of his
Eighth Amendment rights.
has the inherent authority to dismiss a plaintiff's
subsequent repetitious cause of action as frivolous in order
to maintain the Court docket and to promote judicial order.
Cummings v. Mason, No. 1:11-cv-649, 2011 WL 2745937
(W.D. Mich. July 13, 2011). This Court explained:
Plaintiffs 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. Cal.
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). In 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
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).
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 v.
Johnson, 846 F.2d 1019, 1021 (5th Cir. 1988) (holding
that a complaint was duplicative although different
defendants were named because it “repeat[ed] the same
factual allegations” asserted in the earlier case).
Given the similarities between the parties, legal claims,
factual allegations, temporal circumstances and relief
sought, in the present complaint and the complaint in
Cummings v. Ventocilla, No. 1:11-cv-365, the present
complaint must be considered duplicative. The complaint
therefore is frivolous.
Id. at *1-2.
Blevins v. Michigan Department of Corrections, No.
Plaintiff filed his complaint in this case on October 5,
2017. On March 13, 2017, the Court ordered Plaintiff to file
an amended complaint. Plaintiff's amended complaint names
Defendants Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), Joseph
Naeyaert, K. Mattson, Unknown Kurth, Unknown Cobb, Bill
Schuette, Catherine Bauman, Heidi E. Washington, and unknown
parties. On June 12, 2018, the Court issued an opinion on
initial review of the amended complaint, which ordered