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Michael Eugene Hollis v. Russell York

August 24, 2011

MICHAEL EUGENE HOLLIS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
RUSSELL YORK, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND THIRTY DAY DEADLINE (ECF No. 45)

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Michael Eugene Hollis ("Plaintiff") is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S. Ct. 1999 (1971), which provides a remedy for violation of civil rights by federal actors. Currently before the Court is the second amended complaint, filed July 15, 2011. (ECF No. 45.)

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious," that "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted," or that "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

II. Complaint Allegations

Plaintiff is in the custody of the Department of Prisons and is currently incarcerated at Big Spring Federal Correctional Institution. Plaintiff alleges that while he was in the custody of the Fresno County Sheriff he was denied access to the court in violation of the First Amendment. Plaintiff alleges that he is now housed in Texas and is hindered from litigating his claims in California because his access to legal authority is limited.

Plaintiff alleges that the policies in place at the Fresno County Jail are constitutionally inadequate. (Second Amended Compl. 10, ECF No. 45.*fn1 ) Plaintiff's complaint is thirty four pages of legal argument with intermittent facts and references to his thirty four pages of exhibits. The Court declines to sift through the legal argument in an attempt to ferret out Plaintiff's factual allegations. Accordingly, the second amended complaint shall be dismissed and Plaintiff will be granted the opportunity to file a third amended complaint in compliance with this order. In the paragraphs that follow, the Court will provide Plaintiff with the legal standards that appear to apply to his claims. Plaintiff should carefully review the standards and amend only those claims that he believes, in good faith, are cognizable.

III. Legal Standards

A. Rule 8

The Court advises Plaintiff of the following requirements under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding the general formatting of his complaint. Plaintiff's complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that [Plaintiff] is entitled to relief." Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2). Plaintiff's first amended complaint is neither short nor plain. Plaintiff's first amended complaint contains thirty four pages, thirty four pages of exhibits, and lists multiple unrelated incidents and contains legal argument.

"[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007)). "Each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct." Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(d)(1). A party must state its claims or defenses in numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable to a single set of circumstances." Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(b). "[E]ach claim founded on a separate transaction or occurrence . . . must be stated in a separate count." Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(b).

The function of the complaint is not to list every single fact relating to Plaintiff's claims. Because Plaintiff's complaint is not in compliance with Rule 8(a), the Court declines to expend its already taxed resources with attempting to sort out his claims. Plaintiff must submit a complaint to the Court that meets the requirements of Rule 8. It is Plaintiff's job, not the Court's, to state a claim for each defendant.

B. Rule 18

Plaintiff has previously been advised that he may not bring unrelated claims in this action. Plaintiff's complaint sets forth allegations of denial of access to the courts, unconstitutional conditions of confinement, and retaliation based on unrelated incidents. Pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, [a] party asserting a claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim may join, as independent or alternate claims, as many claims as it has against an opposing party." Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a). "Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2. Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits, not only to prevent the sort of morass [a multiple claim, multiple defendant] suit produce[s], but also to ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees-for the Prison Litigation Reform Act limits to 3 the number of frivolous suits or appeals that any prisoner may file without prepayment of the required fees. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g)." George v. Smith, 507 ...


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