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Michael Eugene Hollis v. Margaret Mims

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


August 23, 2012

MICHAEL EUGENE HOLLIS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARGARET MIMS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION AS DUPLICATIVE OF OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN 21 DAYS

Findings and Recommendations

I. Introduction

On May 9, 2011, Plaintiff Michael Eugene Hollis ("Plaintiff"), a federal prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging various claims against the Fresno County Jail. Doc. 1. *fn1 On October 17, 2011, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint, with leave to amend. Doc. 7. On January 20, 2012, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint. Doc. 10. On March 23, 2012, Plaintiff filed the exhibits to his first amended complaint. Doc. 13. *fn2 Upon review of the first amended complaint and exhibits, the Court finds that this action is substantively identical to another case currently pending in this district that Plaintiff filed on March 11, 2009, Michael Eugene Hollis v. Russell York, et al. , No. 1:09-cv-00463-AWI-BAM.

II. Duplicative Claims

A. Legal Standard

Duplicative lawsuits filed by a plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis are subject to dismissal as either frivolous or malicious under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). See, e.g. , Cato v. United States , 70 F.3d 1103, 1105 n.2 (9th Cir. 1995); McWilliams v. State of Colo. , 121 F.3d 573, 574 (10th Cir. 1997); Pittman v. Moore , 980 F.2d 994, 994-95 (5th Cir. 1993); Bailey v. Johnson , 846 F.2d 1019, 1021 (5th Cir. 1988). An in forma pauperis complaint that merely repeats pending or previously litigated claims may be considered abusive and dismissed under § 1915. Cato , 70 F.3d at 1105 n.2; Bailey , 846 F.2d at 1021. Repeating the same factual allegations asserted in an earlier case, even if now filed against new defendants, is subject to dismissal as duplicative. See, e.g. , Bailey , 846 F.2d at 1021; Van Meter v. Morgan , 518 F.2d 366, 368 (8th Cir. 1975). "Dismissal of the duplicative lawsuit, more so than the issuance of a stay or the enjoinment of proceedings, promotes judicial economy and the comprehensive disposition of litigation." Adams v. California , 487 F.3d 684, 688, 692-94 (9th Cir. 2007).

B. Analysis

[I]n assessing whether the second action is duplicative of the first, we examine whether the causes of action and relief sought, as well as the parties or privies to the action, are the same . . . "There must be the same parties, or, at least, such as represent the same interests; there must be the same rights asserted and the same relief prayed for; the relief must be founded upon the same facts, and the . . . essential basis, of the relief sought must be the same." Curtis v. Citibank, N.A. , 226 F.3d 133 (2d Cir. 2000) (holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing Curtis II claims arising out of the same events as those alleged in Curtis I , which claims would have been heard if plaintiffs had timely raised them). Serlin v. Arthur Andersen & Co. , 3 F.3d 221, 223-24 (7th Cir. 1993) ("[A] suit is duplicative if the claims, parties, and available relief do not significantly differ between the two actions.").

See Adams , 487 F.3d at 689. From a review of Plaintiff's two cases, the Court finds that this case is duplicative of Plaintiff's prior current pending case because the claims, parties, and available relief do not significantly differ between the two actions.

1. Hollis v. York , Filed March 11, 2009, No. 1:09-cv-00463-AWI-BAM

On March 11, 2009, Plaintiff filed Hollis v. York , No. 1:09-cv-00463-AWI-BAM. In Plaintiff's complaint, he alleged violations against the Fresno County Jail from August 19, 2008 through June 16, 2009. See Hollis v. York , No. 1:09-cv-00463-AWI-BAM, Compl. & Screening Order, Docs. 1, 20. Plaintiff named defendants Russell York, Director Fresno U.S. Marshal's Service, Margaret Mims, Fresno County Sheriff, John / Jane Doe, Fresno County Jail Bureau Commander, John / Jane Doe, Head of Canteen of Fresno, Inc.; Shumate, correctional sergeant; Oliver, correctional officer; Jane Doe, Correctional Sergeant; Cartier, correctional corporal, Osborne, correctional officer; Cunha, correctional officer; and Laird, M.D., Fresno County Jail Medical Services. See id. Plaintiff alleged deficient food service, denial of medical needs, "mis-classification" in the grievance process, threats to safety, harassment and retaliation, substandard dental care, and denial of correspondence. See id.

On September 26, 2011, Plaintiff filed a third amended complaint, naming defendants Dawson, Calvert, Attorney General Eric Holder, Sheriff Mims, Russell York, Director Fresno U.S. Marshal's Service, and John / Jane Doe. See Hollis v. York , 3d Am. Compl. & Screening Order, Docs. 50, 51. Plaintiff alleged cold temperatures in the jail, denial of medical care, forced housing with gang members, denial of law library access, denial of grievances, and being placed in the "hole." See id. Plaintiff requested compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief. See id. On November 10, 2011, the Court found service appropriate for defendants Dawson and Calvert, and Plaintiff's case is still currently pending in this district. See Hollis v. York , Service Order, Doc. 54.

2. The Current Case, Hollis v. Mims , Filed May 9, 2011, No. 1:11-cv-00739-AWI-GBC

On May 9, 2011, Plaintiff filed the current case, alleging violations against the Fresno County Jail from August 19, 2008 through June 16, 2009. See Compl. & Screening Order, Docs. 1, 7. Plaintiff named defendants Margaret Mims, John / Jane Does, Dawson, and Calvert. See id. Plaintiff alleged denial of access to courts, cold jail temperatures / inadequate lighting, denial of law library access, and denial of grievances. See id.

On January 20, 2012, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint, naming defendants United States of America; Attorney General Eric Holder; Sheriff Margaret Mims; Russell York, Director Fresno U.S. Marshal's Service; County of Fresno; Rick Hill, Captain of Detention at Fresno County Jail; Pratap Narayen, Medical Director at Fresno County Jail; and Marilyn Weldon, Captain of Inmate Programs at Fresno County Jail. Am. Compl. at 1, 3-4, Doc. 10. Plaintiff alleged denial of law library access, cold temperatures in the jail, retaliation, being placed in the "hole," denial of medical care, denial of grievances, and insufficient diet / canteen. Id. at 7, 20, 25, 42. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief. Id. at 4-5.

3. The Current Case, Hollis v. Mims , Filed May 9, 2011, is Duplicative of the Prior Pending Case, Hollis v. York , Filed March 11, 2009

Thus, in both cases, Plaintiff named various defendants *fn3 affecting his stay at the Fresno County Jail between August 19, 2008 through June 16, 2009. In both case, Plaintiff alleges claims resulting from law library access, cold temperatures in the jail, retaliation, being placed in the "hole," denial of medical care, denial of grievances, and insufficient diet / canteen. In both cases, Plaintiff requests relief of compensatory and punitive damages. Therefore, this case is duplicative of Plaintiff's prior current pending case because the claims, parties, and available relief do not significantly differ between the two actions. Thus, the Court finds that this action should be dismissed as duplicative of Hollis v. York , No. 1:09-cv-00463-AWI-BAM.

III. Conclusion and Recommendation

The Court finds that Plaintiff's complaint in the this case is duplicative of Plaintiff's other pending case, Hollis v. York , No. 1:09-cv-00463-AWI-BAM. Accordingly, the Court hereby RECOMMENDS that this action should be DISMISSED, as duplicative.

These Findings and Recommendations will be submitted to the United States District Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within twenty-one (21) days after being served with these Findings and Recommendations, Plaintiff may file written objections with the Court. The document should be captioned "Objections to Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendations." Plaintiff is advised that failure to file objections within the specified time may waive the right to appeal the District Court's order. Martinez v. Ylst , 951 F.2d 1153, 1156-57 (9th Cir. 1991).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE


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