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Cruitt v. City of Mobile

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

April 4, 2019

CITY OF MOBILE, ALABAMA, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis (Doc. 11), filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Americans with Disability Act (”ADA”).[1] In screening Plaintiff's complaint, as required by the 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(B)(2), the undersigned found deficiencies in his complaint and ordered that he file amended complaints to cure the noted deficiencies in an effort to have a proper complaint before the Court. Pelletier v. Zweifel, 921 F.2d 1465, 1522 (11th Cir. 1991)(requiring a court to “intervene at the earliest possible moment in the proceeding” when faced with a complaint that does not comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and require the plaintiff to replead his entire case), abrogated on other grounds Douglas Asphalt Co. v. QORE, Inc., 657 F.3d 1146, 1151 (11th Cir. 2011). Because Plaintiff did not comply with the Court's orders to plead a complying amended complaint after being given several opportunities to do so, it is recommended that this action be dismissed with prejudice, prior to service of process, for failure to comply with the Court's orders.

         “A district court has inherent authority to manage its own docket ‘so as to achieve the orderly and expeditious disposition of cases.'” Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc. v. Florida Mowing & Landscaping Serv., Inc., 556 F.3d 1232, 1240 (11th Cir. 2009)(quoting Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 43, 111 S.Ct. 2123, 2132, 115 L.Ed.2d 27 (1991)). The Court's management of cases includes requiring a plaintiff to re-plead a complaint to avoid “the expenditure of much time and effort” by the court and a defendant in deciphering the pleadings as best they can. Pelletier, 921 F.2d at 1522. The objective is to have a complaint that provides fair or adequate notice of plaintiff's claims to the defendants and the court. Weiland v. Palm Beach Cty. Sheriff's Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1323 (11th Cir. 2015).[2] When a plaintiff does not comply with a court's order, a district court has the discretion to “dismiss a claim if the plaintiff fails to prosecute it or comply with [the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or] a court order.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). “‘The power to invoke this sanction is necessary in order to prevent undue delays in the disposition of pending cases and to avoid congestion in the calendars of the District Court.'” Equity Lifestyle Prop., 556 F.3d at 1240 (quoting Durham v. Fla. East Coast Ry. Co., 385 F.2d 366, 367 (5th Cir. 1967)).

         I. Posture of Action.

         A. Original Complaint (Doc. 1).

         On March 14, 2018, Plaintiff commenced this action by filing a 4-page, single-spaced, typewritten complaint in a small font[3]against the City of Mobile, Alabama, Police Officer David C. Reyes, RN Terri Milton, and John and Jane Does (Mayors of Mobile, the Chief of Police of Mobile, correctional officers, Correctional Warden, and the Sheriff of Mobile County). (Doc. 1 at 1). According to Plaintiff, Defendant Officer Reyes arrested him after he hesitated in proceeding through a traffic light once it turned from red to green. (Id.). Plaintiff contends that Defendant Reyes ignored his statements that his passenger had caused a distraction, and that he suffered from (1) a traumatic brain injury that caused an imbalance disorder, (2) a prior broken ankle that contributed to his instability, and (3) glaucoma that was treated with medication that caused redness in his eyes. (Id.). Plaintiff also alleges that he was transported to Mobile County Metro Jail, where his medical conditions were ignored and made light of and where correctional officers and Defendant Reyes repeatedly denied his multiple requests to use the restroom. (Id.). Per Plaintiff, he was twice denied access to a bathroom after he took the breathalyzer test. (Id.). Plaintiff then alleges that Defendant Reyes accused him of refusing to take the breathalyzer test because “[Plaintiff] was demanding that he be allowed to use the restroom”, and after Plaintiff was allowed to use the restroom, Defendant Reyes refused to administer the breathalyzer test because he said Plaintiff had refused to take the breathalyzer test. (Id.). Plaintiff maintains that as a result, his driver's license was suspended for refusal to take a breathalyzer test, and that this constitutes discrimination on account of his disability. (Id.).

         Plaintiff claims that Defendant RN Milton examined him after the “abuse” and declared that he clearly was not intoxicated, but, as the jail nurse, she could not testify unless compelled to do so. (Id.). Plaintiff also asserts that the supervising John/Jane Doe Defendants (wardens, sheriffs, and police chiefs) failed to properly train Defendants with respect to his complained of violation (id.), and Defendant City of Mobile failed in its duty to properly train its police officers in their responsibilities under the ADA. (Id.). Plaintiff attached as exhibits two audio/video recordings, which he alleges show that he was subjected to abuse. (Id.).

         For relief, Plaintiff claims that the publication on the internet of his physics theory, which he values at $100 billion, has been delayed by his arrest, and he seeks compensation for the loss of income caused by the delay. (Id. at 2).

         B. First Amended Complaint (Doc. 5-1). [4]

         Plaintiff next filed a Motion to Refile his Complaint. (Doc. 5). In his first amended complaint (Doc. 5-1), Plaintiff stated that he was arrested on April 15, 2018[5] and added Defendants City Council of Mobile, Alabama, Shirlina Monterro, and A. Holmes Whiddon, Jr. (Id. at 1). The amended complaint was allowed as a matter of right. (Doc. 7).

         C. Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 8).

         Plaintiff filed another Amended Complaint on May 10, 2018, which appears to be a copy of the original complaint he filed on March 14, 2018. (Doc. 8).

         D. Third Amended Complaint (Doc. 9). [6]

         Plaintiff's third amended complaint, filed on June 5, 2018, consists of 17 single-spaced pages typed in a small font. Plaintiff provided names for some of the previously unidentified John and Jane Doe Defendants, added numerous other Defendants, [7](Doc. 9 at 1), and essentially reiterated the basis for his claim, but added more details, and included statements of law and legal arguments. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 22, 27, 32).

         E. Fourth Amended Complaint (Doc. 19).

         Subsequent thereto, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Refile the Complaint (Doc. 12). The Court found Plaintiff's (third) amended complaint (Doc. 9) deficient and ordered Plaintiff to file an amended complaint specifying the conduct for which each Defendant was responsible and clarifying the cause of action he was asserting against each Defendant. (Doc. 13). Plaintiff was cautioned that his claims against fictitious parties would not be allowed to proceed in federal court and was warned that his request for relief appeared frivolous and fantastic. (Id. at 6-7). He was further advised that his allegations must show plausibility as required by the decisions in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (id. at 2), and the Twombly and Iqbal holdings were explained to him. (Id. at 2-3). Plaintiff was warned that his failure to file an amended complaint that addressed and corrected the noted deficiencies on or before August 28, 2018 would result in a recommendation that the case be dismissed. (Id. at 9).

         Thereafter, Plaintiff filed multiple motions to enlarge the time to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 14, 16). The Court ultimately extended the time to October 12, 2019. (Doc. 17). Plaintiff filed another motion to extend the time to file an amended complaint on October 15, 2018. (Doc. 18). Along with the motion, Plaintiff filed his fourth amended complaint. (Doc. 19).

         In the fourth amended complaint, Plaintiff named approximately 57 Defendants (Doc. 9), most of whom he provided little factual background and some of whom he did not provide a name. (Doc. 19 at 4-6). Plaintiff also repeated information from his original complaint and amended complaints and repeated information within the amended complaint itself. Plaintiff also lumped the names of approximately 22 Defendants into a paragraph stating that each failed in their duties to properly train their police officers in how to interact with persons with disabilities. (Id. ¶ 24). See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007) (holding that “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, . . . to prevent the sort of morass that this 50-claim, 24-defendant suit produced”).

         F. Fifth Amended ...

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