United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM & RECOMMENDATION
T. Numbers, II United States Magistrate Judge
Ricky Banks, a state inmate proceeding pro se, filed a
complaint (D.E. 1) alleging violations of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) and the First and Eighth Amendments to
the United States Constitution. This matter is currently
before the court for the screening required by the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). Also before the
court are Banks's motions to amend (D.E. 22, 23, 26) and
motions for a writ of mandamus (D.E. 30, 31, 32). For the
following reasons, Banks's motions are DENIED, and the
court recommends that this action be dismissed as
Motions to Amend
filing his original complaint, Banks supplemented his
allegations many times. He also filed many motions to amend,
see (D.E. 7, 10, 17, 20, 21), three of which are
still pending (D.E. 22, 23, 26). Because Banks allegations
and proposed amendments were strewn across several pleadings
on the docket and difficult to follow, the court instructed
Banks to consolidate his claims in one amended complaint
(D.E. 25). Banks filed his amended complaint in October 2018.
His amended complaint was filed after his pending motions to
amend. Because the court granted Banks leave to consolidate
all of his claims into one amended pleading, his pending
motions to amend (D.E. 22, 23, 26) are DENIED as moot.
Motions for a Writ of Mandamus
filed three motions seeking a writ of mandamus directing
defendants to discontinue the violations Banks alleges in his
complaint. Banks's motion does not establish that he is
entitled to mandamus relief. See Heckler v. Ringer,
466 U.S. 602, 616-17 (1984) (holding mandamus relief is only
available where plaintiff has “exhausted all other
avenues of relief and only if the defendant owes him a clear
nondiscretionary duty”). As a result, these motions
(D.E. 30, 31, 32) are DENIED.
PLRA requires courts to review, prior to docketing, actions
filed by prisoners against governmental entities or
officials. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The purpose of this
review is to eliminate those claims that unnecessarily impede
judicial efficiency and the administration of justice. The
court must examine the pleadings, identify cognizable claims,
and dismiss any portion of the complaint that is frivolous,
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. Id. § 1915A(b). A
similar standard applies to cases brought by parties
proceeding in forma pauperis. Id. §
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted if it does not “contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The Supreme Court has
explained that “[a] claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id.
Williams's status as a pro se party relaxes, but
does not eliminate, the requirement that her complaint
contain facially plausible claims. The court must liberally
construe a pro se plaintiff's allegations, but
it “cannot ignore a clear failure to allege
facts” that set forth a cognizable claim. Johnson
v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, 867 F.Supp.2d 766, 776
(E.D. N.C. 2011).
April 2018, Banks has filed 12 civil rights actions in this
district. See Banks v. Hooks, No. 5:18-CT-3076-BO
(E.D. N.C. filed Apr. 13, 2018); Banks v. Asbell,
No. 5:18-CT-3144-FL (E.D. N.C. filed June 15, 2018);
Banks v. Hooks, No. 5:18-CT-3208-FL (E.D. N.C. filed
Aug. 8, 2018); Banks v. Asbell, No. 5:18-CT-3236-D
(E.D. N.C. filed Aug. 29, 2018); Banks v. Page, No.
5:18-CT-3243-BO (E.D. N.C. filed Aug. 31, 2018); Banks v.
Page, No. 5:18-CT-3249-BO (E.D. N.C. filed Sept. 12,
2018); Banks v. May, No. 5:18-CT-3283-FL (E.D. N.C.
filed Oct. 16, 2018); Banks v. Raleigh Police
Dep't, No. 5:18-CT-3295-D (E.D. N.C. filed Oct. 26,
2018); Banks v. Richardson, No. 5:18-CT-3299-D (E.D.
N.C. filed Oct. 30, 2018); Banks v. Williams, No.
5:18-CT-3318-BO (E.D. N.C. filed Nov. 15, 2018); Banks v.
Huddleson, No. 5:18-3342-BO (E.D. N.C. filed Dec. 11,
2018). Several of these actions are extremely similar,
alleging misconduct by officials at Greene Correctional since
November 2017. These cases are still pending frivolity
review, and on at least three occasions the court has
instructed Banks has to particularize his claims. Banks has
also filed several motions to amend in virtually all of his
cases. And Banks routinely files identical motions in his
various actions. For example, Banks filed a similar motion
for a writ of mandamus in each of his pending cases.
even as amended, plaintiff's claims are still difficult
to understand, and it is still not clear what each specific
defendant did to him. Banks names over 30 defendants, and, in
many cases, he describes their actions in boilerplate
language. Thus, even after the court allowed him to amend his
claims, Banks's amended complaint still does not comply
with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. His
complaint should be dismissed for that reason alone.
the crux of Banks's action is that, since November 2017,
prison officials at Greene improperly exposed him to second
hand smoke. Banks has already raised this claim, and several
other related claims in an earlier action. See Banks v.
Hooks, No. 5:18-CT-3076-BO (filed April 13, 2018). Thus,
this case is duplicative. “Because district courts are
not required to entertain duplicative or redundant lawsuits,
they may dismiss such suits as frivolous pursuant to §
1915(e). Generally, a lawsuit is duplicative of another one
if the parties, issues and available relief do not
significantly differ between the two.” Cottle v.
Bell, 229 F.3d 1142, 2000 WL 1144623, at *1 (4th Cir.
Aug. 14, 2000) (unpublished table opinion) (citations
omitted); see I.A. Durbin, Inc. v. Jefferson Nat'l
Bank, 793 F.2d 1541, 1551-52 (11th Cir. 1986)
(collecting cases); Richardson v. Thompson, No.
4:04-1256-27, 2004 WL 3316381, *3-4 (D.S.C. Oct. 7, 2004),
aff'd, 124 Fed.Appx. 795 (4th Cir. Mar. 30,
2005). Moreover, the doctrine of res judicata would preclude
this court from reaching a different legal decision from the
original action. Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 94
(1980). So this action should be dismissed as duplicative.