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Mitchell v. Dennison

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 21, 2017

DANNEL M. MITCHELL, #R07374, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN DENNISON, T. PITTAYATHIKHAN, DR. DAVID, K. SMOOT, L. LECRANE, and WEXFORD HEALTH CARE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter is now before the Court for consideration of Plaintiff Dannel Mitchell's Motion to Reopen Case (Doc. 15) filed on June 15, 2017, Motion to Demonstrate Imminent Danger (Doc. 16) filed on June 15, 2017, and “Motion to Re-evaluate Motions, TRO, Preliminary Injunction, etc.” (Doc. 17) filed on June 19, 2017. The Court construes all three motions collectively as a request for reconsideration of the Court's decision to deny Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) and dismiss this case with prejudice as a sanction for intentionally failing to disclose his litigation history in his IFP application. (Docs. 6, 13-14). For the reasons set forth herein, all three motions (Docs. 15-17) shall be DENIED.

         Background

         Plaintiff filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against officials at Shawnee Correctional Center after they allegedly failed to treat his severe lower back pain. (Doc. 2). He transferred to Shawnee on March 24, 2017, and filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO Motion”) one month later on April 24, 2017. (Doc. 1). In it, Plaintiff requested a full evaluation of his back injury at a hospital and a long term course of pain medication. (Doc. 1, p. 4).

         Plaintiff explained that he did not file a Complaint because he had not exhausted his administrative remedies. (Doc. 1, pp. 1, 4). Plaintiff's TRO Motion was initially filed in another one of his pending cases involving the same defendant. Plaintiff advised the Court by letter dated May 8, 2017, that he intended to file a separate case. Along with the letter, he submitted a Complaint (Doc. 2) and a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP Motion”) (Doc. 3). A new case was opened.

         Before screening the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court first considered Plaintiff's request for IFP. (Doc. 6). In the IFP Motion, Plaintiff failed to disclose his litigation history, including each of the “strikes” he incurred before filing the instant action. (Doc. 3). Instead, he indicated in his Complaint that he had begun no other lawsuits in federal court relating to his imprisonment. (Doc. 2, p. 3). A review of public records revealed that Plaintiff was misleading the Court.

         Prior to commencing this action, he “struck out” by filing three or more frivolous, malicious, or meritless actions. See Mitchell v. Baldwin, No. 16-cv-00278-NJR (S.D. Ill.) (dismissed for failure to state a claim on Aug. 9, 2016); Mitchell v. Dennison, No. 16-cv-01189-MJR (S.D. Ill.) (dismissed as frivolous on Jan. 12, 2017); Mitchell v. Gateway Foundation, No. 17-cv-02741 (N.D. Ill.) (dismissed for failure to state a claim on April 27, 2017). See also Mitchell v. Lupert, No. 16-cv-00486-SMY (S.D. Ill.) (dismissed on June 14, 2016) (Doc. 8). The Court found that the omission of his entire litigation history from his IFP Motion and Complaint was both knowing and intentional. (Doc. 6).

         Plaintiff's failure to disclose his litigation history while seeking leave to proceed IFP was grounds for immediate dismissal of the case. (Doc. 6, p. 4) (citing Hoskins v. Dart, 633 F.3d 541, 543 (7th Cir. 2011) (dismissal with prejudice appropriate where Court-issued complaint form clearly warned Plaintiff that failure to provide litigation history would result in dismissal); Ammons v. Gerlinger, 547 F.3d 724, 725 (7th Cir. 2008) (termination of suit is an appropriate sanction for struck-out prisoner who took advantage of court's oversight and was granted leave to proceed IFP); Sloan v. Lesza, 181 F.3d 857, 858-59 (7th Cir. 1999) (litigant who sought and obtained leave to proceed IFP without disclosing his three-strikes status committed a fraud upon the court)). See also Postlewaite v. Duncan, 668 F. App'x 162 (7th Cir. 2016) (immediately terminating appeal filed by plaintiff who falsely represented to district court and Court of Appeals that he was eligible to proceed in forma pauperis); Ramirez v. Barsanti, 654 F. App'x 822 (7th Cir. 2016) (same). Before deciding whether the dismissal would be with or without prejudice, the Court offered Plaintiff an opportunity to show cause why he should not be subject to this sanction. (Doc. 6, p. 7). His response to the show cause order was due on or before May 24, 2017. Id.

         The day before this deadline expired, Plaintiff responded by filing a letter with the Court. (Doc. 9). In it, he indicated that he has been bedridden and in constant pain. (Doc. 9, pp. 1-4). He complained that prison officials continue to ignore his complaints. Id. However, he offered no reason for omitting his entire litigation history from the Complaint and IFP Motion. Id. After considering the response, the Court concluded that Plaintiff's case should be dismissed with prejudice. (Doc. 13). An Order Dismissing Case with prejudice (Doc. 13) and Judgment (Doc. 14) were entered on May 31, 2017.

         Post-Judgment Motions

         1. Motion to Reopen (Doc. 15)

         On June 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Reopen Case. (Doc. 15). There, Plaintiff explains that he was sent to the hospital on May 23, 2017, where he was diagnosed and treated for infections in his spinal cord and bones. (Doc. 15, p. 1). He remained hospitalized for a week and did not receive his mail until June 5, 2017. Id. For this reason, he was “unable to respond.” Id. He went on to explain that he did not disclose his strikes because he was not aware how many strikes he had incurred or the case numbers associated with them. (Doc. 15, pp. 1-2).

         2. Motion to Demonstrate Imminent Danger (Doc. 16)

         Also on June 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Demonstrate Imminent Danger, in which he describes excruciating pain dating back to March 5, 2017. (Doc. 16). He was allegedly given pain medication for five days while he was housed at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”). (Doc. 16, p. 1). X-rays taken of his lower back during that time ...


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