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Oden v. Munneke

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 24, 2018

CHRISTOPHER W. ODEN, Plaintiff,
v.
J. MUNNEKE, L. OWINGS, RANDALL PASS Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Christopher Oden, an inmate in U.S.P. Marion, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights, specifically the denial of single-cell status (necessary for his mental health treatment) and denial of medical devices. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         However, failure to accurately disclose one's litigation history is also grounds for dismissal, and because it is apparent here that Plaintiff has attempted to mislead the Court with regards to his litigation history, the Court will dismiss this action with prejudice as a sanction.

         The Complaint

         Rather than using the Court's pre-printed form, Plaintiff prepared his own Complaint. However, his preparation closely tracks the pre-printed form. Specifically, Plaintiff addresses the question of previous lawsuits. His statement in its entirety is that “Oden has no other law suits in state or federal court relating to the Defendant 1, 2, 3 listed herein.” (Doc. 1, p. 7).

         Yet despite the intimation of that statement, Plaintiff is quite the prolific filer. A review of the PACER system shows that Plaintiff has filed at least 13 other federal actions[1]: Oden v. Wilson, 18-cv-183-JAG-RCY (E.D. Va. 2018); Oden v. Mcormick, 18-cv-154-JAG-RCY (E.D. Va. 2018); Oden v. Wilson, 17-cv-0489-JAG-RCY (E.D. Va. 2017); Oden v. True, 18-cv-600-MJR (S.D. Ill. 2018); Oden v. Wilson, 18-6698 (4th Cir. 2018); Oden v. United States, 16-cv-047-JPB-JES (N.D. W.Va 2016); Oden v. State of North Carolina, 16-cv-193-JAG-RCY (E. D. Va. 2016); Oden v. Wilson, 16-cv-110 (E.D. Va. 2016); Oden v. Wilson, 17-cv-286-RCY (E.D. Va. 2017); Oden v. Wilson, 16-cv-307-JAG-RCY (E.D. Va. 2016); Oden v. Wilson, 15-cv-196-JAG-RCY (E.D. Va. 2015); In Re Christopher Oden, 15-2308 (4th Cir. 2015); and Oden v. Wilson, 16-7680 (4th Cir. 2016).

         Discussion

         District courts may dismiss litigation without further warning or opportunity to cure in the event that a litigant makes material and intentional omissions in filing his complaint. Hoskins v. Dart, 633 F.3d 541, 543-44 (7th Cir. 2011). A pro-se prisoner's litigation history is material because that that information enables a court to manage its docket and adhere to the 3-strikes requirement of 28 U.S.C. 1915(g). Id. at 544.

         Plaintiff has attempted to comply with the disclosure requirement by specifically stating that he has not filed another lawsuit against the specific defendants named in this suit. But that is not the requirement; the Court's form asks about “any other lawsuits in state or federal court relating to your imprisonment.” While Plaintiff's interpretation may address the concern about duplicative litigation, it does nothing to assist the Court in assessing the application of the three-strikes requirement.

         Although Plaintiff did not use the form, he has in the past. Plaintiff's Complaint in 17-cv-489-JAG-RCY (E.D. Va.), filed less than 12 months prior to this one, uses a standard complaint form with similar language: “Have you ever begun other lawsuits in state or federal court relating to your imprisonment?” (17-489, Doc. 1). Plaintiff was on notice that he was obligated to disclose his litigation history and that the standard question was far broader than the question he chose to answer in this suit. Moreover, that complaint demonstrates a pattern of obscuration; Plaintiff checked the “no” box in response to that question, despite that fact that he had filed at least 8 other lawsuits prior to that suit, 1 of which was filed mere months before. (17-489, Doc. 1, pp. 2-4). Plaintiff has also failed to disclose his litigation history in his other ...


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