United States District Court, D. Delaware
plaintiff, James Arthur Biggins ("Biggins"), an
inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center
("VCC), Smyrna, Delaware, filed this lawsuit on December
4, 2017. (D.I. 3.) He proceeds pro se and has been
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis  He has also
filed a motion for an emergency injunction. (D.I. 14.) The
court now proceeds to review and screen the complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(a).
filed the complaint alleging violations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint states
that Biggins filed two actions in the Delaware State Courts:
Biggins v. Coupe, C.A. No. 16C-11-238 MMJ (Del.
Super.) dismissed December 16, 2016, after Biggins was denied
leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and Biggins
v. Carney, C.A. No. K17C-02-038 JJC (Del. Super.)
dismissed March 1, 2017, as factually and legally frivolous.
(D.I. 3, Exs. A, B.) The instant complaint states, "the
plaintiff consolidates both cases and delete[s] or add[s]
some defendants for this court's review of merit and
subsequent filing." (D.I. 3 at 2.) In his motion for
injunctive relief Biggins states, "this is an action
consolidated of two cases from the Delaware Superior Court
involving multiple state and federal constitutional rights
and statutes." (D.I. 14 at 1.) Biggins alleges he was
denied access to the courts (apparently State court) because
no avenues exist to correct mistakes.
complaint lists 92 defendants in its caption and raises three
discrete claims: correctional staff deficiencies, medical
staff deficiencies, and hazardous environment conditions.
There is no prayer for relief.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
federal court may properly dismiss an action sua
sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A(b) if "the action
is frivolous or 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." Ball v.
Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (in forma
pauperis actions); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (actions in
which prisoner seeks redress from a governmental defendant);
42 U.S.C. § 1997e (prisoner actions brought with respect
to prison conditions). The court must accept all factual
allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light
most favorable to a pro se plaintiff. Phillips
v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir.
2008); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007).
Because Biggins proceeds pro se, his pleading is
liberally construed and his complaint, "however in
artfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 94 (citations omitted).
8(a)(1) states that a pleading that states a claim for relief
must contain a demand for the relief sought. Rule 8(d)(1)
states, in pertinent part, that "[e]ach allegation must
be simple, concise and direct." Rule 20(1)(a)(2), which
is also applicable, states, in pertinent part, as follows:
Persons may... be joined in one action as defendants if any
right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally,
or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the
same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or
occurrences; and any question of law or fact common to all
defendants will arise in the action.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a) (2)(A) and (B). "In exercising its
discretion [to join parties], the District Court must provide
a reasoned analysis that comports with the requirements of
the Rule, and that is based on the specific fact pattern
presented by the plaintiffs and claims before the
court." Hagan v. Rogers, 570 F.3d 146, 157 (3d
Cir. 2009); see also Boretsky v. Governor of New
Jersey, 433 Fed.Appx. 73, 77 (3d Cir. 2011).
frames this action as a consolidation of two cases he filed
in the Delaware Superior Court, one of which was dismissed as
factually and legally frivolous. Biggins did not see fit to
provide either Superior Court complaint to the court, and
neither is considered as a complaint filed in this court. The
operative complaint is found at docket item 3. To the extent
Biggins seeks to raise those claims dismissed on March 1,
2017, in Biggins v. Carney, C.A. No. K17C-02-038 JJC
(Del. Super.), he is barred from doing so under the doctrine
of claim preclusion which limits a party's ability to
raise claims that either were or could have been litigated in
a prior action. See Reaves v. Pennsylvania Board of Prob.
& Parole, 580 Fed.Appx. 49, 52 (3d Cir. 2014)
(unpublished). The complaint in C.A. No. K17C-02-038 JJC was
dismissed as factually and legally frivolous and Biggins'
appeal was dismissed after he failed to pay the filing.
See Biggins v. Carney, No. 183, 2017 (Del. 2017)
(appeal dismissed July 12, 2017, for failure to pay the
filing fee). Moreover, Biggins may not use this court as a
means to seek relief for claims considered and dismissed by
the Delaware Courts. Allowing him to do so would allow him to
use the federal courts to appeal state court judgments and,
thus, would run afoul of the Rooker Feldman
doctrine. See Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S.
413 (1923); District of Columbia Court of Appeals v.
Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 482 (1983).
complaint contain three discrete claims against 92 defendants
in violation of Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a). Naming 92 defendants
makes the complaint unmanageable. Moreover, the three
discrete claims appear to have different factual and legal
issues. While joinder is encouraged for purposes of judicial
economy, the "Federal Rules do not contemplate joinder
of different actions against different parties which present
entirely different factual and legal issues." Zhu v.
Countrywide Realty Co., Inc., 160 F.Supp.2d 1210, 1225
(D. Kan. 2001) (citation omitted). And, because none of the
defendants are referred to in the complaint, it is impossible
to determine whether the three discrete claims involve issues
of law or fact common to all 92 defendants
addition, the complaint is deficiently pled. It consists of
legal conclusions without supporting facts and fails to meet
the pleading requirements of Iqbal See Ascroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). The instant complaint lists
92 defendants in its caption, none of whom are mentioned in
the body of the complaint. The correctional staff
deficiencies claim does not reference one defendant or any
time-frame. Nor are there allegations that any action was
taken against Biggins. The medical staff deficiencies claims
contains no dates and no named defendants, but does refer to
actions or inactions that Biggins claims violated his rights.
Finally, the hazardous environment conditions claim does not
reference a single defendant. Nor does it indicate whether
Biggins is housed in or near the area where the asbestos
removal is taking place. With regard to a time frame, it
merely mentions that asbestos removal began in November 2016.
Also, it is evident from their titles that many of the
defendants hold supervisory positions, some defendants are
immune from suit, and other defendants are not State actors.
Finally, Biggins seeks to raise claims that have been
considered and rejected by the Delaware Superior Court.
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"),
which substantially changed the judicial treatment of civil
rights actions by state and federal prisoners, also compels
compliance with Rule 20. Specifically, under the PLRA the
full filing fee must ultimately be paid in a non-habeas
action. Allowing a prisoner to include a plethora of
separate, independent claims, would circumvent the filing fee
requirements of the PLRA." Mincy v. Klem, 2007
WL 1576444, at *1 (M.D. Pa. May 30, 2007). See George v.
Smith,507 F.3d 605, 507 (7th Cir. 2007) ("The
"[u]nrelated claims against different defendants belong
in different suits, not only to prevent the sort of morass
that this [multiple]-claim, [multiplej-defendant suit
produced but also to ensure that prisoners pay the required
filing fees."). See also Smith v. Kirby, 53
Fed.Appx. 14, 16 (10th Cir. 2002) (unpublished) (finding no
abuse of discretion where district court ...