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Mayfield v. Cole

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

September 20, 2017

EARL R. MAYFIELD, Plaintiff,
v.
CRAIG COLE, CHRIS ARAGON, and CAMERON J. GEMOE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL

         THIS MATTER is before the Court sua sponte under Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) and 12(b)(6) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d)(2)(B) on the civil rights complaint filed by Earl R. Mayfield on March 9, 2017 (Doc. 1), the Amended Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint filed by Earl R. Mayfield on March 14, 2017 (Doc. 2), and on multiple amendments, letters, and motions to amend the Complaint. The Court will dismiss Mayfield's complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim for relief, strike his Amended Complaint and deny his motions to amend for failure to meet the requirements of Rule 8(a), and grant Mayfield leave to file a single, comprehensive, and factually specific amended complaint. Also before the Court are Mayfield's two motions to consolidate this case with Earl R. Mayfield v. Main Warden John Doe, et al., No. CV 17-00237 RJ/CG. (Doc. 7, 12). The Court will also deny the motions to consolidate.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Mayfield is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. He has filed five cases in this Court: Earl R. Mayfield v. Joe Garcia, et al., No. CV 16-00805 JB/WPL; Earl Mayfield v. Tom Ruiz, No. CV 17-00193 JCH/LAM; Earl R. Mayfield v. Main Warden John Doe, et al., No. CV 17-00237 RJ/CG; Earl R. Mayfield v. Craig Cole, et al., No. CV 17-00332 WJ/KK and Earl R. Mayfield v. Presbyterian Hospital Administration, No. CV 17-00398 MCA/KRS. Each of the lawsuits involves different claims for relief against different defendants and correctional facilities. The Court has received multiple, largely incomprehensible, filings from Plaintiff Mayfield, which he often requests be filed in multiple pending cases regardless of whether the filings are relevant to all or even any of the cases.

         Mayfield originally filed this proceeding as a letter to “Fed Dist Judges” on March 9, 2017. (Doc. 1). However, his initial pleading alleges vague complaints relating to conditions of incarceration at Central New Mexico Correctional Facility, ranging from the prison grievance system to failure to provide clothing to not allowing him in the “ED Building”. (Doc. 1 at 1). His request for relief states “Please help me with these civil right violation I feel I need some Court Order.” (Doc. 1 at 2). Based on the nature of the allegations and the relief he requests, the Court construes his filing as a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 499-500 (1973); Rael v. Williams, 223 F.3d 1153, 1154 (10th Cir. 2000). His filing indicates he wants to name, as Defendants, Craig Cole, Sgt Aragon, and Cameron J. Gemoe. (Doc. 1 at 1-2).

         Plaintiff Mayfield's March 9, 2017 letter complaint appears to arise out of an inmate misconduct report of February 21, 2017. Sergeant Chris Aragon reported that, while waiting in the medical area, Plaintiff entered a restricted education area without authorization and was searching for debit memos. When asked for his identification card, Mayfield did not have the card with him, in violation of published rules and regulations. Mayfield was asked by a medical officer to remain in the medical waiting area and was then escorted back to unit 5B without incident. (Doc. 1 at 6). Disciplinary Officer Cameron J. Gemoe investigated the misconduct report and recommended the minor offense charges of (i) presence in unauthorized or restricted area, (ii) disobeying a lawful order, and (iii) failure to display identification be referred for a minor level hearing. (Doc. 1 at 3-4).

         Mayfield subsequently filed a letter directed to the Clerk of the Court on March 14, 2017. Attached to the letter are (1) an Amended 1983 Prisoner's Civil Rights Complaint asking to add Lt Cameron J. Gemoe and Sgt Daniel Gront as Defendants and (2) a New Mexico state court Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (Doc. 2 at 3-11). Mayfield's March 14, 2017 filings claim that Lt Gemoe and Sgt Gront are friends of APD officers, other attorneys, and officials, and are involved in some type of conspiracy. (Doc. 2 at 1-2). The attachments to his letter contain wide-ranging and largely incomprehensible allegations of disability discrimination, inadequate medical care, and lock-down limitations. (Doc. 2 at 3-11). Since the filing of his March 14, 2017 letter, Mayfield has submitted six motions apparently seeking to amend his complaint. (Doc. 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 15). The Court has also received letters from Mayfield containing additional allegations and argument. (Doc. 5, 10). Although continuing to claim violation of his constitutional rights, the March 17, 2017 letter, motions to amend, and additional letters set out conclusory allegations involving facilities, events, and officials different from those identified in the March 6, 2017 letter. See, e.g., Doc. 16, 10, 11.

         Last, Mayfield has filed two motions seeking to consolidate this case with Earl R. Mayfield v. Main Warden John Doe, et al., No. CV 17-0000237 RJ/CG. (Doc. 7, 12). Mayfield argues that the two cases involve the same ongoing claims. However, the allegations in CV 17-00237 relate to a different factual events and different officials than those involved in this case. (See CV 17-00237 Doc. 1). The Court notes that similar motions to consolidate have already been denied in case no. CV 17-00237. See CV 17-00237 Doc. 18.

         LEGAL STANDARDS AND ANALYSIS OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS

         1. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and Motions to Amend Do Not Meet Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) Pleading Requirements

         The decision to strike a pleading or to dismiss an action without prejudice for failure to comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 is within the sound discretion of the district court. See Kuehl v. FDIC, 8 F.3d 905, 908 (1st Cir.1993); Atkins v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., 967 F.2d 1197, 1203 (8th Cir.1992); Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 42 (2d Cir.1988). In order to state a claim for relief, Rule 8(a) requires a plaintiff's complaint contain “(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon which the court's jurisdiction depends, ... (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief, and (3) a demand for judgment for the relief [he] seeks.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Although the Court is to construe pro se pleadings liberally, a pro se plaintiff must follow the rules of federal and appellate procedure, see Ogden v. San Juan County, 32 F.3d 452, 455 (10th Cir.1994).

         A pro se complaint may be stricken or dismissed under Rule 8(a) if it is “incomprehensible.” See Carpenter v. Williams, 86 F.3d 1015, 1016 (10th Cir.1996); Olguin v. Atherton, 215 F.3d 1337 (10th Cir. 2000). Rule 8(a)'s purpose is to require plaintiffs to state their claims intelligibly so as to give fair notice of the claims to opposing parties and the court. Mann v. Boatright, 477 F.3d 1140, 1148 (10th Cir. 2007); Monument Builders of Greater Kansas City, Inc., v. American Cemetery Ass'n of Kansas, 891 F.2d 1473, 1480 (10th Cir.1989). Imprecise pleadings undermine the utility of the complaint and violate that purpose of Rule 8. See Knox v. First Security Bank of Utah, 196 F.2d 112, 117 (10th Cir. 1952). Rambling and incomprehensible filings bury material allegations in “a morass of irrelevancies” and do not meet Rule 8(a)'s pleading requirement of a “short and plain statement.” Mann, 477 F.3d at 1148; Ausherman v. Stump, 643 F.2d 715, 716 (10th Cir.1981).

         Moreover, a plaintiff may not seek to amend a complaint in a manner that turns the complaint into a “moving target.” It is unreasonable to expect the Court or the defendants continually to have to adapt as the plaintiff develops new theories or locates new defendants. There comes a point when even a pro se plaintiff has had sufficient time to investigate and to properly frame his claims against specific defendants. Minter v. Prime Equipment Co., 451 F.3d 1196, 1206 (10th Cir.2006).

         Plaintiff's rambling, incomprehensible filings do not comply with the requirements of Rule 8. Plaintiff's filings bury any material allegations in “a morass of irrelevancies” and do not meet Rule 8(a)'s “short and plain statement” pleading requirement. Mann, 477 F.3d at 1148; Ausherman, 643 F.2d at 716. Further, his motions seeking leave to amend his complaint, in addition to being difficult to follow, turn the proceeding into a constantly moving target. Minter, 451 F.3d at 1206.

         The Court will strike Plaintiff's March 17, 2017 letter and its attachments (Doc. 2) and Plaintiff's additional letter filings (Doc. 5, 10) on the grounds that they violate the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). The Court will also deny Plaintiff's motions to amend the complaint (Doc. 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 15) because the proposed amendments ...


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