AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
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A prisoner claimed
that a guard assaulted him by putting a finger in his anus during a pat-down
search. The guard contended that the lawsuit should be dismissed as the
prisoner failed to exhaust available administrative remedies as required
by the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The prisoner asserted that he had
filed a written grievance, but the trial court determined that this was
false, as none of the prisoner's more than 100 grievances related to this
alleged assault until one filed in August of 2009 which did not mention
the guard and which itself conceded that it was untimely and only filed
"for exhaustion purposes." The trial court ruled that the prisoner
had committed perjury about the grievance in his testimony, and thereby
forfeited his claim. The appeals court agreed, and ordered the prisoner
to show cause why his ability to file lawsuits as a pauper should not be
revoked and financial sanctions imposed. The prisoner, the court said,
"has made deceit the norm in his litigation. He is a frequent plaintiff,
and many of his suits entail dissembling." Rivera v. Drake, #14-1458,
2014 U.S. App. Lexis 17173 (7th Cir.).
After a prisoner suing pro se was denied the right to proceed as a pauper because of his past record of filing numerous meritless or frivolous lawsuits in both state and federal court, the trial court entered an order restricting him from filing any more pro se lawsuits. The Supreme Court of Rhode Island vacated that order, finding that it violated the prisoner's constitutional right of access to the courts. Laurence v. R.I. Dep't of Corrections, #12-197, 68 A.3d 543, 2013 R.I. Lexis 112.
A federal prisoner filed a civil rights lawsuit against multiple defendants. Among other things, it claimed that they used excessive force to feed him when he went on a hunger strike, used excessive force to obtain blood samples, placed him in unconstitutional conditions by putting him in a feces-infested cell, denied him the right to a Bible, denied him adequate recreational opportunities, tried to deny him access to the courts and refused to let him file grievances. The trial court dismissed the complaint before the defendants filed a response, finding that the 99-page complaint defies understanding, rendering it unintelligible." A federal appeals court overturned that decision, reinstating the lawsuit. It stated that a complaint can sometimes be long not because the plaintiff is seeking to confuse things or is incompetent, but simply because the plaintiff has many separate issues they wish to pursue. The complaint, which was 28 pages long, with a 71-page appendix, was not excessively long, the court found, given the number of claims raised, and was not only entirely intelligible; it is clear. Kadamovas v. Stevens, #12-2669, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 2602 (7th Cir.).
A federal appeals court upheld the right of state prison authorities to revoke a prisoner's good-time credits for filing motions for sanctions determined by a federal district court to be "frivolous" in his lawsuit against prison officials. A state statute which authorized such punishment following disciplinary proceedings properly gave officials a tool to punish such behavior and in no way interfered with the legitimate constitutional right of access to the courts. The appeals court, however, certified to the Illinois Supreme Court the issue of whether the state was required to show either that the court making the frivolousness determination had determined that the motions filed satisfied the definitions of frivolous in the state statute, or that the court had otherwise manifested its intent to invoke the state statute. Eichwedel v. Chandler, #091031, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 18375 (7th Cir.).
After a prisoner's negligence and emotional distress claims against an Idaho county were found to be frivolous, the defendants were awarded $13,172 in attorneys' fees and costs against the prisoner under state law. The prisoner tried to avoid this award by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. A federal bankruptcy appellate panel ruled that the discharge granted in the bankruptcy proceeding did not relieve him from having to pay. The award constituted a debt arising out of a "fine, penalty, or forfeiture payable to and for the benefit of a governmental unit," which cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Searcy v. ADA County Prosecuting Atty. Office (In re Searcy), #09-00248, 2012 Bankr. Lexis 204 (B.A.P. 9th Cir.).
In a prisoner's 82-page complaint, he claimed, among other things, that prison officials were conspiring to kill him or encouraging other prisoners to do so. But these claims were stated in a conclusory manner with no supporting facts. In light of this, and the prisoner's past history of filing meritless lawsuits, it was apparent that his allegations were based on paranoid delusions, so his lawsuit was properly dismissed as frivolous regardless of whether or not it was barred by the "three strikes" provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915(g). Walton v. Walker, #09-2617, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 2338 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
A prisoner claimed that he suffered an Eighth Amendment violation because prison employees verbally harassed him, tried to place him in a chow hall seating area where he could have been attacked by other prisoners, and "stared" at him for approximately five minutes when he was tied down to his bed wearing only boxer shorts, with his legs spread apart. Finding these claims frivolous, the court noted that he did not claim physical injury, did not show any indication of a use of excessive force, and did not show that a defendant made any comments to him of a sexual nature. The court also rejected the prisoner's First Amendment claims regarding the handling of his mail, finding that allegedly crossing out the Zip code on a letter he mailed did not amount to a constitutional violation, and that he suffered no harm from the alleged opening of his legal mail. Crownhart v. Sullivan, #08-1483, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 21814 (Unpub. 10th Cir.).
A prisoner's civil rights and disability discrimination complaint was dismissed as frivolous. Despite being given two opportunities to amend his complaint to provide a short and plain statement of the basis of his causes of action, he failed to remedy the confusing and lengthy nature of what he presented. His third version of the complaint was over 200 pages and was "mostly unintelligible." The court also found that another, independent, basis for dismissing the prisoner's lawsuit was that he misrepresented his past litigation history, stating that he had not filed any other lawsuits in federal court related to his incarceration, when actually he had filed at least eight other such lawsuits. Bell v. Lasaceli, #08-CV-0278A, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 32416 (W.D.N.Y.).
A prisoner was barred, under the "three strikes" provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915, from proceeding as a pauper with his lawsuit claiming that guards threatened his life, tampered with his food, denied him medical treatment, heat, and running water, and put feces and urine in his cell when he was housed in quarantine. The prisoner also alleged that prison officials encouraged other prisoners to attack him. The plaintiff brought three or more prior lawsuits that were dismissed as frivolous, and he did not qualify for an exception to the "three strikes" rule, since he was not facing an imminent danger of serious physical injury. The appeals court found that the prisoner engaged in a pattern of repeatedly filing frivolous lawsuits and repeatedly claiming the "imminent danger" exception to try to evade the "three strikes" rule. Brown v. City of Philadelphia, #08-2419, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 10790 (3rd Cir.).
A former prisoner's lawsuit claiming that individual prison officers, a private company and its employees, and a national federal prison employees' union, among others, were involved in an "international conspiracy" to permit and assist Muslim African-American inmates to abuse, torture, and rape Christian Caucasian inmates, and that his wife was kidnapped by some conspirators was "obviously" frivolous, so that the federal trial court did not have jurisdiction to consider them. The trial court should not, however, have dismissed, in the same manner, the prisoner's claims that he was retaliated against for filing lawsuits and grievances, or that his right of access to the courts was restricted while he was incarcerated. Allen v. Am. Fed. of Government Employees, No. 06-4943, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 8963 (3rd Cir.).
Prisoner's claims that he was subjected to abuse by "death ray" devices and exposure to chemical agents within the prison, causing damage to his body tissue, heart, and brain were frivolous and properly dismissed. The fact that he allegedly had a learning disability and a mental illness label did not alter the fact that he could not "rationally establish" the existence of the forces he claimed were injuring him. Prince v. Ryder, No. 07-2031, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 7562 (6th Cir.).
A prisoner's lawsuit claimed that, after he filed a court action to require prison employees to provide him access to the law library, he was subjected to retaliation in the form of a "fabricated" disciplinary charge, and found guilty of the violation. The court found that the prisoner's claim was frivolous, and that he failed to show facts to support a claim for unlawful retaliation. The prisoner was also found to be an "abusive litigator" with at least "three strikes" under a Pennsylvania state statute--three previously dismissed frivolous lawsuits. The court revoked the prisoner's status as someone able to proceed in the case as a pauper, and also dismissed his appeal. Bailey v. Miller, No. 1688 C.D. 2007, 2008 Pa. Commw. Lexis 95.
Texas detainee failed to show that limits on his access to the law library or to a typewriter resulted in any actual injury in pending court actions. The plaintiff, an alien, also asserted claims that an attorney for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement "and her ghost," the "reincarnated Jezebel Princess of Evil" appeared before him while he slept at night or showered, causing him mental distress. The court ruled that these claims were "obviously frivolous." The court also rejected claims that the prisoner had suffered unlawful retaliation for pursuing his claims against the attorney and her "ghost," since a retaliation claim cannot be based on underlying claims that are frivolous. Maringo v. McGuirk, No. 07-20163, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 4720 (5th Cir.).
Prisoner's claim that he was subjected to retaliation and a "fabricated" misconduct complaint for expressing an opinion about which television channel inmates would watch was properly dismissed as frivolous. A First Amendment retaliation claim could not be based on this, as expressing such an opinion was not protected speech. Wilson v. Budgeon, No. 07-1607, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 22086 (3rd Cir.).
Prisoner failed to show any evidence that he had a "meaningful legal need" for copies or carbon paper in connection with his pending litigation, so that his claim that denial of access to carbon paper or photocopying equipment free of cost was properly dismissed as frivolous. The prisoner also failed to show that the alleged denial of access to either one paralegal prisoner or access to the law library actually interfered with any pending case. Finally, since the prisoner had adequate funds to pay for his own stamps to send his papers to the court, the prison was not required to provide him with free postage to do so. Muhammad v. Mitchell, No. 07-1010, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 17076 (10th Cir.).
Prisoner's lawsuit claiming that a city and county, and a number of jail employees planted a "homing device" in his body during an appendix operation and threatened sexual assaults against his friends and family was properly dismissed as frivolous. He named both the city and county as Defendants, but did not show that the alleged actions were caused by an official policy or custom, and also failed to identify the jail employees by either their names or their jobs. Hodges v. Denver, No. 07-1011, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 12318 (10th Cir.).
Prisoner's claim that his 8th Amendment rights had been violated by an electronics instructor's instructions to go to a restroom to clear his nasal passages and to cease bothering the class with his "frequent" throat clearing was frivolous. The instructor did not act in an "egregious" manner, and the prisoner had no constitutional right to receive an education while incarcerated. Flanyak v. Ross, No. 05-2868, 153 Fed. Appx. 810 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Pennsylvania prisoner's claim that prison doctor was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, including back pain and partial loss of sensation in his toes and lower legs, was frivolous. The record showed that the prisoner was evaluated by various medical personnel, received several prescription medications, and underwent an electrocardiograph examination (EKG). The failure to refer the prisoner to a specialist or a local hospital did not show deliberate indifference. The doctor's alleged failure to inform the prisoner of the possible side effects of the medication was, at most, negligence, and could not be the basis for a federal civil rights claim. Jetter v. Beard, No. 04-1976, 130 Fed. Appx. 523 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Prisoner's claim that his due process rights were violated when he was classified by prison officials as a sex offender because of an accusation by a female prison guard that he deliberately masturbated in his cell for her to see was not frivolous. Prisoner claimed that he was improperly denied the opportunity to present witnesses at a hearing on the sex offender classification. The appeals court does, however, reject as frivolous his equal protection and Eighth Amendment claims. Fistell v. Neet, No. 03-1285, 125 Fed. Appx. 219 (10th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Prisoner's "frivolous threat" to file a prison grievance if a guard turned off a TV could not be used as the basis to support a claim that officers improperly searched his cell and took his property in retaliation. Brown v. Craven, No. 03-11273, 106 Fed. Appx. 257 (5th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Texas prisoner's claim that prison officials acted with deliberate indifference to his health and safety during the winter of 1999-2000 by denying him adequate clothing and shelter was frivolous, based on a prior federal appeals court decision concerning almost identical claims against some of the same defendants, and rejecting those claims, Winthrow v. Heaton, 67 Fed. Appx. 252 (5th Cir. 2003). The prior decision, however, did not bar his claims concerning a subsequent winter, that of 2000-2001, since it did not determine that the defendants, some old and some new, "could not have acted with deliberate indifference at a later date." The dismissal of claims concerning the winter of 2000-2001 was therefore vacated. Winthrow v. Garcia, No. 04-40487, 116 Fed. Appx. 524 (5th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner's past "flooding" of court with frivolous complaints and his current "outrageous" allegations that there was a "vast conspiracy" among defendant correctional employees to "kill him" supported a trial court's decision not to grant his request for injunctive relief and a finding that he did not show a "probability of success" on the merits of his claims about alleged inadequate medical care. Federal appeals court urges the trial court "not to entertain any further complaints" by the prisoner which would require allowing him to proceed as a pauper at either the trial court or appeals court level. "The only complaint that the district court must seriously entertain and review is one of imminent danger of serious physical injury," the appeals court stated, citing 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915(g). Pellegrino v. Janklow, No. 03-3565, 107 Fed. Appx. 704 (8th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner's lawsuit alleging that prison officials tampered with his outgoing mail was insufficient to state a claim and frivolous, when it was clearly shown that his mail was actually sent out and that he even received responses, in many instances, from courts to which he sent correspondence. Smith v. Bruce, #04-3043, 103 Fed. Appx. 342 (10th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner's claim to recover damages for a sweat suit worth $25 allegedly negligently lost in federal prison laundry, brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act, was properly dismissed as frivolous. The amount of damages sought in a complaint pursued as a pauper, federal appeals court rules, is a factor which may be taken into consideration in making a determination of frivolity under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Nagy v. FMC Butner, No. 03-6736, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 15042 (4th Cir.). [2004 JB Sep]
Prisoner's lawsuit against corrections officers was properly dismissed as frivolous. Prisoner was found to be a "vexatious litigant," and failed to provide the required information in an affidavit to the court concerning his past 22 lawsuits and detailing the facts for which relief was sought in those past lawsuits. Carson v. Walker, No. 07-01-0402-CV, 134 S.W.2d 300 (Tex. App. 2003). [N/R]
Inmate's lawsuit claiming a "massive conspiracy" against him by nineteen correctional officials or employees was frivolous, and he did not show an exhaustion of available administrative remedies as required under Texas law prior to filing suit. Additionally, his affidavit of prior civil litigation history merely described three prior lawsuits as "dismissed," without informing the court that they had been deemed frivolous or malicious, and he had a pattern of filing frivolous lawsuits which had previously resulted in a federal court barring him "for life" from filing further civil lawsuits against correctional officials and employees without prior written court permission. Bishop v. Lawson, #2-03-076-CV, 131 S.W.3d 571 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2004). [N/R]
African-American prisoner's "conclusory allegations" that he was singled out for "being an inmate of the black race" and denied "the same rights enjoyed by white inmates" on numerous occasions, including in connection with medical care and transfer to administrative segregation were frivolous. He failed to point to any similarly situated white prisoners who received preferential treatment. Lawsuit was therefore properly dismissed as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915A. Gadlin v. Watkins, #03-1313, 93 Fed. Appx. 204 (10th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner who had been involved in at least forty-seven prior state court civil and criminal appeals, all of them unsuccessful and all directly or indirectly related to his arrest, prosecution, conviction, or confinement for burglary, rape, and criminal deviate conduct, is enjoined against continuing to file meritless complaints. Court places detailed restrictions on his filing of additional complaints concerning the same subject matter. Sims v. Scopelitis, No. 50A03-0211-CV-399, 797 N.E.2d 348 (Ind. App. 2003). [N/R]
Trial court should have set forth, in its decision, specific factual and legal grounds for the dismissal of a prisoner's lawsuit against a correctional officer who testified before the state court of claims that the prisoner's shoes were not actually taken from him. At the same time, given that the prisoner ultimately received damages from the court of claims for his shoes, the lawsuit was properly dismissed as frivolous, and the trial court's failure to set forth its reasons did not require further proceedings under the circumstances. Ward v. Cliver, No. 30493, 575 S.E.2d 263 (W. Va. 2002). [N/R]
Trial court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing as frivolous a prisoner's claim that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by being woken during the night and having lights in his cell which were "too bright." No alleged facts were objectively harmful enough to constitute a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Woodruff v. Paulson, #02-8027, 51 Fed. Appx. 822 (10th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit, along with Texas state Tort Claims Act claim, over the loss of two pairs of sunglasses was properly dismissed as frivolous. Prisoner's declaration that he was able to pay the filing fee and intended to pay it, did not exempt him from the screening process for frivolous lawsuits applied to complaints filed by paupers when he did not actually ever pay the fee. Johnson v. Texas Department of Criminal Justice, #08-01-00247-CV, 71 S.W.2d 492 (Tex. App.--El Paso 2002). [N/R]
Texas statute requiring indigent prisoners to file an affidavit listing the prior lawsuits they have filed and their disposition, or else face dismissal of their lawsuit as frivolous or malicious, did not violate prisoner's rights under the U.S. or Texas constitution. Plaintiff whose lawsuit was dismissed for failure to file required affidavit was the "veritable poster child" for the rational basis of the statute, court comments, with over 175 prior lawsuits and 16 prior published appellate decisions in which he was the appellant. the claims asserted have already been litigated. Thomas v. Bilby, No. 06-00-00113-CV, 40 S.W.3d 166 (Tex. App. 2001). [2002 JB Mar]
296:124 State prison ban on smoking, sale of tobacco products, and possession of tobacco by inmates did not violate inmate's equal protection rights or constitute "disability discrimination" against smokers; federal court dismisses lawsuit as frivolous. Brashear v. Simms, 138 F. Supp. 2d 693 (D. Md. 2001).
295:101 Prisoner's 125-page complaint was "neatly typed," and "readable and comprehensive," but his claim to be the "Messiah" and request for a pardon, peace in the Middle East, and material things such as "500 pairs of mature breeding lake trout" were all frivolous. DeKoven v. Bell, #01-10124-BC, 140 F. Supp. 2d 748 (E.D. Mich. 2001).
290:20 Federal court imposes $250 fine against prisoner for filing frivolous lawsuit complaining that adult magazine's pictorial on Paula Jones was "insufficiently revealing"; judge writes a poem to express the reasons for lawsuit's dismissal. Joyner v. Guccione, U.S. Dist. Ct. (W.D. Tex. Dec. 20, 2000), reported in The National Law Journal, p. A6 (Jan. 8, 2001).
292:57 Trial judge erred in dismissing, as frivolous, prisoner's claim that prison nurse retaliated against him for complaining about medical treatment by filing false disciplinary charges against him; even if prisoner's factual assertions were "unlikely," this did not make them "clearly baseless or wholly incredible" as required for factual frivolousness. Johnson v. Stovall, No. 98-2998, 233 F.3d 486 (7th Cir. 2000).
291:42 Prisoner's lawsuit over his disciplinary hearing conviction was properly dismissed as frivolous without a hearing when the finding of guilt was supported by "some evidence"; federal appeals court joins four other federal circuits in ruling that prisoner's suit could be screened for, and dismissed for, frivolous claims regardless of whether or not prisoner was proceeding as a pauper. Plunk v. Givens, No. 00-1375, 234 F.3d 1128 (10th Cir. 2000).
EDITOR'S NOTE: Four other federal appeals courts have reached the same conclusion--that 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915A(b) allows the screening of prisoner lawsuits for immediate dismissal whether the prisoner is proceeding as a pauper or not. See Carr v. Dvorin, #98-2086, 171 F.3d 115 (2nd Cir. 1999); Martin v. Scott, #97-41242, 156 F.3d 578 (5th Cir. 1998), cert. denied, #98-9113, 527 U.S. 1041 (1999); Benson v. O'Brian, #98-3017, 179 F.3d 1014 (6th Cir. 1999); and Rowe v. Shake, #98-4207, 196 F.3d 778 (7th Cir. 1999).
291:37 Prisoner's claim that housing him with an inmate of another race violated his right to exercise his religion was properly dismissed as frivolous. Thompson v. Texas Dept. of Crim. Just., #01-98-01215-CV, 33 S.W.2d 412 (Tex. App. 2000).
282:83 Prisoner's conduct in pursuing frivolous legal claims was not protected conduct for which he could pursue retaliation claim in the absence of retaliatory conduct which "shocked the conscience"; prisoner could, however, pursue claim that he was retaliated against for assisting another prisoner in asserting his complaints if that assistance was necessary to enable other prisoner to do so. Herron v. Harrison, No. 98-5726, 203 F.3d 410 (6th Cir. 2000).
277:10 Rastafarian prisoner's claim that prison requirement that he cut his hair violated his religious rights was not "frivolous" when there was, as of now, no evidence in the record concerning any security concerns which justified the requirement. Cofer v. Schriro, #99-1852, 176 F.3d 1082 (8th Cir. 1999).
278:21 Texas prisoner's claim that being denied eight meals and one visitation session over a seven-month period was "cruel and unusual punishment" was frivolous; prisoner did not show that he received an inadequate diet that threatened his health and he had no constitutional right to visitation. Berry v. Brady, #98-41179, 192 F.3d 504 (5th Cir. 1999).
278:29 Wisconsin statute that authorized the transfer of state prisoners to private prisons in other states did not violate prisoners' rights under the Thirteenth Amendment; federal appeals court states that prisoners' claims were "thoroughly frivolous." Pischke v. Litscher, #98-4013, 178 F.3d 497 (7th Cir. 1999).
283:104 Georgia prisoner could not pursue a civil lawsuit against county sheriff seeking return of unidentified property when it had already been determined, in his criminal proceeding, that no such property was being held; trial court's order barring all future civil filings by prisoner as frivolous, however, went too far and violated his right of access to the courts. Hooper v. Harris, 512 S.E.2d 312 (Ga. App. 1999).
275:165 Oklahoma prisoner was properly assessed $300 sanction for filing frivolous lawsuit against warden for alleged loss of personal property, despite failure to show any personal participation by warden in such loss, failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and failure of inventory of property to list any of the items prisoner claimed were lost. Lowe v. Champion, 976 P.2d 562 (Okla. Civ. App. 1998).
[N/R] Screening of prisoner complaints for frivolous claims which should be dismissed applied to all such lawsuits, regardless of whether prisoner was proceeding as a pauper; prisoner's complaint was frivolous since the conditions of his administrative segregation did not amount to a violation of his constitutional rights; his claimed illness after being fed a soy-based meat substitute was not cruel and unusual punishment. Martin v. Scott, #97-41242, 156 F.3d 578 (5th Cir. 1998).
257:70 Prisoner who filed twenty petitions for review with U.S. Supreme Court, 16 within two years, barred from further noncriminal case filings before Court without paying of filing fees. Arteaga v. U.S. Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit, 118 S.Ct. 903 (1998).
248:117 Federal appeals court imposes $500 sanction on prisoner who filed lawsuit claiming that female warden had sex with him in her office and offered him sex and money to kill her husband; court also enjoins further frivolous filings by prisoner, who seemed to specialize in filing lurid complaints describing supposed sexual escapades with female correctional, law enforcement, or judicial personnel. Autry v. Woods, 106 F.3d 61 (4th Cir. 1997).
249:134 Prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit over ingredients in pancake syrup served at prison found to be frivolous; plaintiff prisoner, with long history of filing frivolous claims and appeals, assessed $500 in sanctions, to be paid to defendant prison official, and enjoined from filing further civil appeals until money is paid. Brock v. Angelone, 105 F.3d 952 (4th Cir. 1997).
249:139 Mere alleged negligence resulting in water on floor of bathroom was insufficient basis for prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit for his slip-and-fall; trial judge properly dismissed suit as frivolous. Walker v. Reed, 104 F.3d 156 (8th Cir. 1997).
253:4 Federal appeals court imposes $500 sanction on prisoner who unsuccessfully appealed, for the seventh time in one year, dismissal of a civil suit as frivolous; latest suit claimed that President and Governor caused him emotional distress by "conspiring against the Holy Commandments"; earlier suits asked for air conditioning, better televisions, personal computers, and claimed that prison violated his religious freedom by employing psychologists. Vestal v. Clinton, 106 F.3d 553 (4th Cir. 1997).
254:19 Prisoner who filed frequent frivolous lawsuits and appeals about alleged loss of property such as bubble gum and mayonnaise packets sanctioned $500 to be paid to correctional official and enjoined from filing further appeals until he pays this amount. Foley v. Fix, 106 F.3d 556 (4th Cir. 1997).
255:37 Prisoner who had previously filed eight petitions for review in civil cases before U.S. Supreme Court, and who now filed further petition with "patently frivolous" claims, denied leave to proceed as pauper and barred from filing, as a pauper, any further petitions in civil cases. Brown v. Williams, 115 S.Ct. 1 (1997).
255:38 Parole officials can properly consider a prisoner's frivolous litigation activity in making parole decisions, as there is no protected right to engage in frivolous lawsuits; federal appeals court also upholds the consideration of crime victims' statements in opposition to parole for a particular prisoner. Johnson v. Rodriguez, 110 F.3d 299 (5th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 118 S.Ct. 559 (1997). 255:38 Allegedly forcing juvenile detainee to sleep one night in "urinated sheets" did not state claim for violation of civil rights when it was not alleged that prison officials acted with deliberate indifference or for the purpose of inflicting unnecessary pain; suit properly dismissed as frivolous. Hunt v. Downing, 112 F.3d 452 (10th Cir. 1997).
255:39 Prisoner who had previously had three lawsuits dismissed as frivolous could still proceed with new lawsuit, despite "three strikes" rule of Prison Litigation Reform Act, when new lawsuit claimed that prison librarian put him in imminent threat of serious physical injury by allowing inmate law clerk to read his legal papers indicating that he was a government informant. Gibbs v. Roman, 116 F.3d 83 (3rd Cir. 1997).
257:69 Prisoner's claim that correctional officials violated his rights by failing to rehabilitate him prior to releasing him on parole, thereby making them liable for his subsequent conviction and reincarceration for murder, rape and robbery was frivolous. McFadden v. Lehman, 968 F.Supp. 1001 (M.D. Pa. 1997).
263:166 Prisoner's lawsuit asking for $3,851,000 in damages because he was given a verbal reprimand and prevented from buying snacks at the commissary for two weeks dismissed as malicious and frivolous; discipline resulting in these sanctions did not violate protected due process rights. Moore v. Pemberton, #96-3715, 110 F.3d 22 (7th Cir. 1997).
242:23 Federal appeals court rules that Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 applies retroactively to plaintiff prisoner's pending appeal as a pauper of dismissal of federal civil rights lawsuit as frivolous. Marks v. Solcum, 98 F.3d 494 (9th Cir. 1996).
250;153 Prisoner's claim that his constitutional rights were violated because he had no access to jobs, vocational, rehabilitation, or educational programs in prison's "Idle Unit" dismissed as frivolous; there is no constitutional right to such programs. Douglas v. DeBrun, 936 F.Supp. 572 (S.D. Ind. 1996).
230:26 Lawsuit against prison officials and guards by prisoner allegedly raped by HIV positive cellmate should not have been dismissed as frivolous, despite his failure to specify required mental state of individuals or name of guard who allegedly stood by and failed to intervene during rape. Billman v. Indiana Dept. of Corrections, 56 F.3d 785 (7th Cir. 1995).
236:125 Administrative segregation, "absent extraordinary circumstances" is "never a ground for a constitutional claim," federal appeals court rules, upholding dismissal of prisoner's suit as frivolous. Pichardo v. Kinker, 73 F.3d 612 (5th Cir. 1996).
235:105 Inmate's suit challenging his placement in administrative segregation on the basis of allegedly "false" information regarding his membership in "Aryan Brotherhood" gang was properly dismissed as frivolous; inmate had no constitutionally protected interest in his custody status and, even if he had, providing him with a hearing ten days after his placement in administrative segregation gave him adequate "due process." Luken v. Scott, 71 F.3d 192 (5th Cir. 1995). 233:74 Federal appeals court rules that trial court erred in dismissing, as frivolous, prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit seeking damages only for alleged violation of his procedural due process right to call witnesses and present evidence at disciplinary hearing, despite prisoner's failure to exhaust state law remedies or allege that disciplinary decision had been invalidated. Armento-Bey v. Harper, 68 F.3d 215 (8th Cir. 1995).
239:169 Trial court should not have dismissed as frivolous prisoner's claim that correctional employees failed to protect him against assault by other prisoner when there was evidence that he repeatedly complained that this prisoner was threatening him and trying to extort money, and the other prisoner allegedly assaulted others. Horton v. Cockrell, 70 F.3d 397 (5th Cir. 1995).
231:38 Prisoner who filed numerous repetitive "meritless" appeals and who appeared to have assets will be denied "indigent" status for future filings with Florida court. Attwood v. State Dept. of Corrections, 660 So.2d 358 (Fla. App. 1995).
232:53 Inmate's right to freedom of speech does not include a right to "proposition female prison personnel." Kirsch v. Franklin, 897 F.Supp. 1173 (E.D. Wis. 1995).
239:165 Prisoner who filed over one hundred lawsuits in an eight-year period found to have abused judicial system by failing to disclose earlier lawsuits over the same subject matter or against the same defendants in which it was already ruled that his rights were not violated by refusing to allow him to purchase and wear women's clothing and that prison officials were not liable for allegedly failing to protect him against physical assault by other inmates. Jones v. Warden of Stateville Correctional Center, 918 F.Supp. 1142 (N.D. Ill. 1995).
217:6 Inmate's suit claiming that his family, neighbors, and friends were being held hostage by prison staff members and that he had personally been subjected to witchcraft and attempts to poison him dismissed as factually frivolous. Robinson v. Love, 155 F.R.D. 535 (E.D.Pa. 1994).
218:22 Prisoner who filed numerous meritless appeals, petitions for rehearing, etc. enjoined by federal appeals court from filing further appeals unless he is represented by a licensed attorney or receives advance permission to proceed without a lawyer. DePineda v. Hemphill, 34 F.3d 946 (10th Cir. 1994).
218:23 Federal trial judge, hoping to make the "message" clear to prisoner who filed multiple frivolous lawsuits, confiscates any computer, word processor or typewriter prisoner has, imposes $5,000 monetary sanction (to be collected by attachment of prisoner's commissary funds and future prison earnings), and orders that prisoner state, on the outside of each envelope of outgoing mail, that he has been "enjoined from asserting fraudulent personal injury claims." Williams v. Revlon Co., 156 F.R.D. 39 (S.D.N.Y. 1994).
223:103 Prisoner's suit against sixty-six persons alleging that they used a "telepathic control device" placed in his brain to order him to attempt suicide and assault others dismissed as "preposterous." Doran v. McGinnis, 158 F.R.D. 383 (E.D. Mich. 1994).
223:103 Prisoner's $5 million lawsuit against himself for violating his own civil rights dismissed as frivolous and "ludicrous"; prisoner asked court to order state to pay money to him on his behalf since he had no income while imprisoned. Brock v. Brock, U.S. Dist. Ct., Norfolk, Va., reported in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, p. 3 (April 10, 1995).
225:135 Texas state law did not allow inmate to sue correctional officials for alleged negligent failure to enforce rules against excessive noise; suit was properly dismissed as frivolous. Johnson v. Kinney, 893 S.W.2d 271 (Tex. App. 1995).
226:154 Utah state parole statute did not create a liberty interest limiting the discretion of parole board in granting or denying parole; prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit against parole board members was therefore frivolous. Malek v. Haun, 26 F.3d 1013 (10th Cir. 1994).
[N/R] Inmate was properly sanctioned for having filed numerous civil rights lawsuits that were dismissed as frivolous or for failure to prosecute; Prisoner must pay $50 sanction and seek judicial approval before filing any future lawsuit. Murphy v. Collins, 26 F.3d 541 (5th Cir. 1994).
Prisoner's claim that correctional officials retaliated against him for his writ-writing activities should not have been dismissed as frivolous. Gartrell v. Gaylor, 981 F.2d 254 (5th Cir. 1993).
Prisoner's suit alleging delay in his medical treatment was properly dismissed as frivolous when no deliberate indifference or resulting harm were claimed; claim that prisoner was justified in refusal to work because of physical condition was properly viewed as frivolous when this condition was adequately considered in assigning his work detail. Mendoza v. Lynaugh, 989 F.2d 191 (5th Cir. 1993).
Lawsuit alleging guard's negligence in use of leg irons and lockbar was properly dismissed as frivolous; discomfort experienced by prisoner was minor and acts complained of were common and necessary in prison environment. Thomas v. Texas Dept. of Crim. Justice, 848 S.W.2d 797 (Tex. App. 1993).
Trial court abused discretion in dismissing as frivolous inmate's claim that he was forced to stand outside in rain and cold without adequate protective clothing while other inmates finished their meals. Chandler v. Moore, 2 F.3d 847 (8th Cir. 1993).
Prisoner's complaint that excessive force to subdue him after disturbance was neither irrational nor wholly incredible and therefore should not have been dismissed as frivolous. Johnson v. Bi-State Justice Center, 12 F.3d 133 (8th Cir. 1993).
Confiscation of state-issued T-shirts from prisoner's cell during shakedown did not violate due process or constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Ladd v. Davies, 817 F.Supp. 81 (D. Kan. 1993).
Prisoner's civil rights lawsuit was properly dismissed as frivolous when he filed a motion seeking injunctive relief against correctional officers who did not even work at the facility where he was confined, and showed no evidence linking them in any way to the deprivations he claimed he suffered there. Carman v. Treat, 7 F.3d 1379 (8th Cir. 1993).
Spraying of jail inmate with fire extinguisher after he started a fire was not an excessive use of force, even if fire was then out, under circumstances in which inmate suffered no injury whatsoever from the spraying. Jackson v. Culbertson, 984 F.2d 699 (5th Cir. 1993).
Prisoner's lawsuit alleging that unidentified deputies "in disguise" attacked him was improperly dismissed as "frivolous" without allowing him to conduct discovery to determine who the deputies were, federal appeals court rules. Murphy v. Kellar, 950 F.2d 290 (5th Cir. 1992).
Prisoner appeals dismissal, as frivolous, of his suit against guard claiming $3.55 in damages for alleged taking of his cigarettes and coffee bag; appeals court upholds dismissal and assesses $1,420 (ten times court costs) as a sanction against inmate for frivolous appeal. Smith v. Stevens, 822 S.W.2d 152 (Tex. App. 1991).
Prisoner's civil rights lawsuit can be dismissed as frivolous when the facts alleged are irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992).
Prisoner's suit challenging as unconstitutional occasional denial of showers and discipline for making suggestive remarks to female nurse was frivolous; inmate's filing of frivolous appeal from dismissal of suit results in $100 sanction and a bar against his filing of further appeals until sanction is paid and trial court certifies appeal as having "arguable merit". Smith v. McCleod, 946 F.2d 417 (5th Cir. 1991).
U.S. Supreme Court, reacting to repeated frivolous petitions from two men, invokes rule denying them permission to avoid paying filing fees as paupers. Zatko v. California, 112 S.Ct. 355 (1991).
Inmates' lawsuit complaining that they didn't get shampoo and deodorant while in punitive segregation dismissed as frivolous. Scher v. Purkett, 758 F.Supp. 1316 (E.D. Mo. 1991).
Inmates' civil rights suit over "excessive television noise" in prison was properly dismissed as frivolous. Johnson v. Lynaugh, 800 S.W.2d 936 (Tex. App. 1990).
Federal appeals court, unamused by inmate's claim that sheriff "removed from his head a silver dollar worth $126 million," upholds $30 monetary sanction against plaintiff inmate. Jackson v. Carpenter, 921 F.2d 68 (5th Cir. 1991).
Any person signing papers submitted to court in frivolous federal lawsuits can be assessed monetary sanctions, whether or not they are an attorney. Business Guides, Inc. v. Chromatic Communications Enterprises, Inc., 111 S.Ct. 922 (1991); Cooter & Gell v. Hartmarx Corp., 110 S.Ct. 2447 (1990); Paveliv & LeFlore v. Marvel Entertainment Group, 110 S.Ct. 456 (1989).
Inmate files his 38th civil rights lawsuit against prison; dismissing it as frivolous, appeals court bars him from filing further such lawsuits without judicial approval. Mayfield v. Collins, 918 F.2d 560 (5th Cir. 1990).
Prisoner barred from filing further appeals until he pays $150 sanction for filing "plainly frivolous" civil rights complaint. Vinson v. Texas Bd. of Corrections, 901 F.2d 474 (5th Cir. 1990).
Prisoner required to pay $10 fine imposed in prior suit for frivolous litigation before being allowed to proceed with new lawsuit over prison conditions. Gelabert v. Lynaugh, 894 F.2d 746 (5th Cir. 1990).
Prisoner's threats to bring lawsuit every time his cell was searched showed abuse of judicial process; prisoner denied leave to appeal as pauper. Free v. United States, 879 F.2d 1535 (7th Cir. 1989).
Federal court's dismissal of inmate's lawsuit was proper for failure to exhaust prison remedies as ordered; inmate to pay costs of appeal. Lay v. Anderson, 837 F.2d 231 (5th Cir. 1988).
U.S. appeals court holds that prisoner's 20 prior frivolous lawsuits undermined his credibility and allowed for closer scrutiny of his complaint found to be frivolous even though "when read in a vacuum", it stated a claim. Moody v. Baker, 857 F.2d 256 (5th Cir. 1988).
Prisoner's lawsuit complaining that notice of juvenile hearing concerning his son was withheld until two days before hearing was frivolous. George v. Basham, 741 S.W.2d 881 (Mo. App. 1987).
Court dismisses inmate's lawsuit as frivolous, merely complaining of conditions he does not like; inmate escapes sanctions because he lacks money. Martinez v. Griffin, 840 F.2d 314 (5th Cir. 1988).
Inmate's complaint about cellmate's "body odor" and stench of his wastes ruled frivolous. McBride v. Ill. Dept. of Corrections, 677 F.Supp. 537 (N.D. Ill. 1987).
Appeals court agrees on order restricting inmate from filing numerous abusive lawsuits. In re Tyler, 839 F.2d 1290 (8th Cir. 1988).
Single incident of food poisoning no constitutional violation, no matter how many prisoners affected. George v. King, 837 F.2d 705 (5th Cir. 1988).
After 149 lawsuits, court orders inmate limited to filing one a month and to cease using abusive language; cannot draft complaints for others. In re Tyler, 677 F.Supp. 1410 (D. Nebraska, 1987).
Appeals court orders monetary sanctions against inmate for frivolous appeal. Simmons v. Poppell, 837 F.2d 1243 (5th Cir. 1988).
Federal appeals court orders sanctions against prisoners' frivolous appeal; warns other who pursue "recreational" litigation. Gabel v. Lynaugh, 835 F.2d 124 (5th Cir. 1988).
Prisoner's frivolous lawsuit did not entitled successful defendant to damages because it would be "fruitless" to expect recovery. Murphy v. Neisner, 733 S.W.2d 12 (Mo. App. 1987).
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