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Rodriguez v. Delury

United States District Court, Third Circuit

October 10, 2013

BERNARD E. DELURY, JR. et al., Defendants. JEAN EMMANUEL RODRIGUEZ, Plaintiff,
THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY et al., Defendants.


RENÉE MARIE BUMB, District Judge.

The civil matter, Civil Action No. 13-5866 comes before the Court upon the Clerk's receipt of a § 1983 civil complaint ("Complaint") submitted by Jean Emmanuel Rodriguez ("Plaintiff"). See Rodriguez v. DeLury, Civil Action No. 13-5866, Docket Entry No. 1. The Complaint arrived unaccompanied by Plaintiff's filing fee or application to proceed in this matter in forma pauperis. See id.

The entire fee to be paid in advance of filing a civil complaint is $400. That fee includes a filing fee of $350 plus an administrative fee of $50, for a total of $400. A prisoner who is granted in forma pauperis status will, instead, be assessed a filing fee of $350 and will not be responsible for the $50 administrative fee.[1] A prisoner who is denied in forma pauperis status must pay the full $400, including the $350 filing fee and the $50 administrative fee, before the complaint will be filed.

Here, Plaintiff did not submit his $400 filing fee or his in forma pauperis application with regard to Civil Action No. 13-5866. Therefore, that matter became subject to administrative termination with leave to prepay the filing fee or seek in forma pauperis status. See Papotto v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., U.S.App. LEXIS 19660, at *26 (3d Cir. Sept. 26, 2013)("administrative closings do not end the proceeding. Rather, they are a practical tool used by courts to prune overgrown dockets and are particularly useful in circumstances in which a case, though not dead, is likely to remain moribund").

However, Plaintiff's history of litigation in this District suggests that Plaintiff might have submitted the Complaint as a pleading commencing a new civil matter in error. This is so because he has already commenced another civil action in this District just a few months ago. See Rodriguez v. State of New Jersey ("Rodriguez-I"), Civil Action No. 13-4101 (RMB) (D.N.J.). In that matter, Plaintiff sought and was granted in forma pauperis status, and had the $350 filing fee assessed against him to be collected in appropriate installments.

In Rodriguez-I, Plaintiff asserted a panoply of challenges (all framed in terms of bald conclusions), seemingly referring to his arrest and current state criminal prosecution. See generally, Rodriguez-I. The Court thrice detailed to Plaintiff the pleading requirement in connection with Rodriguez-I, see id., Docket Entries Nos. 2, 4 and 6, and allowed Plaintiff three opportunities to replead. See id., Docket Entries Nos. 2 to 6. However, Plaintiff's first and second amended pleadings, just as his original Rodriguez-I pleading, failed to detail his facts and kept reciting the very same bald conclusions, albeit paraphrasing the same differently each time. See Docket Entries Nos. 2 to 6.

On August 5, 2013, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's second amended pleading in Rodriguez-I for failure to state a claim. See id., Docket Entry No. 6. That dismissal, too, was without prejudice, and Plaintiff was allowed one final opportunity to file his third amended complaint alleging the actual facts of the wrongs he wished to litigate and detailing how each particular defendant was personally involved in those alleged wrongs. See id. at 4; cf. In re Suprema Specialties, Inc. Sec. Litig. , 438 F.3d 256, 276-77 (3d Cir.2006) (a plaintiff must assert all the essential factual background that would accompany "the first paragraph of any newspaper story' - that is, the who, what, when, where and how' of the events at issue") (citations omitted).

Plaintiff did not file his third amended pleading in Rodriguez-I. Rather, perhaps inadvertently, he submitted the pleading now docketed in Civil Action No. 13-5866, thus causing the Clerk to commence this new matter.

Since Plaintiff's challenges in Civil Action No. 13-5866 appear to be of the same nature and suffer of the same deficiencies to those plaguing his first three rounds of pleadings in Rodriguez-I, this Court has no certainty that Plaintiff wished to abandon his Rodriguez-I litigation and commence Civil Action No. 13-5866, that is, a new action that would cause Plaintiff to incur another assessment of a filing fee and risk another "strike."

Therefore, this Court finds it prudent to construe the Complaint as Plaintiff's third amended pleading intended for filing in Rodriguez-I. The Court will direct the Clerk to file the Complaint in Rodriguez-I and will dismiss without prejudice, for failure to state a claim, while extending Plaintiff's time to take advantage of his final opportunity to detail his claims with regard to each Defendant, i.e., to inform the Court as to what exactly occurred, how it occurred, when it occurred, how each Defendant was personally involved in these occurrences, why Plaintiff is of the opinion that these occurrences violated his rights, etc.[2] See Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 677-78.

An appropriate Order follows.

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