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Enow v. Green

United States District Court, D. Maryland

January 6, 2017

NDOKEY ENOW, # 435845, 1990858 Plaintiff
v.
KATHLEEN S. GREEN, Warden, ECI, et al, Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Paul . Grimm United States District Judge.

         Ndokey Enow filed this prisoner civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 with a Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis on December 1, 2016. ECF Nos. 1, 2. Enow has "three strikes" under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), and is barred from filing cases unless he pays the filing fee or demonstrates that he is in imminent danger of serious physical injury. See Enow v. Feinstein, et al, No. PWG-15-3348 (D. Md.) (assigning Enow a third "strike" under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g)).[1] After review of this lengthy complaint, the Court finds no basis to excuse him from paying the full filing fee. Accordingly, the Court will deny the Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis and grant Enow twenty-eight days to pay the $400.00 filing fee and to file an amended complaint which conforms to the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Failure to pay the full filing fee and to cure the deficiencies in the Complaint within this time will result in dismissal of this case without prejudice or further notice from the Court.

         Enow's Complaint

         Complaints are reviewed Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) which requires that they contain "a short and plain statement of the claim." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(d)(I) further requires that each averment "be simple, concise, and direct." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). Such a statement must give a defendant fair notice of plaintiffs claims. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of the cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The Court is also mindful that it must liberally construe the complaints of self-represented litigants to address constitutional deprivations. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). Nevertheles,, "principles requiring generous construction of pro se complaints are not ... without limits." Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). Statements which are unnecessarlly prolix place "an unjustified burden on the court and the party who must respond to [them] because they are forced to select the relevant material from a mass of verbiage." Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 42 (2d Cir.1988) (quoting 5 Charles Wright & Arthur Miller, Fed. Prac. & Proc. S 1281, at 365 (1969)); see also North Carolina v. McGuirt, 114 F.App'x 555, 558-59 (4th Cir. 2004). As filed here, the Complaint does not satisfy this standard.

         The Complaint names 20 defendants and is comprised of 18 handwritten pages, 149 pages of attachments, and a one-page declaration. It presents numerous allegations concerning incidents unrelated in time or place. At least one allegation overlaps with or repeats claims previously filed in this court.[2]

         Enow alleges that on July 28, 2016, he was subjected to cruel and inhumane conditions when transported from Jessup Correctional Institution (JCI) to Eastern Correctional Institution (ECI) by the Maryland Correctional Transportation Unit (MCTU) in a van that stopped at Patuxent Institution to pick up other inmates. While waiting for other inmates to board, Enow remained inside the transport vehicle for over twenty minutes without air conditioning. Enow claims the temperature reached approximately 115° F, although he does not explain how he arrived at this measurement. He claims he suffered migraine headaches, insomnia, nose bleeding, anxiety, nausea, and dizziness as a result of the heat and lack of ventilation.

         Enow alleges that on February 6, 2016, Officers J. Hadesty and R. Ryan began harassing him with verbal threats of physical harm and false accusations, causing him to be placed in disciplinary segregation. Enow claims that for 15 hours between February 6, 2016 and February 7, 2016, he was placed in a cold cell without heat or a mattress while wearing only a jumpsuit. He claims he suffered chest pain, inflammation of the lungs, numbness in his lips, genitalia, hands and legs, headaches, stomach pain dizziness, and nasal congestion.

         Enow next alleges that on April 18, 2016, he was assaulted by unidentified ECI officials for filing a complaint against corrections officers at the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown. Enow provides no other details of the assault. He states he was placed in a strip cell without clothing or a mattress for eight days and suffered extreme emotional distress, embarrassment, back and body pain, migraine headaches, chest pain, and nasal congestion. He asserts the cell floor was filthy, there were feces on the walls, and the cell was infested with vermin.

         Enow's allegations also pertain to his incarceration at the Maryland Correctional Institution (MCI) between April 21, 2015 and December 3, 2015. He claims that he was placed in administrative segregation at MCI with inmates classified as security threat group members, thereby placing him at risk of harm. Notably, he does not allege that any incidents occurred. Enow claims that while housed at ECI he was subjected to inadequate ventilation, tobacco smoke, mold and fungus, and vermin. He self-reports suffering food poisoning and skin diseases.

         As relief for the harms alleged, Enow seeks $300, 000 in damages and injunctive relief of an unstated nature. The Court will grant Enow twenty-eight days to amend the Complaint to comply with the Federal Rules. He is directed to limit this filing to no more than fifteen handwritten pages, written on only one side of each page. He must specify the name of each Defendant involved in each incident, identify the federal law or constitutional provision violated, and state the injury he sustained.

         "Three Strikes" Rule

         Courts have held that the "imminent danger" exception to S 1915(g)'s "three strikes" rule must be construed narrowly and applied only "for genuine emergencies, " where "time is pressing" and "a threat ... is real and proximate" to the alleged official misconduct. Lewis v. Sullivan, 279 F.3d 526, 531 (7th Cir. 2002). "The exception focuses on the risk that the conduct complained of threatens continuing or future injury, not on whether the inmate deserves a remedy for past misconduct." Martin v. Shelton, 319 F.3d 1048, 1000 (8th Cir. 2003). The bar for establishing imminent danger, although high, is not insurmountable.

If limited to situations in which, say, a beating is ongoing, no prisoner will find solace; once the beating starts, it is too late to avoid the physical injury; and once the beating is over the prisoner is no longer in "imminent danger" .. . Reading the imminent-danger language ...

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