Fatir v. Coupe et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 12/2/16. (rwc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
) Civ. Action No. 16-315-GMS
COMMISSIONER ROBERT COUPE,
The plaintiff, Amir Fatir ("Fatir"), is an inmate incarcerated at the James T. Vaughn
Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware. On October 12, 2016, the court reviewed Fatir's 102
page complaint (D.1. 1) that contained 581 numbered paragraphs' and 49 counts raised against 48
defendants. (See D.I. 18, 19.) The court determined that the complaint contained many unrelated
claims against numerous defendants in violation of Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a), that the complaint was
clearly unmanageable, and that the forty-eight defendants would have great difficulty responding
to it. Thereafter, the court divided the original complaint into eleven complaints so that each
complaint contained claims and defendants that involved the same transactions or occurrences
that had a common legal and factual basis. One case remained as Civ. No. 16-315-GMS, and
ten new cases were opened, as follows: Civ. Nos. 16-931-GMS, 16-932-GMS, 16-933-GMS,
The complaint contains more than 581 paragraphs because of several instances of
duplicate renumbering of paragraphs. For example, there is no paragraph 17 (D.I. 1 at 5-6), two
paragraphs No. 50, (id. at 11), two paragraphs Nos. 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, and 408 (id. at 7778), two paragraphs Nos. 476, 477, 478, 479, 480, 481 (id. at 89-90), and three paragraph Nos.
482 (id. at 90).
16-934-GMS, 16-935-GMS, 16-936-GMS, 16-937-GMS, 16-938-GMS, 16-939-GMS, and
16-940-GMS. Fatir moves for reconsideration of the October 12, 2016 order. (See D.I. 22.)
The court subsequently screened the claims that remained in the instant case and, on
October 25, 2016, dismissed the complaint as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)
and§ 1915A(b)(l). (See D.I. 20, 21.) Fatir filed a motion for relief from judgment or order (in
essence a motion for reconsideration) of the dismissal order. (See D.I. 23.)
STANDARD OF LAW
The standard for obtaining relief under Rule 59(e) is difficult for Fatir to meet. The
purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to "correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present
newly discovered evidence." Max's Seafood Cafe ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d
669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999). "A proper Rule 59(e) motion ... must rely on one of three grounds: (1)
an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence; or (3) the need to
correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice. Lazaridis v. Wehmer, 591
F .3d 666, 669 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing N River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F .3d 1194,
1218 (3d Cir. 1995)). A motion for reconsideration is not properly grounded on a request that a
court rethink a decision already made. See Glendon Energy Co. v. Borough of Glendon, 836 F.
Supp. 1109, 1122 (E.D. Pa. 1993). Motions for reargument or reconsideration may not be used
"as a means to argue new facts or issues that inexcusably were not presented to the court in the
matter previously decided." Brambles USA, Inc. v. Blocker, 735 F. Supp. 1239, 1240 (D. Del.
1990). Reargument, however, may be appropriate where "the Court has patently misunderstood
a party, or has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the court by the parties,
or has made an error not ofreasoning but of apprehension." Brambles USA, 735 F. Supp. at
1241 (D. Del. 1990) (citations omitted); See also D. Del. LR 7.1.5.
October 12, 2016 Order
Fatir moves for reconsideration of the October 12, 2016 order that divided the original
complaint into eleven complaints (opening ten new cases with the instant case as the eleventh
case) with claims and defendants that involved the same transactions or occurrences and that
have a common legal and factual basis. Fatir argues that the court based its reasoning upon
Mincy v. Klem, 2007 WL 1576444 (M.D. Pa. May 30, 2007), a case Fatir contends was vacated
by the Third Circuit.
This court cited Mincy for the proposition that "allowing a prisoner to include a plethora
of separate, independent claims, would circumvent the filing fee requirements of the PLRA."
Mincy, 2007 WL 1576444, at* 1. While Mincy v. Klem, 303 F. App'x 106, 109 (3d Cir. 2008)
(unpublished), vacated the judgment of the district court and remanded the matter for further
proceedings, it did so because, in Mincy, the district court dismissed the action due to misjoinder
of parties, and Rule 21 provides no such grounds for dismissal.
Here, Fatir's claims were not dismissed. Rather, he was allowed to proceed on all claims
and in a manner that allows for the cases to proceed in an orderly fashion. The order provided
Fatir with the opportunity to proceed in eleven cases after he had inappropriately combined all
defendants and all claims in one voluminous complaint. Similarly, in Mincy, the Third Circuit
stated that it "agree[ d] that under Rule 20 a plaintiff may join defendants in one action only if
they assert a right to relief arising out of the same transaction or occurrence. The district court
correctly concluded that Mincy's attempts to incorporate separate and unrelated claims against
parties from other lawsuits are inappropriate." Mincy, 303 F. App'x at 108.
Further, Fatir may not circumvent the filing fee requirements of the Prison Litigation
Reform Act by filing a complaint that contains more than 581 paragraphs, and 49 counts raised
against 48 defendants when the complaint contains unrelated claims and defendants. Finally,
contrary to Fatir's assertion that the court acted as an advocate for the defendants by severing the
complaint into eleven cases, the court did so under its authority for the orderly administration of
the cases and the court docket. See In re Stone, 986 F.2d 898, 902 (5th Cir. 1993) (concluding
that federal courts have inherent authority "to protect the efficient and orderly administration of
justice and ... to command respect for [its] orders, judgments, procedures, and authority."). The
court finds Fatir has failed to demonstrate any of the necessary grounds to warrant reconsideration
of the court's October 12, 2016 order. Therefore, the court will deny the motion for
reconsideration. (D.I. 22.)
October 25, 2016 Order
The court construes Fatir's motion for relief from judgment and order as a motion for
reconsideration. (D.I. 23.) Fatir argues that the court failed to liberally construe his complaint,
and that the court is required to determine whether the complaint states claims that violate state
law first and then determine whether federal constitutional claims have been raised, not the other
way around, relying upon Anderson v. Redman, 429 F. Supp. 1105 (D. Del. 1977). Anderson,
however, is distinguishable given that the case was long passed screening and had proceeded to
trial on viable § 1983 claims and various State statutes. As a result, the district court followed
the general rule that "if a case can be decided on either of two grounds, one involving a
constitutional question, the other a question of statutory construction or general law, the court
will decide only the latter." Anderson, 429 F. Supp. at 1123 (quotingAshwander v. Tennessee
ValleyAuth., 297 U.S. 288, 347 (1936).
Here, Fatir' s federal claims are not viable. Supplement jurisdiction should be declined
where federal claims are no longer viable, absent "extraordinary circumstances." Shaffer v.
Board ofSch. Directors ofAlbert Gallatin Area Sch. Dist., 730 F.2d 910, 912 (3d Cir. 1984).
There are no extraordinary circumstances in the instant case. As noted by the Third Circuit,
"[t]he district courts may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a [state law] claim ..
. if the district court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction." Positano v.
Pennsylvania Cardiothoracic Surgery, Inc., 610 F. App'x 191, 194 (3d Cir. 2015) (unpublished),
cert. denied, _U.S._, 136 S.Ct. 1179 (2016) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) and citing Shaffer,
730 F.2d at 912).
The court has once again reviewed the allegations in the complaint and find they are
frivolous and are not viable. The court reiterates that it exercises its discretion and declines to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any State claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367. The court finds
Fatir has failed to demonstrate any of the necessary grounds to warrant reconsideration of the
court's October 25, 2016 order that dismissed the complaint as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and § 1915A(b)(l). Therefore, the court will deny the motion. (D.I. 23.)
For the above reasons, the court will dismiss Fatir's
appropriate order will be entered.
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