Rouse et al v. Michigan, State of et al
OPINION and ORDER Summarily Dismissing the Complaint 1 . Signed by District Judge Denise Page Hood. (LSau)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
ARTHUR J. ROUSE, et. al.,
Case No. 2:17-CV-12276
HONORABLE DENISE PAGE HOOD
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
STATE OF MICHIGAN, et. al.,
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT
The seven plaintiffs are inmates who are currently incarcerated at the
Cooper Street Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan. The plaintiffs
filed a proposed class action complaint and a petition for a writ of
mandamus and a writ of habeas corpus. The petition for writ of habeas
corpus has already been dismissed. For the reasons that follow, the
complaint and the petition for writ of mandamus are dismissed without
prejudice because the plaintiffs failed to comply with an order to correct a
deficiency in this case.
On July 14, 2017, Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen signed an
Order of Deficiency [Dkt. # 2] because the plaintiffs failed to submit the
portion of their filing fee, which in this case would be $ 57.14, or to each file
a completed application to proceed in forma pauperis. Magistrate Judge
Whalen signed a separate order of deficiency requiring the plaintiffs to
provide sufficient copies of the complaint for service upon the defendants.
[Dkt. # 4]. Both orders gave the plaintiffs until August 14, 2017 to comply
with the orders.
On July 25, 2017, four of the plaintiffs filed an objection to the
deficiency orders. A supplemental objection was filed by plaintiff Arthur J.
Rouse on July 28, 2017.
On August 8, 2017, this Court summarily dismissed without prejudice
the joint petition for writ of habeas corpus and overruled the objection to the
deficiency orders. The Court gave the plaintiffs a thirty day extension to
correct the deficiencies. Rouse v. Michigan, No. 2:17-CV-12276, 2017 WL
3394753 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 8, 2017).
To date, only plaintiffs Lance Goldman and Cedric Simpson have
filed an application to proceed without prepayment of fees. Mr. Simpson,
however, has subsequently moved to dismiss without prejudice his portion
of the complaint. Mr. Rouse, the lead plaintiff, filed a prison trust account
statement but did not file an actual application to proceed without
prepayment of fees. Most importantly, none of the plaintiffs have corrected
the deficiency in that they have failed to provide sufficient copies of the
complaint for service upon the defendants.
An inmate bringing a civil rights complaint must specifically identify
each defendant against whom relief is sought, and must give each
defendant notice of the action by serving upon him or her a summons and
copy of the complaint. Feliciano v. DuBois, 846 F. Supp. 1033, 1048 (D.
Mass. 1994). Where a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the district
court must bear the responsibility for issuing the plaintiff’s process to a
United States Marshal’s Office, who must effect service upon the
defendants once the plaintiff has properly identified the defendants in the
complaint. Williams v. McLemore, 10 F. App’x. 241, 243 (6th Cir. 2001);
Byrd v. Stone, 94 F. 3d 217, 219 (6th Cir. 1996); Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(2); 28
U.S.C. § 1915(d).
The Court will dismiss the complaint for want of prosecution, because
of the plaintiffs’ noncompliance with Magistrate Judge Whalen’s order by
failing to provide the requested copies needed to effect service upon the
defendants. See Erby v. Kula, 113 F. App’x. 74, 75-6 (6th Cir. 2004); Davis
v. United States, 73 F. App’x. 804, 805 (6th Cir. 2003). Because the
complaint is deficient in this respect, the issue concerning the failure of
some of the plaintiffs to file individual applications to proceed without
prepayment of fees is moot. Plaintiffs’ remaining motions are denied as
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ complaint is DISMISSED
WITHOUT PREJUDICE to the plaintiffs re-filing a new complaint or
complaints in this matter.1 The remaining motions (DE #s 12, 15, and 16)
are denied as moot.
S/Denise Page Hood
Denise Page Hood
Chief Judge, United States District Court
Dated: October 25, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon
counsel of record on October 25, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
S/LaShawn R. Saulsberry
One of the problems raised when multiple prisoners decide to file a joint complaint, as the
plaintiffs have done here, “concerns when, where, how, and by whom [the] various [filing] deficiencies
would or should be corrected.” Heard v. Snyder, No. 2:16-CV-13452, 2016 WL 5808359, at *2 (E.D. Mich.
Oct. 5, 2016). Another problem “is the potential prejudice to the various plaintiffs if there were delays by
some of the other plaintiffs in correcting the deficiencies.” Id.
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