Veeder v. New Paths Inc. et al
OPINION AND ORDER of Summary Dismissal without Prejudice. Signed by District Judge Terrence G. Berg. (AChu)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Civil No. 2:17-CV-12864
Honorable Terrence G. Berg
NEW PATHS, INC., ET AL.,
OPINION AND ORDER OF SUMMARY
DISMISSAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE
Plaintiff Randy Veeder, currently confined in the Michigan
Department of Corrections, has filed a civil rights complaint pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The claims in this complaint duplicate those found
in a civil action Plaintiff previously filed, which is also pending before
the Court, Veeder v. Michigan Department of Corrections, et al., No.
4:17-cv-11690. Because the complaint in the instant case is duplicative
of another case pending in this Court, this complaint will be dismissed
In the previously-filed matter, like this case, Plaintiff raises
claims that while he was serving a term of parole at two residential
drug facilities, TRI-CAP and New Paths, Inc., he was denied his right of
access to the courts and terminated from treatment in retaliation for
exercising his rights under the First Amendment. See Veeder v.
Michigan Department of Corrections, et al., No. 4:17-cv-11690.
The instant complaint names nine defendants, six of whom were
also named in the earlier filed complaint. This case also claims that
New Paths, Inc. and its employees violated Plaintiff’s right of access to
the courts and improperly terminated his participation in the program.
Plaintiffs generally have “no right to maintain two separate
actions involving the same subject matter at the same time in the same
court and against the same defendants.” Cummings v. Mason, No. 11649, 2011 WL 2745937 (W.D. Mich. July 13, 2011), quoting Walton v.
Eaton Corp., 563 F.2d 66, 70 (3d Cir. 1977). As part of its inherent
power to administer its docket, a district court may dismiss a suit that
is duplicative of another federal court suit. Cummings, 2011 WL
2745937 at *1, citing Colo. River Water Conservation Dist. v. United
States, 424 U.S. 800, 817 (1976); Adams v. Cal. Dep’t of Health Serv.,
487 F.3d 684, 688 (9th Cir. 2007); Smith v. SEC, 129 F.3d 356, 361 (6th
Cir. 1997). The power to dismiss a duplicative lawsuit is meant to
foster judicial economy and the “comprehensive disposition of
litigation,” Kerotest Mfg. Co. v. C-O-Two Fire Equip. Co., 342 U.S. 180,
183 (1952), and to protect parties from “the vexation of concurrent
litigation over the same subject matter.” Adam v. Jacobs, 950 F.2d 89,
93 (2d Cir. 1991).
A complaint is duplicative and subject to dismissal if the claims,
parties and available relief do not significantly differ from an earlierfiled action. See Serlin v. Arthur Andersen & Co., 3 F.3d 221, 223 (7th
Cir. 1993). Although the complaints need not be identical, neither
should they “significantly differ” in order to be considered duplicative.
A court must focus on the substance of the complaint. See Bailey v.
Johnson, 846 F.2d 1019, 1021 (5th Cir. 1988) (holding that a complaint
was duplicative although different defendants were named because it
“repeat[ed] the same factual allegations” asserted in the earlier case).
Here, the parties and claims of this case overlap with the earlier-filed
case. In view of the similarity of the claims, the Court concludes that
the present complaint, Civ. No. 17-12864, is duplicative of the earlierfiled case, Civ. No. 17-11690.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the complaint in this matter
[Dkt. #1] is hereby DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Should
Plaintiff wish to amend the complaint in the earlier-filed case, Civ. No.
17-11690, in order to add the additional defendants included in the
instant case, he may file a motion in the earlier-filed case seeking to do
s/Terrence G. Berg
TERRENCE G. BERG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: October 19, 2017
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that this Order was electronically submitted on
October 19, 2017, using the CM/ECF system, which will send
notification to each party.
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