FRANK v. REDONDO et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER Plaintiff's IFP application is denied. ORDERED Clerk shall administratively terminate this matter making a new and separate entry on the docket reading "CIVIL CASE TERMINATED. ORDERED Clerk shall terminate Defen dants Schultz and Byrd as defendants in this matter. ORDERED Clerk shall serve this Memorandum Opinion and Order upon Plaintiff and shall enclose a blank IFP application and a blank civil complaint form. Signed by Judge Renee Marie Bumb on 9/19/2014. (bdk, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
TOBIAS ANTONIO FRANK,
: Civil Action No. 14-5540 (RMB)
: MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BRIAN REDONDO, et al.,
BUMB, District Judge:
Plaintiff, a federal inmate currently confined at the FCI
Fairton (“Fairton”), submitted for filing a civil complaint
executed pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the
Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), without
accompanying the same by his $400 filing fee or by a duly
executed application to proceed in this matter in forma pauperis.
See Docket Entry No. 1.
Plaintiff is a prolific litigant who has commenced numerous
actions in federal district and appellate courts, including this
See, e.g., United States v. Frank, USCA Index No. 10-
13565 (11th Cir); Frank v. Shartle, Civil Action No. 14-2277
(D.N.J.); Frank v. Shartle, Civil Action No. 13-5285 (D.N.J.);
Frank v. Schultz, Civil Action No. 12-1848 (C.D. Ca.); Frank v.
United States, Civil Action No. 113-113 (S.D. Ga.) ; Frank v.
McGrew, Civil Action No. 13-0034 (C.D. Ca.); Frank v. United
States, Civil Action No. 12-3927 (C.D. Ca.); Frank v. United
States, Civil Action No. 111-018 (S.D. Ga.); Frank v. Banks,
Civil Action No. 10-8535 (C.D. Ca.).
In his Frank v. Schultz, Civil Action No. 12-1848 (C.D. Ca.)
(“Frank-CDCA”), Bivens proceedings, Plaintiff applied for in
forma pauperis status and was denied the same for failure to
submit a complete in forma pauperis application.
advised by the Central District of California as to the in forma
pauperis requirements, he cured that deficiency and asserted that
he was retaliated against by prison officers because he exercised
his First Amendment rights.
The Central District of California
explained to Plaintiff the governing substantive test and
dismissed his claims.
His appeal from that determination is
currently pending before the Ninth Circuit.
While litigating his appeal in Frank-CDCA, Plaintiff
commenced his Frank v. Shartle, Civil Action No. 13-5285 (D.N.J.)
(“Frank-NJD”), proceedings in this District.
In Frank-NJD, a §
2241 action, he asserted that the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”)
unduly denied him enrollment into the Residential Drug Abuse
Treatment Program (“RDAP”) administered at Fairton.
was raised jointly with Plaintiff’s challenge to his conviction,
which repeated Plaintiff’s previously litigated claim dismissed
by the Southern District of Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit.
This Court dismissed Plaintiff’s attack on his conviction with
prejudice, while noting that “the Eleventh Circuit [has already
entered] an express admonishment regarding [Plaintiff’s]
Frank v. Shartle, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
59669, at *3 (D.N.J. Apr. 29, 2014) (citing United States v.
Frank, 414 F. App’x 252 and 253, n.1 (11th Cir. 2011)).
addition, this Court dismissed Plaintiff’s RDAP challenges
without prejudice as improperly raised under 28 U.S.C. § 2254
Rule 2(e) (applicable to § 2241 matters through Habeas Rule 1(b))
and, in addition, as facially unexhausted administratively.
id. at 3 (citing Muniz v. Zickefoose, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
115766, at *13 (D.N.J. Sept. 30, 2011), aff’d, 460 F. App’x 165
(3d Cir. 2012)).
The instant matter followed.
Here, as in the Frank-CDCA action, Plaintiff submitted his
complaint without the applicable filing fee and without in forma
And, as in Frank-NJD, he asserted a RDAP
challenge, albeit paraphrasing it as a Bivens retaliation claim
mimicking his Frank-CDCA challenge: Here, he alleged that he was
“removed” from the RDAP program in retaliation for his filing of
The 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 is assessed a filing fee of
$350 and not responsible for the $50 administrative fee. If in
forma pauperis status is denied, the prisoner must pay the full
$400, including the $350 filing fee and the $50 administrative
fee, before the complaint will be filed.
grievances against Defendant Redondo (“Redondo”).
Matter, Docket Entry No. 1.
Plaintiff’s submission indicates that, as to the retaliation
alleged here, Plaintiff filed a “sensitive” grievance with the
Regional Office of the BOP, which was rejected with the following
explanation: “The issue you raised is not sensitive.
. . .
should file a request or appeal at the appropriate level via
regular [administrative exhaustion] procedure.”
Id. at 16.
Nothing in Plaintiff’s submission indicates that he resorted to
the regular administrative exhaustion procedure as directed or
that he completed the administrative process.
Instant Matter, Docket.
In light of the foregoing, this Court notes its grave
concern with Plaintiff’s abusive litigation practices that have
become emblematic of his suits.
As the Central District of
California already explained to Plaintiff, the Prison Litigation
Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act”), which amends 28 U.S.C. § 1915,
establishes certain financial requirements for prisoners who are
attempting to bring a civil action in forma pauperis.
Act, a prisoner bringing a civil action in forma pauperis must
submit an affidavit, including a statement of all assets, which
states that the prisoner is unable to pay the fee. See 28 U.S.C.
The prisoner also must submit a certified copy of
his inmate trust fund account statement for the six-month period
immediately preceding the filing of his complaint.
See 28 U.S.C.
Plaintiff has been aware of this requirement
since, at the very least, November 7, 2012.
Docket Entry No. 2.
He, however, failed to comply with this
Moreover, he seemingly failed to comply with the exhaustion
requirement, even though: (a) he was expressly advised to resort
to the regular administrative exhaustion procedure and complete
the administrative process; and (b) submitted his pleading at bar
seemingly prior to completion of the administrative process, thus
barring his claims here.
See Ahmed v. Dragovich, 297 F.3d 201,
209 n.9 (3d Cir. 2002) (the court must dismiss unexhausted Bivens
complaint where the administrative process is available, since
completion of exhaustion after the filing of a lawsuit does not
and cannot cure the initial defect of failure to exhaust).
Furthermore, Plaintiff’s claim raised here, i.e., that he
was retaliatorily “removed” from the RDAP program appears in
direct contradiction with his Frank-NJD claim that he was “denied
enrollment” into the RDAP program ab initio.
Finally, Plaintiff’s retaliation claim is wholly silent as
to what explanation, if any, Plaintiff was given as to the
reason(s) for his removal from the RDAP program.
In his Frank-
CDCA action, Plaintiff was expressly notified by the court that a
substantial aspect of any retaliation inquiry is the fact5
specific analysis as to whether “the challenged action . . .
reasonably advance[d] a legitimate correctional goal.”
CDCA, Docket Entry No. 75, at 14.
Being so advised, Plaintiff,
however, included in his submission only his grievances and not
the response(s) he received, and his pleading is silent as to the
So pled, Plaintiff’s claim leaves it to this Court’s
conjecture as to the reason given for Plaintiff’s removal from
the RDAP program (that is, if he was enrolled into the program,
contrary to his Frank-NJD claim), and whether that reason could
have reasonably advanced a legitimate correctional goal.
Therefore, Plaintiff’s complaint here is insufficient as pled.
See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“The
plausibility standard . . . asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. [It demands]
more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation”); see also Phillips v. Cty of Allegheny, 515 F.3d
224, 230-34 (3d Cir. 2008) (“allegations must be . . . above the
speculative level”) (citations, brackets and quotation marks
Moreover, Plaintiff cannot obtain the facts he has to
plead by conducting discovery: he would become entitled to
conduct discovery after he states the facts amounting to a
plausible claim. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 686 (“he question [of
sufficiency of] pleadings does not turn [on] the discovery
process. [The plaintiff] is not entitled to discovery [where the
complaint asserts some wrongs] ‘generally,’ [i.e., as] a
THEREFORE, it is on this 19th day of September 2014;
ORDERED that Plaintiff’s implied request to proceed in forma
pauperis is denied without prejudice; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk shall administratively terminate this
matter by making a new and separate entry on the docket reading,
CIVIL CASE TERMINATED,” without filing the complaint or assessing
a filing fee; and it is further
ORDERED that this Court retains jurisdiction over this
matter for the period of ninety days, subject to extension, if
warranted; and it is further
ORDERED that, if Plaintiff wishes to reopen this case, he
shall submit, within thirty days from the date of entry of this
Memorandum Opinion and Order, either: (a) a complete, signed in
forma pauperis application, including a certified six-month
prison account statement; or (b) his $400 fee; and it is further
ORDERED that, in the event Plaintiff prepays his filing fee
or submits a complete in forma pauperis application, he shall
accompany the same by a written statement: (a) showing cause as
to why his retaliation claim should not be dismissed as facially
unexhausted administratively by the time of his commencement of
this action; (b) clarifying how Plaintiff could have been
“removed” from the RDAP program if, according to his Frank-NJD
pleading, he was not never enrolled in the RDAP program;3 and (c)
detailing the explanations Plaintiff was offered as to the bases
for his alleged removal from the RDAP program (or averring that
no explanations were ever offered to him); and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk shall terminate Defendants Schultz
and Byrd as defendants in this matter;4 and it is finally
ORDERED that the Clerk shall serve this Memorandum Opinion
and Order upon Plaintiff by regular U.S. mail, and shall enclose
in said mailing: (a) a blank application form for prisoners
seeking to proceed in forma pauperis in a civil matter; and (b) a
blank civil complaint form.
s/Renée Marie Bumb
RENÉE MARIE BUMB,
United States District Judge
See Love v. N.J. Dep’t of Corr., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
10102, at *105 (D.N.J. Jan. 31, 2011) (citing Jackson v. Broad.
Music, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3960, at *18 (S.D.N.Y. Jan.
31, 2006), for the observation that “the court may take judicial
notice of admissions in pleadings filed by a party that
contradict the party’s factual assertions in a subsequent stage”)
(brackets, ellipses and citation omitted).
Defendants Schultz and Byrd were defendants in
Plaintiff’s Frank-CDCA action dismissed by the Central District
of California. They are not implicated in Plaintiff’s claim
raised in this matter.
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