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Dawn Ball v. C.O. Oden et al

November 30, 2011

DAWN BALL,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
C.O. ODEN ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Magistrate Judge Carlson)

(Chief Judge Kane)

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. Statement of Facts and of the Case

A. Introduction

The plaintiff, Dawn Ball, is an inmate housed in the Restricted Housing Unit at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Muncy, who by her own account suffers from a cascading array of severe mental illnesses, and candidly acknowledges that she is profoundly disturbed, informing the Court that:

My mental health is declining. I suffer from OCD so bad I scrub my hands till they bleed, confusion, PTSD, disassociative disorder, I smell, see and hear things not there, severely stressed, phobias, agoraphobia, severe anxiety, lack of interest in things, lack of arousal in thing, racing thoughts, suicidal, cognitive problems and disorders, lack of interest in life, disoriented, dizzyness, paranoid--schizophrenic, constant worry, frightened scared, can't properly care for myself, tics, bipolar, manic depressive, mood swings that are so severe, can't think clearly....

Ball v. Beard, No. 1:09-CV-845, (Doc. 42, pp. 6-7).

While she suffers from paranoia, schizophrenia, and experiences these visual and auditory hallucinations, Ball is also a prodigious federal court litigant, bringing numerous lawsuits based upon her perception of the events that take place around her in prison. Indeed, at present Ball has a total of sixteen lawsuits pending before this court.*fn1

Ball is also a prodigiously unsuccessful litigant, who has had at least three prior lawsuits dismissed either for failure to exhaust her administrative remedies, or as frivolous on the grounds that the lawsuit failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The history of repeated, frivolous and meritless litigation in federal court by this plaintiff began in March of 2008, when Ball filed a complaint in the case of Ball v. SCI Muncy, No. 1:08-CV-391 (M.D. Pa.). On December 10, 2008, the district court dismissed this civil action for failure to exhaust her administrative remedies, Ball v. SCI Muncy, No. 1:08-CV-391 (M.D. Pa.) (Doc. 36), and on July 22, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of this action. Ball v. SCI Muncy, No. 1:08-CV-391 (M.D. Pa.) (Doc. 44).

On May 5, 2009, Ball filed a second civil action in the case of Ball v. Hartman, No. 1:09-CV-844 (M.D. Pa.). This action was dismissed by the district court, which found Ball's complaint to be frivolous, Ball v. Hartman, No. 1:09-CV-844 (M.D. Pa.) (Docs 32, 33, and 36) and Ball's appeal of this dismissal order was summarily denied by the court of appeals pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).*fn2 Ball v. Hartman, No. 1:09-CV-844 (M.D. Pa.) (Doc. 48).

While this action was pending, Ball filed yet another lawsuit in the case of Ball v. Butts, No. 1:11-CV-1068, (M.D.Pa.) on June 3, 2011. Ball v. Butts, No. 1:11-CV-1068 (M.D.Pa.)(Doc. 1). On June 15, 2011, upon a screening review of this complaint, the district court dismissed this action for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Ball v. Butts, No. 1:11-CV-1068 (M.D.Pa.)(Doc. 8) Ball appealed this dismissal. Ball v. Butts, No. 1:11-CV-1068 (M.D.Pa.)(Doc. 10) On September 21, 2011, the court of appeals entered an opinion and order dismissing Ball's appeal as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). That appellate court opinion and order spoke unambiguously regarding the frivolous nature of this particular lawsuit filed by Ball, stating in clear and precise terms that:

Because we too have granted Ball leave to proceed IFP, we must screen this appeal to determine whether it is frivolous. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(I). An appeal is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). This appeal lacks any such basis. As the District Court adequately explained, immunity extends even to judicial acts that are "done maliciously," and Ball has alleged nothing suggesting that Judge Butts acted in the "clear absence of all jurisdiction." Gallas v. Supreme Court of Pa., 211 F.3d 760, 769 (3d Cir.2000) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). To the extent that Ball's request for injunctive relief might not have been subject to dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii), it was subject to dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) because such relief is not available against "a judicial officer for an act ... taken in such officer's judicial capacity" under these circumstances. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Finally, we are satisfied that any amendment of Ball's complaint would be futile. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 111 (3d Cir.2002). Thus, we will dismiss this appeal Ball v. Butts, No. 11-2862, 2011 WL 4375782, 1 (3d Cir. Sept 21, 2011)

B. Ball's Current Lawsuit

It is against this backdrop that Ball pursues the instant case. The plaintiff commenced this action on May 5, 2009, when Ball filed a multi-faceted civil complaint which alleged, in part, that on various dates her "mail [and] property along [with] legal papers were taken [and] destroyed." (Doc. 1) On July 16, 2009, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss this complaint,(Docs. 17-19), which was granted by the district court on May 10, 2010, (Doc. 45).

Ball then appealed this dismissal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. On April 28, 2011, the court of appeals affirmed in part and vacated in part the district court's order, affirming the dismissal of the bulk of Ball's complaint as meritless, but remanding for consideration of one specific, narrow issue -- directing us to determine whether Ball's claims regarding interference with mail stated a claim under the First Amendment.(Doc. 57) Confronted with Ball's confused and confusing narrative style, the defendants then filed a motion for a more definite statement pursuant to Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Docs. 77-78) On November 16, 2011, this Court directed Ball to respond to this motion on or before November 29, 2011. (Doc. 82)

That deadline has now lapsed without any action on Ball's part to comply with this order or respond to this motion. Accordingly, the motion will be deemed ripe and, for the reasons set forth below, Ball will be directed to file an amended complaint in this case ...


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