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Milhouse v. Heath

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

January 19, 2017

SUZANNE HEATH, et al., Defendants.

          RAMBO, J.


          KAROLINE MEHALCHICK United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the Court are seven motions filed by pro se Plaintiff Kareem Hassan Milhouse. On July 20, 2015, Milhouse initiated the present Bivens action against several prison administrators and corrections officers as a result of injuries he sustained at the hands of cellmates after requesting reassignment. (Doc. 1). To date, only the Federal Bureau of Prisons has been served any documents, as they were ordered to respond to Milhouse's imminent danger exception request for in forma pauperis status. (Doc. 8). In his pending motions, Milhouse requests: a court inquiry into the misconduct of prison officials because of “ongoing and continuous” issues with staff (Doc. 111); to add various exhibits to his fourth amended complaint (Doc. 114; Doc. 116; Doc. 118); to dismiss Defendant “J. Ritz” (Doc. 122); to proceed as a John Doe (Doc. 124); and for a copy of the entire case file (Doc. 128). For the reasons articulated below, Milhouse's motions to add exhibit KHM 100 BP (Doc. 114) and dismiss Defendant Ritz (Doc. 122) are granted; all other motions are denied.

         I. Motion to Pose an Inquiry (Doc. 111; Doc. 112)

         On November 28, 2016, Milhouse requested the Court “pose a[n] inquiry” into prison officials ignoring informal resolution attempts, destroying and denying administrative remedy forms, and rejections of requests by the “Region office” and “central office.” (Doc. 112, at 1). Milhouse further complains of his cell assignment, stating it has cost him access to the law library and haircuts. (Doc. 112, at 2).

         Initially, it is unclear exactly what remedy Milhouse seeks. It appears at first glance that he seeks a Court investigation into the facts alleged. Namely, that the “institution” has rejected numerous “BP-9's on Counselor Marr for destroying and denying [Milhouse] administrative remedy forms.” (Doc. 112, at 1). However, this is not a power that District Courts possess. The Judicial Power exists to resolve cases and controversies, neither of which encompasses the facts as alleged by Milhouse. SeeU.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1. The rejection of grievances or informal resolution attempts, without more developed factual assertions, plainly offers no basis for redress through Federal Courts. In fact, Milhouse even states that the region and central offices rejected grievances because they were better addressed through the institution. (Doc. 112, at 1). Further, Milhouse facially seeks resolution on issues entirely independent from the current cause of action, which centers on the injuries he allegedly suffered at the hands of various cellmates following inaction by prison officials. This Court is without power to adjudicate the issues raised in the motion, as they have no bearing on the case at hand. To the extent Milhouse seeks to litigate these issues, they must be properly brought before a court, not offered in a standalone motion in an otherwise entirely unrelated case.

         On January 11, 2016, Milhouse filed a similar motion for the Court to “post an inquiry into prison officials'' conduct. (Doc. 35). The Court informed Milhouse that his desire to set forth additional claims arising out of new conduct could be addressed through the filing of a motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint pursuant to Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 45). As the actions alleged fall outside the scope of the current cause of action, they are not justiciable absent leave of court. Accordingly, Milhouse's motion for an inquiry (Doc. 111) is DENIED.

         II. Motions to Add Exhibits

          A. Motion to Add exhibit KHM 100 BP to Complaint

         On December 1, 2016, Milhouse moved to add the affidavit of inmate Anthony Burnett to the operative complaint. (Doc. 114; Doc. 115). As the motion sought to amend his operative complaint (Doc. 113), an amendment required leave of Court. SeeFed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). Pursuant to this Rule, “[t]he Court should freely give leave when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). No party has been served with a version of any complaint in this case yet, save the Federal Bureau of Prisons in order to oppose Milhouse's in forma pauperis petition. Further, the amendment merely seeks to add an affidavit by a fellow inmate, not to alter parties or facts. These factors weigh in favor of permitting amendment. Weighing against amendment is the fact that Milhouse's operative complaint already contains an affidavit by inmate Burnett, albeit less factually developed. (Doc. 113, at 11). Further, the Court explicitly ruled that further amendments would not be tolerated, as the repetitive filings and amendments to date have prevented the Court from performing its statutorily mandated duty to screen and serve the complaint. (Doc. 106, at 4).

         Despite the factors weighing against amendment, the Court will grant Milhouse's motion. The guiding principle which informs the exercise of the Court's discretion in managing its docket is “to make pleadings a means to achieve an orderly and fair administration of justice.” Griffin v. Cnty. Sch. Bd. of Prince Edward Cnty., 377 U.S. 218, 227 (1964). As such, the Court will permit inclusion of the exhibit in an effort to achieve an orderly and fair administration of justice. Thus, Milhouse's motion (Doc. 114) is GRANTED. However, the Court reminds Milhouse that repeated amendments of his pleadings prevent screening of the complaint, thwarting progression of the case and adjudication on the merits.

         B. Motion to Add Exhibit

          On December 16, 2016, Milhouse filed a motion also titled “motion to add exhibit KHM 100 BP.” (Doc. 118; Doc. 119). Attached to this motion are exhibits reflecting various dismissals of cases that Milhouse attributes to actions by Defendant Marr. (Doc. 119). However, subject matter of the motion is unrelated to the current action, as discussed above. Even if taken as true, Defendant Marr's failure to send or return legal documents is unrelated to the physical injuries Milhouse sustained despite warning prison officials of imminent danger at the hands of other inmates.

         It is unclear specifically what Milhouse seeks to attach the exhibits to, as it is not specifically articulated in the motion or brief in support. Given that Milhouse's similarly titled motion sought to attach exhibits to the complaint, the Court construes the current motion as seeking the same. While the Court will permit the addition of the affidavit by inmate Burnett, the same deference cannot be granted to the current exhibits. By contrast to the affidavit, the exhibits are not related to claims laid out in the amended complaint. Their inclusion in the fourth amended complaint would not serve to promote an “orderly ...

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