United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MARILYN M. SMITH, WILLIAM VON SMITH, and MICHAEL LEE SMITH, Plaintiffs
DEPARTMENT OF WELFARE CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT, et al., Defendants
William W. Caldwell United States District Judge
Marilyn M. Smith (“Smith”) filed this pro
se civil action in October of 2015, initially naming as
defendants the “Department of Welfare Child Support
[E]nforcement” and “Supply Depot.” (Doc.
1). No other identifying information for the defendants was
provided. (Id.) Smith also filed a motion for leave
to proceed in forma pauperis, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. (Doc. 17). In March of 2016, she filed an
amended complaint. (Doc. 13). None of these filings was
signed by any listed plaintiff other than Smith, and Smith
did not explain why or how she was filing a lawsuit on behalf
of the other plaintiffs listed in the caption. On multiple
occasions Smith also filed various miscellaneous documents
without any explanation as to their relevance to her lawsuit.
(See Docs. 5, 8-12, 14, 15).
6, 2016, this court issued a memorandum opinion and order
addressing Smith's filings. (Doc. 19). In that opinion,
after reviewing Smith's pro se pleadings, as
required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court
dismissed her lawsuit without prejudice for failure to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted. (Doc. 19 at 3-5);
see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The
court permitted Smith to file a second amended complaint by
June 24, 2016, (Doc. 19 at 5), and also outlined the
standards for sufficient civil pleading, (id. at 4).
failed to comply with the court's order. While she did
file a document entitled “Facts” on June 13,
2016, (Doc. 21), and some documents several weeks later that
are completely unrelated to her lawsuit, (Doc. 22), she did
not timely file a second amended complaint as ordered. Not
until November 3, 2016-132 days after the court-imposed
deadline-did Smith file a second amended complaint.
(See Doc. 23).
also filed a new civil lawsuit the following day, Smith
v. Garrnet, No. 1:16-CV-02236 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 4, 2016),
which contains similar claims as those in the instant
lawsuit. Smith named a litany of defendants in her second
lawsuit, some named in her first lawsuit and some who are
Id., ECF No. 1. She also filed a motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis on this lawsuit as well.
Id., ECF No. 2. She then amended the second
case's complaint on December 21, 2016. Id., ECF
the lawsuits are based on the same underlying claims, the
court will consolidate and consider them together as one
lawsuit,  under case number 1:15-CV-02068. For the
following reasons, the consolidated action will be dismissed
Standard of Review
28, U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) states that “the
court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court
determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted[.]” 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). “The legal standard
for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim under
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as that for dismissing a
complaint pursuant to a motion filed under Rule 12(b)(6) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.” Davis v.
Samuels, 608 F. App'x 46, 48 (3d Cir. 2015) (citing
Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d Cir.
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, courts must ‘accept
all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine
whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the
plaintiff may be entitled to relief.'” Bruni v.
City of Pittsburgh, 824 F.3d 353, 360 (3d Cir. 2016)
(quoting Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210
(3d Cir. 2009)). “While ‘accept[ing] all of the
complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, ' the
district court ‘may disregard any legal
conclusions.'” Id. (quoting
Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210-11).
complaint filed by a pro se plaintiff must be
liberally construed and “held ‘to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers[.]'” Fantone v. Latini, 780 F.3d
184, 193 (3d Cir. 2015) (quoting Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972)). Nonetheless, the complaint
still “must contain allegations permitting ‘the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.'” Jackson v. Div. of
Developmental Disabilities, 394 F.App'x 950, 951 n.3
(3d Cir. 2010) (per curiam) (nonprecedential) (quoting
Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 230 (3d Cir.
the court notes that Smith did not file her second amended
complaint until more than four months after the court-imposed
deadline of June 24, 2016. This failure to prosecute alone is
sufficient grounds for dismissal of Smith's case. See
Roberts v. Ferman, 826 F.3d 117, 122-23 (3d Cir. 2016)
(noting district courts have power to dismiss for failure to
prosecute in response to blatant failure to comply with court
orders as part of their “inherent authority to prevent
undue delays in the disposition of pending cases and to avoid
congestion” in their dockets).
taking into consideration the “Facts” document
filed by Smith on June 13, 2016, (Doc. 21), together with the
second amended complaint filed on November 3, 2016, (Doc.
23), as well as the pleadings filed in the second civil
lawsuit, Smith still completely fails to state a claim for
which relief can be granted. None of Smith's pleadings
contain sufficient factual allegations or coherent claims