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Meyers v. Hall

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

October 23, 2019

DAVID MEYERS, Plaintiff,
v.
T.W. HALL, et al., Defendants. DAVID MEYERS, Plaintiff,
v.
MANIS, et al., Defendants. DAVID MEYERS, Plaintiff,
v.
CARL MANIS, et al., Defendants. DAVID MEYERS, Plaintiff,
v.
CARL MANIS, et al., Defendants. DAVID MEYERS, Plaintiff,
v.
J. ELY, et al., Defendants. DAVID MEYERS, Plaintiff,
v.
JACOB LEW, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          NORMAN K. MOON, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before me are the six civil complaints listed above, all of which were brought by the same plaintiff, David Meyers, and assert claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] All have been assigned to me. Although they are not identical, they have overlapping or intertwined allegations and many of the same defendants.

         Meyers is a three-striker under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), having had at least three cases dismissed as frivolous before each of these cases was filed.[2] See, e.g., Meyers v. Jones, No. 7:18cv414 (W.D. Va. Nov. 2, 2018) (dismissed with prejudice as frivolous and malicious); Meyers v. Clarke, No. 7:18cv460 (W.D. Va. Nov. 2, 2018) (dismissed with prejudice as frivolous and malicious); Meyers v. U.S. District Court, Big Stone Gap Division, No. 7:18cv472 (W.D. Va. Nov. 2, 2018) (dismissed with prejudice as frivolous); Meyers v. Northam, No. 7:18cv473 (W.D. Va. Nov. 2, 2018) (dismissed with prejudice as frivolous); Meyers v. U.S. District Court, Roanoke Division, No. 7:18cv474 (W.D. Va. Nov. 2, 2018) (dismissed with prejudice as frivolous); Meyers v. Clarke, No. 7:18cv435 (W.D. Va. Sept. 7, 2018) (dismissed with prejudice as frivolous); Meyers v. United States District Court Richmond Division, No. 2:07cv363 (E.D. Va. Nov. 1, 2007) (dismissed with prejudice for failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and as frivolous); Meyers v. Bass, No. 2:95cv774 (E.D. Va. Aug. 15, 1995) (dismissed without prejudice as frivolous). See also McLean v. United States, 566 F.3d 391, 399 (4th Cir. 2009) (noting dismissals without prejudice for frivolousness should not be exempted from 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g)). Accordingly, Meyers cannot proceed with this action unless he prepays the filing fee or demonstrates that he is under imminent danger of serious physical injury. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Meyers has not prepaid the filing fee and, thus, I must determine whether he is under imminent danger of serious physical injury.[3]

         In the interest of judicial efficiency, to conserve the resources of the parties and the court, and for the reasons discussed below, I conclude that, as to five of these cases, they should be referred to United States Magistrate Judge Hoppe for a consolidated hearing on the imminent danger inquiry. That referral will occur in the following cases: Meyers v. Hall, No. 7:19cv250, Meyers v. Manis, No. 7:19cv406, Meyers v. Manis, No. 7:19cv496, Meyers v. Manis, No. 7:19cv558, and Meyers v. Ely, No. 7:19cv605. With regard to the other case-Meyers v. Lew, No. 7:18cv603-Meyers cannot show imminent danger and thus his request to proceed in forma pauperis will be denied and that case dismissed.

         Additionally, to the extent that these cases name judges of this court, the clerk of court, or deputy clerks of this court as defendants, those defendants are immune for the actions alleged by Meyers, and the claims against them will be dismissed as frivolous.

         In order to understand these rulings, it is helpful to have some background about now-resolved cases in which Meyers made similar or identical allegations of imminent harm, as well as a basic overview of the allegations in Meyers' complaints.

         I. PERTINENT DATES

         At all times pertinent to these complaints, Meyers was an inmate either at Red Onion State Prison (“ROSP”) or at Wallens Ridge State Prison (“WRSP”), where he is currently housed. According to Meyers' sworn testimony at evidentiary hearings held in December 2018 and February 2019, [4] he never came out of his ROSP cell B-410 from September 26, 2018 until his transfer to WRSP on November 20, 2018. Additionally, from the time he was at WRSP through at least February 22, 2019, he testified that he was in a single cell for 24 hours a day with no direct contact with any other inmates or correctional officers. (Report 3-4, No. 7:18cv485, Dkt. No. 109.) Based on these facts, another judge of this court previously found that Meyers was protected from all other inmates and ROSP staff at the time he filed his complaints in two prior cases, and so he had not shown he was in imminent danger. Because he was not under imminent danger of serious physical injury, he could not proceed in forma pauperis. Because he had not paid the filing fee, then, the cases were dismissed. (No. 7:18cv485, Dkt. No. 141; No. 7:19cv3, Dkt. No. 53)

         Comparing the dates of his transfer to the filing dates of the complaints before me, only one of his complaints was filed while he was still at ROSP: Meyers v. Lew, No. 7:18cv603 (filed October 11, 2018). The remainder were filed after he was transferred to WRSP.[5] All of those filed after his transfer refer to incidents at WRSP at least in conclusory terms, such as that unidentified WRSP inmates are trying to murder him.

         II. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS IN CASES

         In providing a brief overview of the claims in each case, I do not list the specific defendants for every claim in every case, but I note that there is some significant overlap of defendants between the cases.[6] By way of example only, No. 7:19cv406 identifies seventy-five different defendants. No. 7:19cv558 names approximately thirty-four of those same defendants, but also includes an additional thirty-six defendants.[7]

         A. Meyers v. Hall, No. 7:19cv250, filed March 21, 2019

         Meyers' complaint in this case names as defendants five judges of this court and approximately eighteen other individuals, all employed by the Virginia Department of Corrections (“VDOC”). The VDOC employees are employed at the central office, ROSP, or WRSP. As is typical with his filings, Meyers' complaint groups together numerous claims and dates and it is not always clear what is being alleged against who. Many of his claims are related to his housing assignments and custody status, and he frequently alleges that inmates and/or correctional officers are trying to murder him and/or failing to protect him.

         Meyers' claims in this action are numbered, although many of the numbered claims contain multiple allegations. Also, there is significant overlap between the claims. Nonetheless, this case gives a good overall sense of the claims and types of claims he is asserting in all of these cases. His claims are:

1a. Defendants tried to force him into general population on an unknown date, when he was supposed to be in protective custody.[8]
1b. On February 14 and 15, 2019, the evening pill nurse took his glasses to repair them, refused to repair them, and tried to give him another inmate's glasses. This caused him to fall on February 15, hitting his head on a sink.
2. Thereafter, the nurses refused to treat his head injury and it has caused him “severe pain.” He asserts that his eyeglasses were taken to prevent him from seeing and representing himself in civil actions before this court. (Compl. 3, Dkt. No. 1.)
3a. Certain defendants are embezzling funds from his account.[9]
3b. Other defendants read his legal documents and ransacked his cell. The ransacking of his cell led him to fall and hit his head on the toilet from property they piled in the center of his cell floor.
4. On March 6, 2019, judges of this court-by refusing his requests for injunctive relief-and other defendants tried to force him to go to general population, where gang member inmates could attack and murder him. Other officers refused to sign his emergency grievance where he was challenging the order to go to general population. Other officers stole property from him and did not give him full meals and retaliated against him by filing disciplinary reports. His due process rights were also violated.
5a. In addition to retaliating by filing disciplinary offense reports for his refusal to go to general population, defendants retaliated for Meyers' filing of civil actions and his testifying against them regarding being forced to eat, drink, and ingest hazardous toxic paint mixed with mold, e-coli, and cobalt.
5b. Certain defendants tried to incite hundreds of inmates to murder him by giving them unsealed copies of his civil actions in which he ...

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