Filing Frenzy

Published March 2, 2012

A federal court in Pennsylvania has finally cracked down–sort of–on a prison inmate’s five-year litigation frenzy against 88 prison officials.

The inmate, representing himself, first filed a complaint five years ago and amended it three times–or tried to. His pleadings, consisting of hundreds of allegations and described with great restraint by the district court as neither “clear nor coherent,” claim his penis is shrinking because of assaults from prison officials. He also claims he was illegally denied toenail clippers and his cell is contaminated with “cancer-causing juice.” The district court largely dismissed the complaints.

The inmate appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed most of the district court ruling but found he had alleged claims for excessive force (disinfectant sprayed in his face) and for denial of medical treatment.

Returned to district court, the inmate asked for more time to file a 300-page complaint against 157 defendants. Earlier this month, the district court denied that request but will allow the case to proceed to trial on the claims identified by the Third Circuit.

Source: Washington v. Grace, Civil Nos. 4:08-CV-1283 & 4:07-CV-867, slip opinion dated February 7, 2012 (M.D. PA 2012); Washington v. Grace, Nos. 10-3619 & 10-4258, slip opinion dated September 27, 2011 (3rd Cir. 2011)