The opinion of the court was delivered by: Karen E. Schreier Chief Judge
Plaintiff, Randy Rindahl, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against defendants alleging that defendants caused various harms to him from 2008 to 2010 while he was incarcerated at the South Dakota State Penitentiary (SDSP). Rindahl is still incarcerated at the SDSP. While Rindahl initially filed this action in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the case was transferred to this court because venue was improper in the Eastern District of Wisconsin but is proper in the District of South Dakota. Docket 16. Rindahl moves for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). Docket 2. According to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must screen each prisoner case to determine if it should proceed IFP. The court referred the initial screening to Magistrate Judge John E. Smiko pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). Docket 31.
Magistrate Judge Simko recommended that this court dismiss Rindahl's complaint with prejudice because Rindahl is a three-strikes litigant who failed to sufficiently allege an imminent danger of serious harm as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) and as a Rule 11 sanction for committing fraud on the court. Rindahl objects to the findings in the Report and Recommendation (Docket 56) and the proposed Rule 11 sanctions. Docket 53. Defendants have not objected to the Report and Recommendation or responded to Rindahl's objections.
In considering a magistrate judge's recommendation on a dispositive matter, such as dismissing a complaint, a district court must make a "de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). A de novo review requires a district court to make its own determination of any disputed issue. United States v. Portmann, 207 F.3d 1032, 1033 (8th Cir. 2000). Additionally, when a party objects to the factual findings of a magistrate judge, the district court must make its own de novo determination of the facts with no deference to the magistrate judge's findings. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). The court has conducted a de novo review of the record. For the reasons explained below, the court adopts the Report and Recommendation in its entirety.
In objection number one, Rindahl disputes Magistrate Judge Simko's calculation of his strikes pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The Prison Litigation Reform Act provides:
In no event shall a prisoner bring a civil action or appeal a judgment in a civil action or proceeding under this section if the prisoner has, on 3 or more prior occasions, while incarcerated or detained in any facility, brought an action or appeal in a court of the United States that was dismissed on the grounds that it was frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury. § 1915(g) (emphasis added). Section 1915(g), commonly referred to as the "three strikes" provision, "does not preclude the inmate from filing additional actions but does deny him the advantages of proceeding in forma pauperis." Martin v. Shelton, 319 F.3d 1048, 1050 (8th Cir. 2003).
"Imminent danger of serious physical injury" requires the prisoner to make specific allegations of an ongoing serious physical injury or a pattern of misconduct evidencing the likelihood of imminent serious physical injury. Id. The prisoner must be in imminent danger "at the time of filing." Ashley v. Dilworth, 147 F.3d 715, 717 (8th Cir. 1998) ("Allegations that the prisoner has faced imminent danger in the past are insufficient to trigger this exception to § 1915(g) . . . .").
Rindahl has a substantial litigation history. Magistrate Judge Simko determined that Rindahl has five strikes under § 1915. After reviewing Rindahl's litigation history, the court agrees that Rindahl has at least five strikes.
First, in Rindahl v. Class et al., Civ. 95-4207 (D.S.D. 1995), Rindahl alleged that the South Dakota Department of Corrections (DOC) failed to adequately enforce its own policies. The court dismissed that action as frivolous pursuant to § 1915(d), Civ. 95-4207, Dockets 5, 6, which counts as Rindahl's first strike. See § 1915(g) (stating that a dismissal as frivolous is a strike). Second, in Rindahl v. Class et al., Civ. 96-4116 (D.S.D. 1996), Rindahl claimed that his conditions in the special housing unit were unacceptable. The court dismissed that action for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to § 1915(d),Civ. 96-4116, Dockets 5, 6, which is Rindahl's second strike.
Third, in Rindahl v. Class et al., Civ. 96-4117, Rindahl claimed that prison officials filed disciplinary reports against him in retaliation for filing a religious rights lawsuit. That action was dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to § 1915(d), Civ. 96-4117, Dockets 5, 6, which constitutes Rindahl's third strike. Fourth, in Rindahl v. Weber et al., Civ. 08-4041 (D.S.D. 2008), Rindahl claimed that he was sexually assaulted by a prison guard in 2003 and that prison personnel did not properly investigate the matter. While Rindahl initially proceeded IFP, the case was later dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to ...