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Williams v. Mayfield

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 30, 2017

Dale A. Williams, Sr., Plaintiff,
v.
Paul Mayfield; Thom Lundquist; Courtney Menten; Justine Wandling, MA; Kellie Bodie-Miner, MSW, LISCW; Kathryn Lockie, MA, LPCC; Jannine Hebert, Executive Clinical Director of MSOP, Defendants.

          Dale A. Williams, Sr., pro se; and Theresa M. Bevilacqua, Esq., Dorsey & Whitney LLP, counsel for Plaintiff. [1]

          Anthony R. Noss, Assistant Attorney General, Minnesota Attorney General's Office, counsel for Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(A)[2] by Defendants.[3] For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the motion and dismisses Plaintiff's case without prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Dale Williams is an individual who has been civilly committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (“MSOP”). (Doc. No. 84 (“Am. Compl.”) ¶ 1.) In 2013, Williams' daughter and granddaughter sought to visit him. (Id. ¶ 9.) The visitation application sent to MSOP was denied. (See id.) In response, Williams commenced this action against Defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendment.

         In connection with the filing of his original Complaint in February 2014, Williams filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”) and an accompanying affidavit claiming that he was unable to pay court filing fees. (Doc. No. 2; Doc. No. 3 (“IFP Affidavit”).) On February 5, 2014, Williams asserted the following in his IFP Affidavit:

. . . I have not received within the last twelve months (12) any money from the following sources: Business, profession, or self-employment; Rent payments, interests, or dividends; Pensions, annuities, or life insurance payments; Gifts of inheritances; or any other sources. . . .
. . . I own approximately $100.00 cash and I have no money in any checking or savings account. . . .
. . . I am currently unemployed at MSOP and do not expect to have any income. . . .

         (IFP Affidavit ¶¶ 5-6, 8.) Based on this sworn testimony, the Court granted Williams IFP status and his court fees were waived. (See Doc. No. 6.)

         During his March 25, 2016 deposition, Williams admitted that, when he filed for IFP status, it was incorrect to say that he was unable to pay court fees and costs. (Doc. No. 112 (“Noss Aff.”) ¶ 2, Ex. 1 (“Williams Dep.”) at 213-14.) Deposition testimony revealed that, around February 5, 2014, Williams had at least $16, 000 in veterans' benefits, that he received at least $2, 873 in veterans' benefits monthly, and that he had two bank accounts-none of which was disclosed on his application. (Id. at 53, 194-95, 203-09, 212.) Williams claimed that he did not disclose such information because he did not think that his veterans' benefits counted when applying for IFP status. (Id. at 210-13.) Williams further testified that he indicated only having $100 on the IFP Affidavit because he had been told to do so by another committed individual at MSOP. (Id. at 209-11.) Williams stated that, according to another individual at MSOP, “the normal procedure is to put down a hundred dollars.” (Id. at 209.)

         In responding to Defendants' briefing on dismissal, Plaintiff has submitted a declaration stating: “Before this litigation, I have never filed an in forma pauperis application in the federal court, and I was unfamiliar with the process and requirements.” (Doc. No. 116 (“Williams Decl.”) ¶ 3.) Consistent with his deposition testimony, he also provided the following explanation for his failure to disclose his veterans' benefits: “In preparing my in forma pauperis application, I understood that my veterans payments, which are my sole source of money, should not be included in my application.” (Id. ΒΆ 4.) Finally, Plaintiff clarified that the assets that he failed to disclose consisted of veterans' ...


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