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King v. State

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 16, 2018

Calvin Thomas King, Plaintiff,
v.
State of Minnesota; D.O.C.; Lindsey Jennelle; Deborah MacNeil; Susan Norton; Amanda Anthony; John Quist; Corey Anderson; Lind Nacole; Jason Hills; Bob Martin; Jason Smith; Doug Witte; Jeff Austrong; DOC Oak Park; DOC Stillwater; and Lori Korte, Defendants.

          ORDER

          BECKY R. THORSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Calvin Thomas King did not pay the filing fee for this case, but instead filed an application seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). See Doc. No. 2. King's IFP application is now before the Court and must be addressed before any other action is taken in this matter.

         Because King is a prisoner, his IFP application is subject to the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). This statute provides that:

(1) Notwithstanding subsection (a), if a prisoner brings a civil action . . . in forma pauperis, the prisoner shall be required to pay the full amount of a filing fee. The court shall assess and, when funds exist, collect, as a partial payment of any court fees required by law, an initial partial filing fee of 20 percent of the greater of -
(A) the average monthly deposits to the prisoner's account; or
(B) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint . . . .
(2) After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner shall be required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account. The agency having custody of the prisoner shall forward payments from the prisoner's account to the clerk of the court each time the amount in the account exceeds $10 until the filing fees are paid.
(3) In no event shall the filing fee collected exceed the amount of fees permitted by statute for the commencement of a civil action . . . .
(4) In no event shall a prisoner be prohibited from bringing a civil action . . . for the reason that the prisoner has no assets and no means by which to pay the initial partial filing fee.

         According to this statute-which is part of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (“PLRA”)-prisoners who are granted IFP status are not excused from paying the court filing fee altogether, as is the case for non-prisoner IFP litigants. Instead, a prisoner who is granted IFP status is merely granted permission to pay the filing fee in installments, rather than paying the entire amount in advance. Ashley v. Dilworth, 147 F.3d 715, 716 (8th Cir. 1998) (“The purpose of the [PLRA] was to require all prisoner-litigants to pay filing fees in full, with the only issue being whether the inmate pays the entire filing fee at the initiation of the proceeding or in installments over a period of time.”). Section 1915(b)(1) requires prisoner IFP applicants to pay an initial partial filing fee at the outset of the case, and § 1915(b)(2) requires that the remaining balance be paid in installments through regular deductions from the prisoner's trust account.

         This Court cannot calculate King's initial partial filing fee at this time for two reasons. First, King has not signed his IFP application and therefore has not attested to the truthfulness of the information on that application, as required by § 1915(a)(1). See Doc. No. 2 at 1. Second, the financial information regarding King's prison trust account may be incorrect; there is no explanation as to how King has received an average of $254.00 per month in deposits to his account over the past six months, yet has carried an average daily balance of $0.00 during that same period.[1] See Doc. No. 2 at 6.

         For these reasons, King is hereby ordered to submit an amended IFP application within 20 days of this order. That IFP application must be signed and contain sufficient financial information from which this Court can calculate King's initial partial filing fee.[2]Failure to do so within 20 days will result in a recommendation that this matter be dismissed without prejudice for failure to prosecute. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).

         ORDER

         Based on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and proceedings herein, ...


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