United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Munt, pro se.
Lindsay LaVoie & Rachel E. Bell-Munger, for Defendants.
RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Joel Marvin Munt seeks to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”) on appeal of the dismissal of this
action. See Doc. No. 86. Because Munt 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 or files an appeal 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
(B) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account
for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of
the complaint or notice of appeal.
(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 or appeal of a civil action . . . .
(4) In no event shall a prisoner be prohibited from bringing
a civil action or appealing a civil or criminal judgment for
the reason that the prisoner has no assets and no means by
which to pay the initial partial filing fee.
to this statute - which is part of the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (“PLRA”) - prisoners who are granted
IFP status on appeal are not excused from paying the
appellate filing fee altogether, as is the case for
non-prisoner IFP appellants. Instead, a prisoner who is
granted IFP status is merely granted permission to pay the
appellate filing fee in installments, rather than paying the
entire amount in advance. See Henderson v. Norris,
129 F.3d 481, 484-85 (8th Cir. 1997); cf. 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 appeal, and § 1915(b)(2) requires that the
remaining balance be paid in installments through regular
deductions from the prisoner's trust account.
case, the “Certificate” section of Munt's IFP
application provides information derived from his inmate
trust account - as required by § 1915(a)(2) - and shows
that the amount of his average monthly deposits during the
preceding six-month period was $104.81, while his average
monthly balance during the same period was $51.28.
See ECF No. 86 at 7. Because the average monthly
deposits amount exceeds the average monthly balance,
Munt's initial partial filing fee for his appeal, under
the formula prescribed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), will
be 20% of the average monthly deposits, or $20.96. This
initial partial filing fee is due immediately. If Munt elects
to pursue his appeal, the remaining balance of the $505.00
appellate filing fee will have to be paid in later
installments, and prison officials will be authorized to
deduct funds from Munt's trust account, as provided by
§ 1915(b)(2). Munt will be required to pay this filing
fee regardless of the outcome of his appeal.
although the Court remains satisfied that this action was
properly dismissed, Munt's current appeal is not
“frivolous” as that term has been defined by the
Supreme Court. Accordingly, Munt's appeal is found to be
taken in good faith for purposes 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3)
and Fed. R. App. P. ...