United States District Court, D. Minnesota
E. Rau United States Magistrate Judge
Chad Douglas Dressen did not pay the filing fee for this
case, but instead filed an application seeking leave to
proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”).
See ECF No. 2. Mr. Dressen's IFP application is
now before the Court and must be addressed before any other
action is taken in this matter.
Mr. Dressen is a prisoner, his IFP application is subject to
the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). This statute
(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
(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
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.
Court cannot yet calculate Mr. Dressen's initial partial
filing fee because he has provided incomplete financial
information for the six months prior to this litigation.
See ECF No. 2-1 at 1. If Mr. Dressen has been
incarcerated for less than six months, he need only provide
information for the months of incarceration to date.
Accordingly, this Court hereby orders Mr. Dressen to submit
information regarding the deposits to, and balance of, his
trust account for the period of January 2019 to June 2019, as
required by § 1915(b). Prison officials are reminded of
their obligation to assist Mr. Dressen in procuring that
financial information. The Clerk of Court shall mail Mr.
Dressen one copy of this District's standard IFP
application, including a certificate of financial information
for prison officials to complete on Mr. Dressen's behalf.
Failure to submit the required financial information within
20 days of this order will result in a recommendation that
this matter be dismissed without prejudice for failure to
prosecute. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).
Court will also take this opportunity to note a potential
deficiency with Mr. Dressen's complaint. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. Mr. Dressen names the City of Tyler as a
defendant, but to invoke Section 1983 liability against a
government entity he would need to point to a harmful policy
or practice. See e.g. Monell v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978) (local government
body may only be held liable under Section 1983 if alleged
unconstitutional conduct implements official policy or
custom). His complaint as pled makes no explicit mention of a
policy or practice. Pro se litigants are treated
leniently before this Court, and the complaint as drafted
would be construed liberally, but the expeditious resolution
can aptly take place with a more clearly delineated pleading.
Mr. Dressen elect to file an amended complaint, that document
should be a standalone pleading; that is, Mr. Dressen should
not merely supplement his original complaint, but should