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Parker v. Graves

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Winchester

May 4, 2015

DEXTER PARKER, # 285121, Plaintiff,
v.
STEVE GRAVES and PAM FREEMAN, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

HARRY S. MATTICE, Jr., District Judge.

The Court is in receipt of a pro se prisoner's civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff's in forma pauperis application is GRANTED, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, and he is allowed to proceed in this case without prepayment of the filing fee (Doc. 1). Nevertheless, as a prisoner, the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), makes plaintiff ultimately responsible for paying the filing fee, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), and he, therefore, is ASSESSED the full filing fee of $350.

I. Fee Collection Procedures

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)(A) and (B), the custodian of plaintiff's inmate trust account at the institution where he now resides is directed to submit to the Clerk, U.S. District Court, 900 Georgia Avenue, Room 309, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402, as an initial partial payment, whichever is greater of:

(a) twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly deposits to plaintiff's inmate trust account; or

(b) twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly balance in plaintiff's inmate trust account for the six-month period preceding the filing of the complaint.

Thereafter, the custodian shall submit twenty percent (20%) of plaintiff's preceding monthly income (or income credited to plaintiff's trust account for the preceding month), but only when such monthly income exceeds ten dollars ($10.00), until the full filing fee of three hundred fifty dollars ($350.00) as authorized under 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) has been paid to the Clerk. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).

The Clerk is DIRECTED to send a copy of this Memorandum and Order to the Warden of the South Central Correctional Facility, in Clifton, Tennessee, wherein plaintiff is currently confined, and to Derrick D. Schofield, the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction, to ensure that the custodian of plaintiff's inmate trust account complies with that portion of the PLRA relating to payment of the filing fee. The Clerk is further DIRECTED to forward a copy of this Memorandum and Order to the Court's financial deputy.

II. Screening

Under the PLRA, district courts must screen prisoner complaints and sua sponte dismiss those that are frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim for relief, or are against a defendant who is immune. See, e.g., 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915(A); Benson v. O'Brian, 179 F.3d 1014 (6th Cir. 1999).

Responding to a perceived deluge of frivolous lawsuits, and, in particular, frivolous prisoner suits, Congress directed the federal courts to review or "screen" certain complaints sua sponte and to dismiss those that failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, that sought monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief, or that were frivolous or malicious.

Id. at 1015-16 (6th Cir. 1999) (citing 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A). In performing this task, however, the Court recognizes that pro se pleadings filed in civil rights cases are construed indulgently and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993); Pilgrim v. Littlefield, 92 F.3d 413, 416 (6th Cir. 1996).

Even so, the complaint must be sufficient "to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, " Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), which simply means that the factual content pled by a plaintiff must permit a court "to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The standard articulated by the Supreme Court in Iqbal and Twombly "governs dismissals for failure state a claim under [28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A] because the relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule 12(b)(6)." Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010).

Thus, to survive screening under the PLRA, a complaint "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, in turn quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at ...


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