from the United States District Court for the Western
District of Kentucky at Louisville. Nos. 3:14-cv-00619;
3:14-cv-00628; 3:15-cv-00234; Thomas B. Russell, District
Before: SILER, BATCHELDER, and GRIFFIN, Circuit Judges.
plaintiff, Douglas Walter Greene, moves pursuant to Sixth
Circuit Rule 45(c) to reconsider the January 13, 2017,
clerk's orders denying him electronic filing privileges.
Greene sought leave to file electronically in December 2016,
citing an overseas address and frequent travel. Consistent
with the rules of our court, the clerk denied the motions and
directed him to file in paper. See 6 Cir. R.
25(b)(2)(A). As grounds for reconsideration, Greene cites the
relative lack of financial and administrative resources as
compared to the defendants.
Greene has demonstrated an historic ability to navigate
CM/ECF, he does not here justify disregarding local rule. All
future filings shall be made in paper. He may register with
PACER as a Public Interested Person to receive notices of
docket activity and monitor real-time case progress. The
motions to reconsider are DENIED.
IN THE RESULT ONLY
GRIFFIN, Circuit Judge, concurring in the result, only.
our court rules currently do not afford plaintiff Douglas
Walter Greene the privilege of filing electronically, I
concur in the result, only. I write separately because it is
time for us to amend our rules and permit litigants like
plaintiff to move for electronic filing privileges. Were
plaintiff permitted to do so, I would allow him to file
electronically in this case.
general rule is that "[a]ll documents must be filed
electronically using the Electronic Case Filing (ECF)
system[.]" 6th Cir. R. 25(a)(1). However, we exempt pro
se filers from this requirement, and instead mandate that all
in pro per filings "be filed in paper format[.]"
6th Cir. R. 25(b)(2)(A). This rule is unbending-it does not
allow us to consider a pro se litigant's reasonable
request to file electronically. See id.; see
also 6th Cir. Guide to Elec. Filing, § 3.3 (Aug.
16, 2012) ("No unrepresented party may file
electronically; unrepresented parties must submit documents
in paper format."). In my view, we should reevaluate
this rule that irrationally treats pro se litigants
differently and is in conflict with the policies of a
majority of our sister circuits and district courts within
litigants have the right to be heard in federal courts and
represent themselves. Derived directly from section 35 of the
Judiciary Act of 1789, 28 U.S.C. § 1654 guarantees the
right to proceed pro se in civil actions in federal courts.
It provides that "[i]n all courts of the United States
the parties may plead and conduct their own cases personally
or by counsel as, by the rules of such courts, respectively,
are permitted to manage and conduct causes therein."
Indeed, "[t]he Framers [n]ever doubted the right of
self-representation, or imagined that this right might be
considered inferior to the right of assistance of
counsel." Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806,
one of our sister circuits make this right more meaningful by
either affording pro se litigants the privilege of filing
electronically as a matter of course (First, Third, Eighth,
and Ninth),  or with permission (Second, Fourth, Fifth,
Seventh, Tenth, and D.C.). The Eleventh Circuit is the only other
circuit to categorically bar pro se litigants from filing
electronically.See 11th Cir. R. 25-3(a); 11th
Cir. Guide to Elec. Filing, §§ 4.5(1), 4.6 (Dec.
only is our policy at odds with the prevailing view of the
circuits, it is also discordant with the practice of most of
the district courts within this circuit. Of these districts,
only the Western Districts of Michigan and Tennessee still
prohibit pro se e-filers without exception.The remaining
seven allow pro se e-filers in some form.
might be argued that our blanket policy saves judicial
resources. A pro se litigant can be unduly prolific, filing
excessive motions, briefs, and exhibits without regard to
word and page limits. And where such limits are not enforced,
the court and opposing parties may be left to decipher
lengthy filings that are, at worst, unintelligible. But this
is true irrespective of how the pro se litigant files.
Indeed, a document filed by paper must be scanned and then
placed on our docket electronically; ECF filing simply skips
specter of these potential costs is not a sufficient reason
to hinder this plaintiff's ability to conduct
his own case. He works overseas in remote locations, making
it more effective and efficient to manage his case by filing
through ECF (see, e.g., No. 16-6761, R. 5 p. 2), a
tool unavailable to a public interested party through PACER.
See generally 6th Cir. Pub. Interested Person Manual
(Oct. 15, 2014). The district court permitted plaintiff to
file electronically, and he competently navigated ECF. There
is no reason to now assume he would not be a competent
electronic filer in this court. Moreover, his filings were
comprehensible enough to allow the opposing parties to
respond and the district court to reach a decision. And he
would be subject to the same word and page limits as any
attorney appearing before this court. In my view, this
plaintiff has shown good cause.
rule irrationally treats this plaintiff differently, and were
I permitted, I would allow him to file electronically in this
case. However, I concur in the result, only, because our
court rules currently do not afford pro se ...