United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Bennett, an inmate at the Riverbend Maximum Security Prison
in Nashville, Tennessee, filed this pro se action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. No. 1.) Plaintiff has not
submitted either the required civil filing fee, or an
application to proceed in forma pauperis. For the
following reasons, the Court nonetheless concludes that
Plaintiff may not proceed in this action in forma
pauperis, and this action will be dismissed.
initial matter, the complaint lists another individual as a
plaintiff in addition to Corey Bennett, but that individual
did not sign the complaint. Accordingly, the Clerk is
DIRECTED to update the docket to reflect
that Corey Bennett is the only plaintiff in this case.
Plaintiff's failure to pay the filing fee or submit an
application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court
has repeatedly notified Plaintiff that he is subject to the
“three-strikes” provision of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(g). That provision bars a prisoner from filing
a complaint in forma pauperis-that is,
without prepaying the full filing fee-if he has previously
filed three or more cases in federal court that were
dismissed as frivolous, malicious, or for failure to state a
claim. A prisoner who falls within the scope of §
1915(g) must pay the filing fee unless he is in imminent
danger of serious physical injury. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g);
Pointer v. Wilkinson, 502 F.3d 369, 372 (6th Cir.
demonstrate that he is entitled to this imminent-danger
exception, a prisoner “need[ ] only to assert
allegations of imminent danger; he need not affirmatively
prove those allegations at this stage of litigation.”
Vandiver v. Prison Health Servs., Inc., 727 F.3d
580, 585 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting Tucker v.
Pentrich, 483 Fed.Appx. 28, 30 (6th Cir. 2012)). The
Court, however, is not required to uncritically accept a
prisoner's allegations of imminent danger as credible. A
prisoner must “show that his complaint alleged facts
from which a court, informed by its judicial experience and
common sense, could draw the reasonable inference that [he]
was under an existing danger at the time he filed his
complaint.” Id. (quoting Taylor v. First
Med. Mgmt., 508 Fed.Appx. 488, 492 (6th Cir. 2012)). The
Sixth Circuit has specifically noted that “district
courts may deny a prisoner leave to proceed pursuant to
§ 1915(g) when the prisoner's claims of imminent
danger are conclusory or ridiculous, or are clearly baseless
(i.e. are fantastic or delusional and rise to the level of
irrational or wholly incredible).” Id.
(quoting Rittner v. Kinder, 290 Fed.Appx. 796, 798
(6th Cir. 2008)).
Plaintiff alleges that, on February 21, 2018, he informed
staff members at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison
(“RMSI”) that he was being housed next to a gang
member who told Plaintiff that he would have Plaintiff
killed. (Doc. No. 1 at 5-6.) According to Plaintiff, this
inmate is permanently housed at Morgan County Correctional
Complex (“MCCX”), but MCCX staff transferred the
inmate to RMSI to “kill [Plaintiff] due to a previous
lawsuit that [Plaintiff] had filed on MCCX staff” in
2013. (Id.) This inmate was then transferred back to
MCCX, but an MCCX staff member has allegedly contacted RMSI
staff in an attempt to have him returned to RMSI.
(Id. at 7.) Plaintiff alleges that RMSI staff
members are involved “in a conspiracy” to have
the inmate transferred to RMSI to “help . . . have
[Plaintiff] killed.” (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff
also alleges that he sent letters to officials with the
Tennessee Department of Correction requesting to be
designated incompatible with this inmate. (Id. at
taking as true Plaintiff's assertion that he was housed
next to an inmate at RMSI who wanted to kill him,
Plaintiff's allegations reflect that this inmate had been
transferred back to MCCX by the time Plaintiff filed this
action. Thus, by Plaintiff's own admission, this inmate
did not present an imminent danger of serious physical injury
at the time Plaintiff filed the complaint, as required to
qualify for the imminent-danger exception of § 1915(g).
See Vandiver, 727 F.3d at 585.
the Court denies Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma
pauperis because his allegations are clearly baseless.
Based on the Court's “judicial experience and
common sense, ” as well as Plaintiff's documented
history of filing meritless lawsuits in this Court,
Court cannot accept Plaintiff's conclusory assertion that
MCCX staff, RMSI staff, and gang members at both prison
facilities are involved in a conspiracy to kill Plaintiff in
retaliation for filing a complaint in 2013. In short,
Plaintiff's allegations of imminent danger are
“fantastic or delusional and rise to the level of
irrational or wholly incredible.” See id.
Thus, even if Plaintiff files an application to proceed
in forma pauperis in this action, the Court must
deny it under § 1915(g).
Court's determination that Plaintiffs allegations do not
entitle him to the imminent-danger exception of §
1915(g) applies only to this case. The Court will evaluate
any other complaints in accordance with the appropriate
statutory requirements. Moreover, the Court must consider the
complaint in this or any other civil action if he pays the
full filing fee of $400.00, as all plaintiffs who are not
granted in forma pauperis status must do.
has demonstrated through his many previous filings in this
Court that he is indigent, and that granting him 30 days in
which to submit the $400.00 filing fee would be futile.
Accordingly, this action is DISMISSED
without prejudice for failure to submit the filing fee with
the complaint. Plaintiff may, however, file a motion to alter
or amend judgment accompanied by the full $400.00 filing fee
within 28 days of entry of this Order. The Court
CERTIFIES that any appeal in this matter
would not be taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C. §
Clerk shall enter judgment in accordance with Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 58.