UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
January 26, 2010
HON LAU, CDCR #V-15557, PLAINTIFF,
PRISON LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1996, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: William Q. Hayes United States District Judge
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND DISMISSING CASE WITHOUT PREJUDICE PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) [Doc. No. 2]
Hon Lau ("Plaintiff"), currently incarcerated at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, California, and proceeding pro se, has submitted a civil rights Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1983.
While difficult to decipher, Plaintiff's Complaint claims the "maker" of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 ("PLRA") violated his rights to access to the court, petition for redress, and to be free from unreasonable seizures and cruel and unusual punishments because he is "totally innocen[t] of the crime which he did not commit[,]" but has had numerous habeas corpus petitions and civil rights claims denied and/or dismissed "because [he] [is] an indigent." (Compl. at 3.)
Plaintiff has not prepaid the $350 filing fee mandated by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a); instead, he has filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis ("IFP") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) [Doc. No. 2].
I. MOTION TO PROCEED IFP
All parties instituting any civil action, suit or proceeding in a district court of the United States, except an application for writ of habeas corpus, must pay a filing fee of $350. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). An action may proceed despite a party's failure to pay only if the party is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). See Andrews v. Cervantes, 493 F.3d 1047, 1051 (9th Cir. 2007); Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1177 (9th Cir. 1999). "Under the PLRA, all prisoners who file IFP civil actions must pay the full amount of the filing fee," regardless of whether the action is ultimately dismissed for any reason. See Taylor v. Delatoore, 281 F.3d 844, 847 (9th Cir. 2002) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) & (2)). "[T]he PLRA fee filing requirements pass constitutional muster." Id. at 848.
In order to comply with the PLRA, prisoners seeking leave to proceed IFP must also submit a "certified copy of the trust fund account statement (or institutional equivalent) for the prisoner for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint...." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2). From the certified trust account statement, the Court assesses an initial payment of 20% of (a) the average monthly deposits in the account for the past six months, or (b) the average monthly balance in the account for the past six months, whichever is greater, unless the prisoner has no assets. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), (4); see Taylor, 281 F.3d at 850. Thereafter, the institution having custody of the prisoner must collect subsequent payments, assessed at 20% of the preceding month's income, in any month in which the prisoner's account exceeds $10, and forward those payments to the Court until the entire filing fee is paid. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
While Plaintiff has filed a Motion to Proceed IFP in this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), he has not attached a certified copy of his prison trust account statement for the 6- month period immediately preceding the filing of his Complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2); S.D. CAL. CIVLR 3.2. Section 1915(a)(2) clearly mandates that prisoners "seeking to bring a civil action ...without prepayment of fees ... shall submit a certified copy of the trust fund account statement (or institutional equivalent) ... for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2) (emphasis added).
Without Plaintiff's trust account statement, the Court is simply unable to assess the appropriate amount of the filing fee required to initiate this action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Therefore, Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed IFP must be DENIED.
II. CONCLUSION AND ORDER
For the reasons set forth abotve, IT IS ORDERED that:
(1) Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed IFP [Doc. No. 2] is DENIED.
(2) This action is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to prepay the $350 filing fee mandated by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a), and for failure to successfully move to proceed IFP pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
(3) Plaintiff is GRANTED forty five (45) days from the date this Order is Filed to either: (1) pay the entire $350 filing fee, or (2) file a new Motion to Proceed IFP, which includes a certified copy of his trust account statement for the 6-month period preceding the filing of his Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2) and S.D. CAL. CIVLR 3.2(b).*fn1
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court shall provide Plaintiff with a Court-approved form "Motion and Declaration in Support of Motion to Proceed IFP" in this matter. If Plaintiff neither pays the $350 filing fee in full nor sufficiently completes and files the attached Motion to Proceed IFP, together with a certified copy of his prison trust account statement within 45 days, this action shall remained closed without further Order of the Court.