United States District Court, S.D. California
LANCE R. MARTIN, CDCR #E-17299, Plaintiff,
CULINARY COOK POST; F. RUNAS; SERGEANT RUTLEDGE; LIEUTENANT ALLAMBY; K.A. SEIBEL, Defendants.
ORDER (1) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [ECF No. 3]; (2) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS, IMPOSING NO PARTIAL FILING FEE AND GARNISHING $350 BALANCE FROM PRISONER'S TRUST ACCOUNT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) [ECF No. 2]; and (3) DISMISSING COMPLAINT AS FRIVOLOUS AND FOR FAILING TO STATE A CLAIM PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) & 1915A(b)
ROGER T. BENITEZ, District Judge.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff, Lance R. Martin, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility ("RJD") and proceeding in pro se, has filed a civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 198. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff has also filed a certified copy of his inmate trust account statement, which the Court has liberally construed as a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis ("IFP"), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), along with a Motion for Preliminary Injunction. (ECF No. 3.)
II. MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
Plaintiff has filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 65(a). Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that "the court may issue a preliminary injunction only on notice to the adverse party." FED.R.CIV.P. 65(a). As a preliminary matter, Plaintiff's Motion for Injunction does not comply with Rule 65(a)'s important procedural notice requirement. Here, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that his Complaint, or his Motion have been served on any named Defendant.
Plaintiff's Motion does not comply with this elemental procedural requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(a). Thus, the Court must DENY, without prejudice, Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 3) pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 65(a).
Even if Plaintiff had properly served Defendants with notice of this Motion, this Motion would be denied. "A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right." Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008) (citation omitted). "The proper legal standard for preliminary injunctive relief requires a party to demonstrate that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest.'" Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky, 586 F.3d 1109, 1127 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Winter., 555 U.S. at 20). As set forth in detail below, the Court finds that dismissal of this action for failing to state a claim and as frivolous is appropriate following sua sponte screening. Therefore, Plaintiff is unable to show, for purposes of his Motion, that he is "likely to succeed on the merits." Id.
II. 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 $400. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). An action may proceed despite a plaintiff's failure to prepay the entire fee only if he is granted leave to proceed 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). However, if a prisoner, like Plaintiff, is granted leave to proceed IFP, he remains obligated to pay the entire fee in "increments, " see Williams v. Paramo, __ F.3d __, 2015 WL 74144 at *1 (9th Cir. 2015), regardless of whether his action is ultimately dismissed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) & (2); Taylor v. Delatoore, 281 F.3d 844, 847 (9th Cir. 2002).
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, as amended by the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), a prisoner seeking leave to proceed IFP must submit a "certified copy of the trust fund account statement (or institutional equivalent) for the prisoner for the six-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2); Andrews v. King, 398 F.3d 1113, 1119 (9th Cir. 2005). 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); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4). The institution having custody of the prisoner then collects subsequent payments, assessed at 20% of the preceding month's income, in any month in which the prisoner's account exceeds $10, and forwards those payments to the Court until the entire filing fee is paid. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
Plaintiff has submitted a certified copy of his trust account statement pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2) and S.D. CAL. CIVLR 3.2. Andrews, 398 F.3d at 1119. The Court has reviewed Plaintiff's trust account statement, but it shows that he insufficient funds from which to pay a partial initial civil filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4) (providing that "[i]n no event shall a prisoner be prohibited from bringing a civil action or appealing a civil action or criminal judgment for the reason that the prisoner has no assets and no means by which to pay the initial partial filing fee."); Taylor, 281 F.3d at 850 (finding that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4) acts as a "safety-valve" preventing dismissal of a prisoner's IFP case based solely on a "failure to pay... due to the lack of funds available to him when payment is ordered.").
Therefore, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed IFP (Doc. No. 2) and assesses no initial partial filing fee per 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). However, the entire $350 balance of the filing fees mandated will be collected by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") and forwarded to the Clerk of the Court pursuant to the installment payment provisions set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
III. SCREENING PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) & 1915A(b)
The PLRA also obligates the Court to review complaints filed by all persons proceeding IFP and by those, like Plaintiff, who are "incarcerated or detained in any facility [and] accused of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms or conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program, " "as soon as practicable after docketing." See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b). Under these provisions of the PLRA, the Court must sua sponte dismiss complaints, or any portions thereof, which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or which seek damages from defendants who are immune. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A; Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th ...