United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER: (1) DENYING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA
PAUPERIS AS BARRED BY 28 U.S.C. § 1915(G); AND (2)
DISMISSING CIVIL ACTION WITHOUT PREJUDICE FOR FAILURE TO PAY
FILING FEE REQUIRED BY 28 U.S.C. § 1914(A) (ECF NO.
JANIS L. SAMMARTINO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Steven Wayne Bonilla, currently incarcerated at San Quentin
State Prison located in San Quentin, California, and
proceeding pro se, has filed a civil action (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff did not prepay the filing fee required to commence
a civil action at the time he filed his Complaint; instead,
he has filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a) (ECF No. 3).
Motion to Proceed IFP
Standard of Review
persons, not just prisoners, may seek IFP status.”
Moore v. Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, 657
F.3d 890, 892 (9th Cir. 2011). Prisoners like Plaintiff,
however, “face . . . additional hurdle[s].”
Id. Specifically, in addition to requiring prisoners
to “pay the full amount of a filing fee, ” in
“monthly installments” or
“increments” as provided by 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(3)(b), Bruce v. Samuels, __ U.S. __, 136
S.Ct. 627, 629 (2016); Williams v. Paramo,
775 F.3d 1182, 1185 (9th Cir. 2015), the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (“PLRA”) amended section 1915 to
preclude the privilege to proceed IFP
if [a] prisoner has, on 3 or more prior occasions, while
incarcerated or detained in any facility, brought an action
or appeal in a court of the United States that was dismissed
on the grounds that it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted, unless the
prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). “This subdivision is commonly
known as the ‘three strikes' provision.”
Andrews v. King, 398 F.3d 1113, 1116 n.1 (9th Cir.
to § 1915(g), a prisoner with three strikes or more
cannot proceed IFP.” Id.; see also Andrews
v. Cervantes, 493 F.3d 1047, 1052 (9th Cir. 2007)
(hereafter “Cervantes”) (under the PLRA,
“[p]risoners who have repeatedly brought unsuccessful
suits may entirely be barred from IFP status under the three
strikes rule”). The objective of the PLRA is to further
“the congressional goal of reducing frivolous prisoner
litigation in federal court.” Tierney v.
Kupers, 128 F.3d 1310, 1312 (9th Cir. 1997).
“[S]ection 1915(g)'s cap on prior dismissed claims
applies to claims dismissed both before and after the
statute's effective date.” Id. at 1311.
are prior cases or appeals, brought while the plaintiff was a
prisoner, which were dismissed on the ground that they were
frivolous, malicious, or failed to state a claim, ”
Andrews, 398 F.3d at 1116 n.1 (internal quotations
omitted), “even if the district court styles such
dismissal as a denial of the prisoner's application to
file the action without prepayment of the full filing
fee.” O'Neal v. Price, 531 F.3d 1146, 1153
(9th Cir. 2008). When courts “review a dismissal to
determine whether it counts as a strike, the style of the
dismissal or the procedural posture is immaterial. Instead,
the central question is whether the dismissal ‘rang the
PLRA bells of frivolous, malicious, or failure to state a
claim.'” El- Shaddai v. Zamora,
833 F.3d 1036, 1042 (9th Cir. 2016) (quoting Blakely v.
Wards, 738 F.3d 607, 615 (4th Cir. 2013)).
prisoner has accumulated three strikes, section 1915(g)
prohibits his pursuit of any subsequent IFP civil action or
appeal in federal court unless he faces “imminent
danger of serious physical injury.” See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g); Cervantes, 493 F.3d at
1051-52 (noting § 1915(g)'s exception for IFP
complaints which “make a plausible allegation that
the prisoner faced ‘imminent danger of serious physical
injury' at the time of filing.”).
initial matter, the Court has reviewed Plaintiff's
Complaint, and finds it does not contain any “plausible
allegations” to suggest he “faced ‘imminent
danger of serious physical injury' at the time of
filing.” Cervantes, 493 F.3d at 1055 (quoting
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g)). And while Defendants typically
carry the initial burden to produce evidence demonstrating a
prisoner is not entitled to proceed IFP, Andrews,
398 F.3d at 1119, “in some instances, the district
court docket may be sufficient to show that a prior dismissal
satisfies at least one on the criteria under § 1915(g)
and therefore counts as a strike.” Id. at
1120. That is the case here.
may take judicial notice of its own records, see Molus v.
Swan, Civil Case No. 3:05-cv-00452-MMA-WMc, 2009 WL
160937, *2 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 22, 2009) (citing United
States v. Author Services, 804 F.2d 1520, 1523 (9th Cir.
1986)), and “‘may take notice of proceedings in
other courts, both within and without the federal judicial
system, if those proceedings have a direct relation to
matters at issue.'” Bias, 508 F.3d at 1225
(quoting Bennett v. Medtronic, Inc., 285 F.3d 801,
803 n.2 (9th Cir. 2002)); see also United States ex rel.
Robinson Rancheria Citizens Council v. Borneo, Inc., 971
F.2d 244, 248 (9th Cir. 1992).
on the records and court proceedings available on PACER, this
Court takes judicial notice that Plaintiff Steven Wayne
Bonilla, identified as CDCR #J-48500, while incarcerated, has
had dozens of prisoner civil actions or appeals dismissed on
the grounds that they were frivolous, malicious, or failed to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See,
e.g., In re Steven Bonilla, 2012 WL 216401, at
*1 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 24, 2012) (noting Plaintiff's
litigation history in the Northern District of California,
including the dismissal of 34 pro se civil rights actions
between June 1 and October 31, 2011 alone, which were
dismissed “because the allegations in [his] complaints
d[id] not state a claim for relief under §
1983.”); id. at *3 (“The following five
actions are DISMISSED without prejudice and without leave to
amend for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted: Bonilla v. Superior Court of Alameda
County, C 11-6306; Bonilla v. Alameda County
District Attorney's Office, C 11-6307; Bonilla
v. California Supreme Court, C 12-0026; Bonilla v.
Cullen, C 1200027; Bonilla v. California Supreme
Court, C 12-0206.”); id. at *3 n.1
(“The Court recently informed Plaintiff that, in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), he no longer
qualifies to proceed in forma pauperis in any civil rights
action.” (citing In re Steven ...