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Turner v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. California

August 27, 2019

DAVID B. TURNER, Jr., Booking No. 197347785, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER: 1) DENYING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AS BARRED BY 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) [ECF No. 2] AND (2) DISMISSING CIVIL ACTION WITHOUT PREJUDICE FOR FAILURE TO PAY FILING FEE REQUIRED BY 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a)

          Hon. John A. Houston United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, David B. Turner, Jr., currently detained at George F. Bailey Detention Facility, in San Diego, California, has filed a civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (ECF No. 1).

         Turner claims the United States of America, “M.T.S. Universal Security, ” the State of California, and both the County and City of San Diego, used unreasonable force against him while effecting his arrest at a trolley station on October 13, 2018. (See Id. at 1-3.) On October 22, 2018, he further claims to have been unlawfully seized by “County Mental Health” in Old Town, transported unconscious to the Central Jail, and thereafter denied medical help for a broken hand. (Id. at 5.) Turner seeks his release from custody and $7 million in “cash money.” (Id. at 16.)[1]

         Turner has not prepaid the full civil filing fee required by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a); instead, he has filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”) (ECF No. 2).

         I. Motion to Proceed IFP

         A. Standard of Review

         “All 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 an additional hurdle.” Id.

         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), the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) amended section 1915 to preclude the privilege to proceed IFP in cases where the 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. 2005). “Pursuant 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).

         “Strikes 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)). “When … presented with multiple claims within a single action, ” however, courts may “assess a PLRA strike only when the case as a whole is dismissed for a qualifying reason under the Act.” Hoffman v. Pulido, 928 F.3d. 1147, 1152 (9th Cir. 2019) (citing Washington v. L.A. Cty. Sheriff's Dep't, 833 F.3d 1048, 1057 (9th Cir. 2016)).

         Once a 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.”).

         B. Discussion

         The Court has reviewed Turner's Complaint and finds it contains no “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)). Instead, as described above, Turner claims unidentified City, County and Metropolitan Transit Authority officers used unreasonable force while effecting two separate arrests more than ten months ago, and that afterward unnamed Central Jail officials gave him “no medical help” for his wrist, which ...


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