Jacoby v. Baldwin County et al
ORDER denying 87 Motion to Reimburse Unlawfully Seized Monies for Filing Fee. Signed by Chief Judge William H. Steele on 8/12/2013. Copy mailed to Plaintiff. (tgw)
Jacoby v. Baldwin County et al
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
BALDWIN COUNTY, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION 12-0197-WS-M
This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff Brent Jacoby’s Motion to Reimburse
Unlawfully Seized Monies for Filing Fee (doc. 87).
Plaintiff, an inmate in the Baldwin County Jail, is appealing this Court’s dismissal of his
§ 1983 complaint alleging various constitutional deprivations relating to his confinement.
Plaintiff has been denied leave to appeal in forma pauperis based on this Court’s certification
that the appeal is frivolous and not taken in good faith. (Doc. 79, at 2.)
On July 12, 2013, the undersigned entered an Order (doc. 82) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915 fixing plaintiff’s initial partial appellate filing fee at $55.79 and directing the business
manager of the institution where Jacoby is incarcerated “every month to withdraw twenty
percent of the preceding month’s income credited to the prisoner’s inmate account and to remit
that amount to the District Court Clerk each time the amount in the account exceeds $10.00 until
the total filing fee of $455.00 has been paid in full.” (Doc. 82, at 2.) On July 18, 2013, the
undersigned entered an Order (doc. 84) denying Jacoby’s Motion to Correct Partial Filing Fee, in
which plaintiff objected that certain deposits in his inmate account should not have been counted
for purposes of computation of the initial partial filing fee.
Now, Jacoby files yet another motion, seeking reimbursement of fees that the Baldwin
County Jail has remitted in this case as well as at least two other civil actions (12-cv-0640 and
12-cv-0366) in which he owes outstanding filing fees. Jacoby’s principal argument is that these
funds have been “wrongfully taken” because the law caps the total payments to be taken from
him in all cases at 20% of his income, in the aggregate, rather than 20% of his income per case.
As Jacoby puts it, “the 20 percent that is taken needs to be split up evenly to go towards his
different filing fees.” (Doc. 87, ¶ 6.) But nothing in this Court’s Order (doc. 82) for the Baldwin
County Jail to collect filing fees would contemplate or require such a result. Moreover, multiple
appeals courts have persuasively held “that the language of § 1915(b)(2) is unambiguous and
mandates that prisoners pay twenty percent of their monthly income for each case filed.”
Atchison v. Collins, 288 F.3d 177, 180 (5th Cir. 2002); see also Christenson v. Big Horn County
Bd. of County Com’rs, 2010 WL 1627833, *10 (10th Cir. Apr. 15, 2010) (“we hold that §
1915(b)(2) authorizes cumulative deductions of twenty percent for each civil action or appellate
filing fee incurred by a prisoner”); Lefkowitz v. Citi-Equity Group, Inc., 146 F.3d 609, 612 (8th
Cir. 1998) (“Because the PLRA fee petitions were designed to require prisoners to bear financial
responsibility for each action they take, the twenty-percent rule should be applied per case.”);
Newlin v. Helman, 123 F.3d 429, 436 (7th Cir. 1997) (“The PLRA is designed to require the
prisoner to bear some marginal cost for each legal activity. Unless payment begins soon after the
event that creates the liability, this will not happen. A prisoner who files one suit remits 20
percent of income to his prison trust account; a suit and an appeal then must commit 40 percent,
and so on. Five suits or appeals mean that the prisoner’s entire monthly income must be turned
over to the court until the fees have been paid ….”).
In light of the foregoing authorities, the Court rejects Jacoby’s contention that the total
deduction for all of his pending filing fee obligations across multiple cases is capped at 20% of
his income to his prison trust account. Having decided to pursue multiple court cases and
appeals simultaneously, Jacoby must bear financial responsibility for those decisions
simultaneously. The Motion to Reimburse (doc. 87) is denied.1
DONE and ORDERED this 12th day of August, 2013.
s/ WILLIAM H. STEELE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jacoby also complains that the $75.28 partial filing fee remitted by the Baldwin
County Jail on August 6, 2013 was excessive. (Doc. 86.) He presents no evidence that such is
the case. If plaintiff feels that the institution has miscalculated the deduction in some manner,
his recourse is with the jail facility in the first instance, not with this Court.
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