BARBER v. CALDWELL et al
ORDER GRANTING 5 Motion to Amend/Correct; DENYING 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; DISMISSING this action without prejudice; and TERMINATING as moot 6 Motion for Discovery and 8 Motion to Appoint Counsel. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE MARC THOMAS TREADWELL on 5/1/2017. (tlh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
TERRY L BARBER,
Warden ANTOINE CALDWELL,
Pro se Plaintiff Terry L Barber, currently incarcerated in Calhoun State Prison,
submitted a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaining of injuries sustained
while he was confined in Wilcox State Prison. Plaintiff seeks to proceed in this action
without prepaying the $400.00 filing fee and has filed an amended complaint clarifying the
relief he seeks. Plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend (ECF No. 5) is GRANTED.1
The Court has now reviewed the complaint, amended complaint, and all other
submissions and finds that Plaintiff may not proceed in this action without first prepaying
the full $400.00 filing fee, as at least three of his prior federal lawsuits were dismissed as
frivolous, malicious, or for failure to state a claim and count as “strikes” under 28 U.S.C. §
Plaintiff attached his proposed amended complaint to his motion seeking leave to amend. Plaintiff’s amendment
primarily details the relief he seeks, which includes, among other things, the option to choose his own roommate, the
“right” to express himself through “looks” and “hair,” arrangements with Glynn County for Plaintiff to go shopping, a
$2.5 million payment every time his property is interfered with, and placement in re-entry. ECF No. 5 at 2-3.
1915(g). Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED, and this action is
DISMISSED without prejudice.
Federal law prohibits a prisoner from bringing a civil action in federal court in
if [he] 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 may be granted, unless the prisoner is under
imminent danger of serious physical injury.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). This is known as the “three strikes provision.” Under § 1915(g), a
prisoner incurs a “strike” any time he has a federal lawsuit or appeal dismissed on the
grounds that it is frivolous or malicious or fails to state a claim. Medberry v. Butler, 185
F.3d 1189, 1193 (11th Cir. 1999). If a prisoner incurs three strikes, his ability to proceed
in forma pauperis in federal court is greatly limited and leave may not be granted unless the
prisoner shows an “imminent danger of serious physical injury.” Id.
A review of court records on the Federal Judiciary’s Public Access to Court
Electronic Records (“PACER”) database reveals that Plaintiff has filed at least three
complaints that were dismissed as frivolous, malicious, or for failure to state a claim. See
Barber v. Gunderson, 2:98-cv-00242 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 18, 1998) (dismissed for failure to
state a claim); Barber v. Morgan, 2:98-cv-00246 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 23,1998) (dismissed for
failure to state a claim); Barber v. Coastal State Prison, 4:98-cv-00215 (S.D. Ga. Sept 17,
1998) (dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies2).3
Because of this, Plaintiff may not proceed in forma pauperis unless he can show that
he qualifies for the “imminent danger” exception in § 1915(g). Medberry, 185 F.3d at
1193. The Court is therefore now required to review the facts alleged in Plaintiff’s
complaint to determine whether an imminent danger exists and warrants an exception to
the three strikes rule. When reviewing a pro se complaint for this purpose, the district
court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and view all allegations of
imminent danger in the plaintiff’s favor. Brown v. Johnson, 387 F.3d 1344, 1347 (11th
Cir. 2004); Tannenbaum v. United States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998).
The imminent danger exception applies only in “genuine emergencies” when (1)
“time is pressing,” (2) the “threat or prison condition is real and proximate,” and (3) the
“potential consequence is serious physical injury.” Lewis v. Sullivan, 279 F.3d 526, 531
(7th Cir. 2002). Thus, to satisfy this provision, a prisoner must allege specific facts that
describe “an ongoing serious physical injury, or of a pattern of misconduct evidencing the
likelihood of imminent serious physical injury.” Sutton v. Dist. Attorney's Office, 334 F.
App’x 278, 279 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting Brown, 387 F.3d at 1350). Vague, factually
A claim dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies “is tantamount to one that fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted.” Rivera v. Allen , 144 F.3d 719, 731 (11th Cir. 1998), abrogated on other grounds by
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). Accordingly, a dismissal for failure to exhaust administrative remedies counts as
strike under the PLRA. See Green v. Lumpkin, 2015 WL 4255874, at *2 n.2 (M.D. Ga. 2015) (citing Rivera, 144 F.3d
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals previously determined that the “three strikes” provision of the PLRA is
applicable to Plaintiff. See Barber v. Warden, No. 13-15529 (11th Cir. 2013); Barber v. Medlin, 3:13-cv-0078, at
ECF No. 10 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 23, 2013).
unsupported, and general allegations do not suffice, nor do allegations of past injuries.
See Martin v. Shelton, 319 F.3d 1048, 1050 (8th Cir. 2003). The imminent danger must in
fact exist at the time of filing. Medberry, 185 F.3d at 1193.
Plaintiff alleges that he was sexually assaulted in 2016 while confined at Wilcox
State Prison. ECF No. 1 at 5. The assault led to Plaintiff’s involvement in a fight later
that same day. The substance of Plaintiff’s complaint, however, primarily focuses on his
placement in administrative segregation pending an investigation of the sexual assault or
fight. Id. Plaintiff also initially sought to return to general population and complains
only of Warden Caldwell and Lieutenant Alfonzo’s “fail[ure] to follow state and federal
procedures” related to the investigation of the fight. Id. Plaintiff’s pleadings indicate
that he suffered a violent attack, but they do not indicate that such an attack is likely to
recur or that there is a continuing threat. Plaintiff’s underlying claim thus does not
indicate that he faced an ongoing threat to his physical safety at the time he filed his
complaint. Plaintiff has alleged no other facts concerning a threat of physical injury.
Accordingly, Plaintiff has not shown that he qualifies under the imminent danger exception
Because Plaintiff has three prior dismissals that properly qualify as strikes under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g), his motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis DENIED. Once a
plaintiff is denied in forma pauperis status, he cannot simply pay the filing fee and proceed
with his complaint.
Dupree v. Palmer, 284 F.3d 1234, 1236 (11th Cir. 2002).
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice. Id. (the proper
procedure is to dismiss the complaint without prejudice). The clerk is DIRECTED to
terminate all remaining motions as MOOT.
SO ORDERED, this 1st day of May, 2017.
S/ Marc T. Treadwell
MARC T. TREADWELL, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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