Jackson #146503 et al v. McPherson et al
OPINION; Order to issue; signed by Judge Janet T. Neff (Judge Janet T. Neff, clb)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
PAUL JACKSON, #146503, et al.,
Case No. 1:17-cv-965
Honorable Janet T. Neff
MATT SWAB et al.,
OPINION DENYING LEAVE
TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS - THREE STRIKES
Plaintiff Paul Jackson, in conjunction with twelve other Ingham County Jail
inmates, has filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He seeks leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. The civil action filing fee is $400.00, or $350.00 when a plaintiff is proceeding in forma
pauperis. Because there are multiple plaintiffs, each Plaintiff is proportionately liable for any fees
or costs. See Talley-Bey v. Knebl, 168 F.3d 884, 887 (6th Cir. 1999); In re Prison Litigation
Reform Act, 105 F.3d 1131, 1137 (6th Cir. 1997). Thus, each Plaintiff is liable for $26.92. Because
Plaintiff Jackson has filed at least three lawsuits that were dismissed as frivolous, malicious or for
failure to state a claim, he is barred from proceeding in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
The Court will order Plaintiff Paul Jackson to pay his $26.92 portion of the filing fee within twentyeight (28) days of this opinion and accompanying order. If Plaintiff fails to do so, the Court will
order that his claims be dismissed without prejudice. Even if the case is dismissed, Plaintiff will
be responsible for payment of his $26.92 share of the filing fee, in accordance with In re Alea, 286
F.3d 378, 380-81 (6th Cir. 2002).
The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321
(1996), which was enacted on April 26, 1996, amended the procedural rules governing a prisoner’s
request for the privilege of proceeding in forma pauperis. As the Sixth Circuit has stated, the
PLRA was “aimed at the skyrocketing numbers of claims filed by prisoners – many of which are
meritless – and the corresponding burden those filings have placed on the federal courts.”
Hampton v. Hobbs, 106 F.3d 1281, 1286 (6th Cir. 1997). For that reason, Congress created
economic incentives to prompt a prisoner to “stop and think” before filing a complaint. Id. For
example, a prisoner is liable for the civil action filing fee, and if the prisoner qualifies to proceed
in forma pauperis, the prisoner may pay the fee through partial payments as outlined in 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b). The constitutionality of the fee requirements of the PLRA has been upheld by the Sixth
Circuit. Id. at 1288.
In addition, another provision reinforces the “stop and think” aspect of the PLRA
by preventing a prisoner from proceeding in forma pauperis when the prisoner repeatedly files
meritless lawsuits. Known as the “three-strikes” rule, the provision states:
In no event shall a prisoner bring a civil action or appeal a judgment in a civil action
or proceeding under [the section governing proceedings in forma pauperis] if 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 may be granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of
serious physical injury.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). The statutory restriction “[i]n no event,” found in § 1915(g), is express and
unequivocal. The statute does allow an exception for a prisoner who is “under imminent danger
of serious physical injury.” The Sixth Circuit has upheld the constitutionality of the three-strikes
rule against arguments that it violates equal protection, the right of access to the courts, and due
process, and that it constitutes a bill of attainder and is ex post facto legislation. Wilson v. Yaklich,
148 F.3d 596, 604-06 (6th Cir. 1998); accord Pointer v. Wilkinson, 502 F.3d 369, 377 (6th Cir.
2007) (citing Wilson, 148 F.3d at 604-06); Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1178-82 (9th Cir.
1999); Rivera v. Allin, 144 F.3d 719, 723-26 (11th Cir. 1998); Carson v. Johnson, 112 F.3d 818,
821-22 (5th Cir. 1997).
Plaintiff has been an active litigant in the federal courts in Michigan. The Court
has dismissed at least three of Plaintiff’s lawsuits for failure to state a claim. See Jackson v.
Allegan County Jail et al., No. 1:07-cv-1086 (W.D. Mich. Feb. 25, 2008); Jackson v. Martin et al.,
No. 1:03-cv-367 (W.D. Mich. June 30, 2003); Jackson v. Hall et al., No. 1:03-cv-332 (W.D. Mich.
May 22, 2003). In addition, Plaintiff Jackson has been denied leave to proceed in forma pauperis
in multiple prior cases. See Jackson v. Ingham Cty. Jail et al., No. 1:17-cv-463 (W.D. Mich. June
20, 2017); Artis et al. v. Ingham Cty. Jail et al., No. 1:17-cv-516 (W.D. Mich. June 19, 2017);
Jackson et al. v. Ingham Cty. Jail et al., No. 1:17-cv-237 (W.D. Mich. Mar. 23, 2017); Jackson v.
48th Cir. Court et al., No. 1:07-cv-1164 (W.D. Mich. Apr. 21, 2008); Jackson v. Merrill et al.,
No. 1:07-1275 (W.D. Mich. Apr. 14, 2008); Jackson v. Meijer, Inc. et al., No. 1:07-cv-1250 (W.D.
Mich. Apr. 14, 2008); Jackson v. Nancy et al., No. 1:07-cv-1122 (W.D. Mich. Apr. 14, 2008).
Moreover, Plaintiff’s allegations do not fall within the “imminent danger” exception to the threestrikes rule. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
Therefore, § 1915(g) prohibits Plaintiff from proceeding in forma pauperis in this
action. Plaintiff has twenty-eight (28) days from the date of entry of this order to pay his entire
$26.92 portion of the civil action filing fee. When Plaintiff pays his portion of the filing fee, the
Court will screen his complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). If
Plaintiff does not pay the filing fee within the 28-day period, this case will be dismissed without
prejudice, but Plaintiff will continue to be responsible for payment for his $26.92 portion of the
Dated: November 16, 2017
/s/ Janet T. Neff
Janet T. Neff
United States District Judge
SEND REMITTANCES TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:
Clerk, U.S. District Court
399 Federal Building
110 Michigan Street, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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