LeBlanc #333019 v. Kalamazoo County Sheriff
OPINION Denying Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis - Three Strikes ; signed by Judge R. Allan Edgar (Judge R. Allan Edgar, cam)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
JEFFREY R. LeBLANC,
Case No. 2:15-cv-180
Honorable R. Allan Edgar
KALAMAZOO COUNTY SHERIFF,
OPINION DENYING LEAVE
TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS - THREE STRIKES
Plaintiff Jeffrey R. LeBlanc, a prisoner incarcerated at Chippewa Correctional Facility,
filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Because Plaintiff 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 to pay the $400.00 civil action filing fee applicable to those who are not
permitted to proceed in forma pauperis within twenty-eight (28) days of this opinion and accompanying
order. If Plaintiff fails to do so, the Court will order that his action be dismissed without prejudice.
Even if the case is dismissed, Plaintiff will be responsible for payment of the $400.00 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 put into place 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
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 60406); 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 his lawsuits as frivolous or for failure to state a claim. See LeBlanc v.
Kalamazoo Cnty. Sheriff, No. 1:14-cv-305 (W.D. Mich. July 29, 2014); LeBlanc v. Michigan, No. 1:14cv-552 (W.D. Mich. June 19, 2014); LeBlanc v. Kalamazoo Cnty. Gov’t, No. 1:14-cv-308 (W.D. Mich.
May 21, 2014); LeBlanc v. Michigan, No. 1:14-cv-237 (W.D. Mich. Mar. 26, 2014). In addition,
Plaintiff has been denied leave to proceed in forma pauperis under the three-strikes rule on numerous
occasions. Moreover, Plaintiff’s allegations do not fall within the exception to the three-strikes rule
because he does not allege any facts establishing that he is under imminent danger of serious physical
In light of the foregoing, § 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
the entire civil action filing fee, which is $400.00. When Plaintiff pays his 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 fails to
pay the filing fee within the 28-day period, his case will be dismissed without prejudice, but he will
continue to be responsible for payment of the $400.00 filing fee.
/s/ R. Allan Edgar
R. ALLAN EDGAR
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
SEND REMITTANCES TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:
Clerk, U.S. District Court
P.O. Box 698
229 Federal Building
202 W. Washington St.
Marquette, MI 49855
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