Munt v. MN Department of Corrections et al
ORDER granting 130 Application on Proceed In Forma Pauperis on Appeal. (Written Opinion) Signed by Judge Susan Richard Nelson on 4/16/2018. (SMD)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
JOEL MARVIN MUNT,
Case No. 16-CV-1206 (SRN/SER)
MN DEPARTMENT OF
CORRECTIONS; TOM ROY,
Commissioner of Corrections; GLORIA
H. ANDREACHI, A East Lt.; BRUCE
JULSON, CPD Operations; STEVEN
HAMMER, MCF-STW Warden; and
Plaintiff Joel Marvin Munt, a Minnesota prisoner, seeks to proceed in forma
pauperis (“IFP”) on appeal of the dismissal of this action. See ECF No. 130. Because
Munt is a prisoner, his IFP application is subject to the requirements of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b). This statute provides that:
(1) Notwithstanding subsection (a), if a prisoner brings a civil
action or files an appeal in forma pauperis, the prisoner shall
be required to pay the full amount of a filing fee. The court
shall assess and, when funds exist, collect, as a partial
payment of any court fees required by law, an initial partial
filing fee of 20 percent of the greater of —
(A) the average monthly deposits to the
prisoner’s account; or
(B) the average monthly balance in the
prisoner’s account for the 6-month period
immediately preceding the
complaint or notice of appeal.
(2) After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner
shall be required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of
the preceding month’s income credited to the prisoner’s
account. The agency having custody of the prisoner shall
forward payments from the prisoner’s account to the clerk of
the court each time the amount in the account exceeds $10
until the filing fees are paid.
(3) In no event shall the filing fee collected exceed the
amount of fees permitted by statute for the commencement of
a civil action or appeal of a civil action . . . .
(4) In no event shall a prisoner be prohibited from bringing a
civil action or appealing a civil or criminal judgment for the
reason that the prisoner has no assets and no means by which
to pay the initial partial filing fee.
According to this statute — which is part of the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”) — prisoners who are granted IFP status on appeal are not excused from paying
the appellate filing fee altogether, as is the case for non-prisoner IFP appellants. Instead,
a prisoner who is granted IFP status is merely granted permission to pay the appellate
filing fee in installments, rather than paying the entire amount in advance.
Henderson v. Norris, 129 F.3d 481, 484-85 (8th Cir. 1997); cf. Ashley v. Dilworth, 147
F.3d 715, 716 (8th Cir. 1998) (“The purpose of the [PLRA] was to require all prisonerlitigants to pay filing fees in full, with the only issue being whether the inmate pays the
entire filing fee at the initiation of the proceeding or in installments over a period of
time”). Section 1915(b)(1) requires prisoner IFP applicants to pay an initial partial filing
fee at the outset of the appeal, and § 1915(b)(2) requires that the remaining balance be
paid in installments through regular deductions from the prisoner’s trust account.
In this case, the “Certificate” section of Munt’s IFP application provides
information derived from his inmate trust account — as required by § 1915(a)(2) — and
shows that the amount of his average monthly deposits during the preceding six-month
period was $155.80, while his average monthly balance during the same period was
$85.03. See ECF No. 130 at 7. Because the average monthly deposits exceeds the
average monthly balance, Munt’s initial partial filing fee for his appeal, under the
formula prescribed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), will be 20% of the average monthly
deposits, or $31.16. This initial partial filing fee is due immediately. If Munt elects to
pursue his appeal, the remaining balance of the $505.00 appellate filing fee will have to
be paid in later installments, and prison officials will be authorized to deduct funds from
Munt’s trust account, as provided by § 1915(b)(2). Munt will be required to pay this
filing fee regardless of the outcome of his appeal.
Finally, although the Court remains satisfied that this action was properly
dismissed, Munt’s current appeal is not “frivolous” as that term has been defined by the
Supreme Court. Accordingly, Munt’s appeal is found to be taken “in good faith” for
purposes 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) and Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3), and his IFP application
will be granted.
Based on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT
IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
The initial partial filing fee for the appeal in this matter is calculated to be
$31.16. That amount is due immediately.
Plaintiff Joel Marvin Munt must pay the unpaid balance ($473.84) of the
statutory filing fee for this action in the manner prescribed by 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(2), and the Clerk of Court shall provide notice of this
requirement to the authorities at the institution where Munt is confined.
Subject to these requirements, Munt’s application to proceed in forma
pauperis on appeal [ECF No. 130] is GRANTED.
s/Susan Richard Nelson
SUSAN RICHARD NELSON
United States District Judge
Dated: April 16, 2018
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