Castilllo-Alvarez v. Hawkinson et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER Remanding 9 Report and Recommendation for further proceedings consistent with this Order. (Written Opinion) Signed by Chief Judge John R. Tunheim on March 1, 2017. (DML)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Civil No. 16-3007 (JRT/LIB)
JUAN HUMBERTO CASTILLO-ALVAREZ,
AND ORDER ON MAGISTRATE
JUDGE’S REPORT AND
SHERIFF ROGER HAWKINSON and
GOVERNOR TIM PAWLENTY,
Juan Humberto Castillo-Alvarez, Reg. No. 235086, MCF-Stillwater, 970
Pickett Street North, Bayport, MN 55003, pro se.
Plaintiff Juan Humberto Castillo-Alvarez, currently a state prisoner, filed a civil
rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on September 7, 2016. (Compl., Sept. 7, 2016,
Docket No. 1.) Instead of paying the filing fee, Castillo-Alvarez filed an application to
proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). (IFP Appl., Sept. 7, 2016, Docket No. 2; see also
Second IFP Appl., Sept. 7, 2016, Docket No. 3.)
28 U.S.C. § 1915, under which prisoners granted IFP status are not excused altogether
from paying the court’s statutory filing fee. § 1915(b)(1). Rather, if funds exist, a
prisoner granted IFP status must pre-pay an initial portion of the filing fee, which is
calculated based on either the average monthly deposits or the average monthly balance
in the prisoner’s account. Id. Then, the statute provides that the remainder of the filing
fee be deducted from the prisoner’s account in installments over time. § 1915(b)(2). In
order for the Court to calculate the amount due as an initial filing fee, the IFP application
must include a “certified copy of the trust fund account statement (or institutional
equivalent) for the prisoner for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of
the complaint . . . obtained from the appropriate official of each prison at which the
prisoner is or was confined.” § 1915(a)(2).
Castillo-Alvarez did attach a financial record to his IFP application, but this was a
“Compensation Statement,” for September 1, 2016, showing compensation and
deductions for what the Court presumes to be one pay period as well as year-to-date
figures. (IFP Appl, Ex. 1.) But Castillo-Alvarez did not include a “certified copy of the
trust fund account statement (or institutional equivalent) . . . for the 6-month period
immediately preceding the filing of the complaint.” Without seeing details of deposits
into and balances of Castillo-Alvarez’s prison account for the past six months, the Court
cannot calculate the initial filing fee that is due.
On November 10, 2016, United States Magistrate Judge Janie S. Mayeron ordered
Castillo-Alvarez to provide, within 30 days, “an amended IFP application that satisfies
the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2) and pay the initial partial filing fee required
by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).” (Order at 4, Nov. 10, 2016, Docket No. 7.) After CastilloAlvarez failed to comply, on December 21, 2016, United States Magistrate Judge Leo I.
Brisbois 1 issued a Report and Recommendation (R&R) recommending summary
The case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Brisbois upon the retirement of Magistrate
dismissal for failure to prosecute pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b). (R&R at 2, Dec. 21,
2016, Docket No. 9.)
After the issuance of the R&R and within the fourteen-day window for objections
available under Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2) and D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(1), Castillo-Alvarez
mailed a handwritten letter to the Court – which the Court construes as an objection to the
R&R – requesting that the Court “accept his filing fee” and explaining that CastilloAlvarez has limited English proficiency and little understanding of “the rules and
procedures of the court.” (Obj. to R&R at 1, Jan. 3, 2017, Docket No. 10.) The letter
states that Castillo-Alvarez “misinterpreted the court’s request to proceed in forma
pauperis. Plaintiff can afford $5.00 dollar filing fee. But he is unable to afford the full
Plaintiff docketing fee as request[ed] for filing.” (Id. at 2.) Along with the objections,
Castillo-Alvarez sent five dollars to the Court. (Id. at 3.)
Although Castillo-Alvarez did not strictly comply with the Magistrate Judge’s
Order directing him to provide an amended IFP application, because Castillo-Alvarez has
provided some money to pay the initial filing fee and Castillo-Alvarez misunderstood the
Magistrate Judge’s Order dated November 30, 2016, the Court finds that it is in the
interests of justice to allow Castillo-Alvarez an additional thirty (30) days to attempt to
provide the necessary information.
Based on the foregoing, and all the files, records, and proceedings herein, the
Court SUSTAINS Castillo-Alvarez’s Objections to the Report and Recommendation
[Docket No. 10].
The Court REJECTS the Report and Recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge [Docket No. 9] and REMANDS for further proceedings consistent with
this Order. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Within thirty (30) days of the date of this Order, Castillo-Alvarez send to
the Court a certified copy of the trust fund account statements (or institutional
equivalent) for the six months before he filed the Complaint. Castillo-Alvarez should
submit trust fund account statements, not compensation statements, if available.
Once the Court receives the proper documentation, the Court will notify
Castillo-Alvarez of the remaining amount of the initial filing fee due, if any. The five
dollars ($5.00) Castillo-Alvarez has already provided will count toward this initial filing
If Castillo-Alvarez fails to provide the necessary financial documentation
within thirty (30) days, the Complaint will be dismissed without prejudice for failure to
prosecute pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).
DATED: March 1, 2017
at Minneapolis, Minnesota.
JOHN R. TUNHEIM
United States District Court
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