STUKES v. COHEN et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Robert B. Kugler on 4/7/2017. (rtm, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civ. No. 17-2225 (RBK) (JS)
WARDEN GERALDINE COHEN, et al.,
ROBERT B. KUGLER, U.S.D.J.
Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. The filing fee for a civil complaint is $400.00. If a prisoner-plaintiff is proceeding in forma
pauperis, the fee is $350.00, subject to being paid in installments as described below.
A prisoner who seeks to bring a civil action in forma pauperis must submit an affidavit,
including a statement of all assets, which states that the prisoner is unable to pay the applicable
filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). The prisoner must also submit a certified copy of his
inmate trust fund account statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the filing of
his complaint. See id. § 1915(a)(2). The prisoner must obtain this statement from the appropriate
official of each prison at which he was or is confined. See id.; see also L.Civ.R. 81.2(b)
(“Whenever a Federal, State, or local prisoner submits a civil rights complaint . . . the prisoner
shall also submit an affidavit setting forth information which establishes that the prisoner is
unable to pay the fees and costs of the proceedings and shall further submit a certification signed
by an authorized officer of the institution certifying (1) the amount presently on deposit in the
prisoner’s prison account and, (2) the greatest amount on deposit in the prisoner’s prison account
during the six-month period prior to the date of the certification.”).
Even if a prisoner is granted in forma pauperis status, he must pay the full amount of the
filing fee of $350.00. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). In each month that the amount in the
prisoner’s account exceeds $10.00, the agency having custody of the prisoner shall assess, deduct
from the prisoner’s account, and forward to the Clerk of the Court, payment equal to 20 % of the
preceding month’s income credited to the prisoner’s account. See id. § 1915(b)(2). The
deductions will continue until the $350.00 filing fee is paid.
Even if the necessary fees are paid and the complaint is accepted for filing, the Court may
nevertheless immediately dismiss the case. The Court must review the complaint and dismiss it if
it finds that the action is: (1) frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. See id. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see also id. § 1915A(b).
If the plaintiff has, on three or more prior occasions while incarcerated, brought an action
or appeal in a court that was dismissed on any of the grounds listed above, he cannot bring
another action in forma pauperis unless he is in imminent danger of serious physical injury. See
id. § 1915(g).
In this case, plaintiff has not paid the $400.00 filing fee. Furthermore, plaintiff’s
application to proceed in forma pauperis will be denied without prejudice as it is incomplete.
Plaintiff has not included a six-month prisoner account statement certified by the appropriate
prison official. Accordingly, the Clerk will be ordered to administratively close the case. Plaintiff
may reopen this action, however, by either paying the filing fee or submitting a complete in
forma pauperis application.
DATED: April 7, 2017
s/Robert B. Kugler
ROBERT B. KUGLER
United States District Judge
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