HINES v. LANIGAN
OPINION. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 5/5/2017. (rtm, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
GARY M. LANIGAN,
Civ. No. 17-2864 (NLH)
South Woods State Prison
215 Burlington Road
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Plaintiff Pro se
HILLMAN, District Judge
Plaintiff Eric Hines, a prisoner confined at South Woods
State Prison in Bridgeton, New Jersey at the time of filing,
seeks to bring this civil action in forma pauperis, without
prepayment of fees or security.
At the outset, the Court notes that Plaintiff has not
submitted a complaint.
Though he submitted a cover letter,
copies of several grievances and an application to proceed in
forma pauperis, he has failed to submit a complaint.
result, the Court will administratively terminate this action.
If Plaintiff wishes to proceed with this civil action, he must
submit a complaint which states his grounds for relief.
Civ. P. 3 (“[a] civil action is commenced by filing a complaint
with the court.”); Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (complaint must contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader
is entitled to relief”).
Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 54.3, the Clerk shall not be
required to enter any suit, file any paper, issue any process,
or render any other service for which a fee is prescribed,
unless the fee is paid in advance.
Under certain circumstances,
however, this Court may permit an indigent plaintiff to proceed
in forma pauperis.
The entire fee to be paid in advance of filing a civil
complaint is $400.
That fee includes a filing fee of $350 plus
an administrative fee of $50, for a total of $400.
who is granted in forma pauperis status will, instead, be
assessed a filing fee of $350 and will not be responsible for
the $50 administrative fee.
A prisoner who is denied in forma
pauperis status must pay the full $400, including the $350
filing fee and the $50 administrative fee, before the complaint
will be filed.
Title 28 U.S.C. § 1915, establishes certain financial
requirements for prisoners who are attempting to bring a civil
action in forma pauperis.
Under § 1915, a prisoner seeking to
bring a civil action in forma pauperis must submit an affidavit,
including a statement of all assets and liabilities, which
states that the prisoner is unable to pay the fee. 28 U.S.C. §
The prisoner also must submit a certified copy of
his inmate trust fund account statement(s) for the six-month
period immediately preceding the filing of his complaint. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2).
The prisoner must obtain this certified
statement from the appropriate official of each correctional
facility at which he was or is confined during such six-month
If the prisoner is granted in forma pauperis status, the
prisoner must pay the full amount of the $350 filing fee, in
installments, as follows. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
In each month
that the amount in the prisoner’s account exceeds $10.00, until
the $350.00 filing fee is paid, the agency having custody of the
prisoner shall assess, deduct from the prisoner’s account, and
forward to the Clerk of the Court an installment payment equal
to 20% of the preceding month’s income credited to the
prisoner’s account. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
Plaintiff may not have known when he submitted his filing
that he must pay the filing fee, and that even if the full
filing fee, or any part of it, has been paid, the Court must
dismiss the case if it finds that the action: (1) is 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (in forma
pauperis actions); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (dismissal of
actions in which prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
defendant); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (dismissal of prisoner actions
brought with respect to prison conditions).
If the Court
dismisses the case for any of these reasons, § 1915 does not
suspend installment payments of the filing fee or permit the
prisoner to get back the filing fee, or any part of it, that has
already been paid.
If the prisoner has, on three or more prior occasions while
incarcerated, brought in federal court an action or appeal that
was dismissed on the grounds that it was frivolous or malicious,
or that it failed to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, he cannot bring another action in forma pauperis unless
he is in imminent danger of serious physical injury. 28 U.S.C. §
In this action, though Plaintiff submitted a six month
account statement, that statement was not certified by an
appropriate prison official.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2).
in a certification and attached copies of inmate grievances he
filed at the prison, Plaintiff suggests that prison officials
have refused to provide him with a certified statement.
Plaintiff has generally certified that prison officials are
ignoring his requests, the Court will require more precise
Specifically, Plaintiff must provide a
certification specifying the names and titles of authorized
prison officials whom he approached with requests for a
certified copy of his account statement for the six month period
immediately preceding the filing of the Complaint; the dates of
these requests; and the reasons these authorized prison
officials gave to Plaintiff in connection with their decisions
to decline his requests.
Upon being presented with Plaintiff’s
certification to that effect, this Court would be in the
position to determine whether it should excuse Plaintiff’s
failure to obtain an authorized prison official’s signature, or
whether the Court should conduct an additional inquiry into this
For the reasons set forth above, the Clerk of the Court will
be ordered to administratively terminate this action, without
filing the submitted papers or assessing a filing fee. 1
Such an administrative termination is not a “dismissal” for
purposes of the statute of limitations, and if the case is reopened pursuant to the terms of the accompanying Order, it is
not subject to the statute of limitations time bar if it was
originally submitted timely. See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266
(1988) (prisoner mailbox rule); Papotto v. Hartford Life & Acc.
Ins. Co., 731 F.3d 265, 275-76 (3d Cir. 2013) (collecting cases
Plaintiff will be granted leave to apply to re-open within 45
An appropriate Order follows.
Dated: May 5, 2017
At Camden, New Jersey
s/ Noel L. Hillman
NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
and explaining that a District Court retains jurisdiction over,
and can re-open, administratively closed cases).
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