Lee v. Shelby County Criminal Court
ORDER DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT AND TO COMPLY WITH 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)(1)-(2) OR PAY THE ENTIRE $400 CIVIL FILING FEE. Signed by Judge James D. Todd on 2/21/17. (Todd, James)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
JARQUEZ SIGEARS LEE,
SHELBY COUNTY CRIMINAL COURT, )
ORDER DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT
AND TO COMPLY WITH 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)(1)-(2) OR
PAY THE ENTIRE $400 CIVIL FILING FEE
On February 10, 2017, Plaintiff Jarquez Sigears Lee, booking number 16121860, an
inmate at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Complex in Memphis, Tennessee, filed a pro
se letter which the Court has construed as a complaint for violation of his civil rights,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff did not pay the $400 civil filing fee or
submit an application to proceed in forma pauperis and a certified copy of his inmate trust
account for the last six months, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”),
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b).
“Pro se complaints are to be held ‘to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers,’ and should therefore be liberally construed.” Williams, 631 F.3d at 383
(quoting Martin v. Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). Pro se litigants, however,
are not exempt from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wells v.
Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989); see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 F. App’x 608,
612, 613 (6th Cir. Jan. 31, 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro se complaint for failure to
comply with “unique pleading requirements” and stating “a court cannot ‘create a claim
which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading’” (quoting Clark v. Nat’l Travelers Life
Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975))); Payne v. Sec’y of Treas., 73 F. App’x 836,
837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua sponte dismissal of complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(2) and stating, “[n]either this court nor the district court is required to create Payne’s
claim for her”); cf. Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231 (2004) (“District judges have no
obligation to act as counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants.”).
In this case, Plaintiff asserts in his document that his right to due process has been
violated because he is being held “over the limit to be indicted on criminal charges.” (ECF
No. 1 at 1.) He names no specific defendants and includes few factual allegations, stating
only that the Shelby County Criminal Court has refused to grant his pro se motions for a
speedy indictment and trial or to dismiss the charges and order his release. Thus, Plaintiff’s
document is inadequate to state any claim on which relief may be granted.
Plaintiff is ORDERED to file an amended complaint within 30 days after the date of
this order. The text of the amended complaint must identify each defendant sued, set forth
the specific causes of action that are asserted against each defendant, and allege sufficient
facts to support each of those claims. If Plaintiff fails to timely file an amended complaint
the Court will dismiss the case without further notice for failure to prosecute, pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b).
Under the PLRA, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b), a prisoner bringing a civil action must pay
the filing fee required by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). Although the obligation to pay the fee accrues
at the moment the case is filed, see McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 605 (6th Cir.
1997), partially overruled on other grounds by LaFountain v. Harry, 716 F.3d 944, 951 (6th
Cir. 2013), the PLRA provides the prisoner the opportunity to make a “down payment” of
a partial filing fee and pay the remainder in installments. Id. at 604. However, in order to
take advantage of the installment procedures, the prisoner must properly complete and submit
to the district court, along with the complaint, an in forma pauperis affidavit and a certified
copy of his trust account statement for the six months immediately preceding the filing of the
complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2).
As stated, Plaintiff has failed to pay the $400 filing fee or submit an in forma pauperis
affidavit and trust account statement in accordance with the PLRA. Therefore, Plaintiff is
also ORDERED to submit, within 30 days after the date of this order, either the entire $400
filing fee or a properly completed and executed application to proceed in forma pauperis and
a certified copy of his inmate trust account statement for the last six months. The Clerk is
directed to mail Plaintiff a copy of the prisoner in forma pauperis affidavit form along with
If Plaintiff timely submits the necessary financial information and the Court finds he
is indeed indigent, the Court will grant leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assess a filing
fee of $350 in accordance with the installment procedures of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). However,
if Plaintiff fails to comply with this order in a timely manner, the Court will deny leave to
proceed in forma pauperis, assess the entire $400 filing fee from his inmate trust account
without regard to the installment payment procedures, and dismiss the action without further
notice for failure to prosecute, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). McGore,
114 F.3d at 605.
If Plaintiff needs additional time to submit either an amended complaint or his
financial information, he may, within 30 days after the date of this order, file a motion for
an extension of time.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/ James D. Todd
JAMES D. TODD
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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