Lockhart v. Hibma
ORDER signed by Judge J P Stadtmueller on 9/24/2020. #7 Plaintiff's Motion to Pay Initial Partial Filing Fee with Release Account Funds is GRANTED. Secretary of Wisconsin DOC to RELEASE $1.53 from Plaintiff's release account for payment of the IPFF in this matter. Plaintiff to ENSURE his IPFF is paid to the Clerk of Court by 10/15/2020. (cc: all counsel, via mail to Jermaine Lockhart and Warden at Waupun Correctional Institution) (jm)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
Case No. 20-CV-1355-JPS-JPS
C.O. BRITTANY HIBMA,
On September 11, 2020, the Court ordered Plaintiff to pay an initial
partial filing fee (“IPFF”) of $1.53. (Docket #6). On September 21, 2020,
Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration (Docket #7) that appears to be a
motion seeking the Court’s permission to use his release account to pay the
IPFF. The Court will treat it as such.
This Court has the authority to order disbursements from a
prisoner’s release account for payment of an IPFF. See, e.g., Doty v. Doyle,
182 F. Supp. 2d 750, 751 (E.D. Wis. 2002) (noting that “both the Wisconsin
Prison Litigation Reform Act…and the federal Prison Litigation Reform Act
[(“PLRA”)]…authorize the courts to order that…a prisoner’s release
account be made available [to pay an IPFF]”). However, this Court lacks the
authority—statutory or otherwise—to order that a prisoner may tap into
his release account to pay current (or future) litigation costs. Cf. Wilson v.
Anderson, No. 14-CV-0798, 2014 WL 3671878, at *3 (E.D. Wis. July 23, 2014)
(declining to order that a prisoner’s full filing fee be paid from his release
account, “[g]iven the [DOC’s] rationale for segregating funds into a release
account” and the absence of any statutory authority compelling the court
to do so).
Permitting a prisoner to invade a release account for litigation costs
could harm that prisoner’s likelihood of success post-incarceration, see Wis.
Admin. Code. § DOC 309.466 (stating that disbursements from a prisoner’s
release account are authorized “for purposes that will aid the inmate’s
reintegration into the community”), especially if the prisoner is particularly
litigious. As the Seventh Circuit has instructed, “like any other civil litigant,
[a prisoner] must decide which of [his] legal actions is important enough to
fund,” Lindell v. McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1111 (7th Cir. 2003); thus, if a
prisoner concludes that “the limitations on his funds prevent him from
prosecuting [a] case with the full vigor he wishes to prosecute it, he is free
to choose to dismiss it voluntarily and bring it at a later date.” Williams v.
Berge, No. 02-CV-10, 2002 WL 32350026, at *8 (W.D. Wis. Apr. 30, 2002).
While the Court will not permit Plaintiff to tap into his release
account for the entirety of his filing fee, or other litigation costs, it will grant
Plaintiff permission to use funds from that account solely for the purpose
of paying the IPFF. Plaintiff shall ensure that the IPFF of $1.53 is paid to the
Clerk of the Court on or before October 15, 2020.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion to pay his initial partial
filing fee with release account funds (Docket #7) be and the same is hereby
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Secretary of the Wisconsin
Department of Corrections or his designee shall release $1.53 from
Plaintiff’s release account for payment of the initial partial filing fee in this
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IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall ensure that his initial
partial filing fee is paid to the Clerk of the Court on or before October 15,
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that copies of this order be sent to the
officer in charge of the agency where Plaintiff is confined.
Dated at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this 24th day of September, 2020.
BY THE COURT:
J. P. Stadtmueller
U.S. District Judge
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