GOETSCH v. Wi Dept. of Corr. et al

Filing 4

Order on ifp request: Petitioner request for ifp denied. Clerk is directed to close file. (elc),(ps)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FO R THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN --------------------------------------------C H A D GOETSCH, ORDER Petitioner, 0 9 - cv -2 2 8 - b b c v. W I DEPT. OF CORR., JO H N BETT, Dr. RUBIN-ASH, JA N ET WALSH, LAETITIA LEY, M IK E VANDENBROOK, G R EG O R Y GRAMS, SGT SHIMPACH, an d JON FRANK, R espo nd ents. --------------------------------------------Petition er Chad Goetsch, a prisoner at Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, W isconsin, has submitted a proposed civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. He asks for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and has supported his request with a copy of his sixm on th trust fund account statement. I have examined a copy of this statement and reviewed th is court's own financial records. From these documents, I conclude that petitioner has not been paying the debts he incurred under the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act in co n n ectio n with two other lawsuits he filed previously in this district, Goetsch v. Berge, 00- 1 C -20 7-S and Goetsch v. Berge, 02-C-227-S. Therefore, petitioner is not entitled to proceed in forma pauperis in this action at this time. In case no. 00-C-207-S, petitioner paid an initial partial payment of the filing fee in th e amount of $15.40 on April 25, 2000 and in case no. 02-C-227-S, he paid a $16.56 in itial partial payment on April 29, 2002. In orders dated April 26, 2000 and May 1, 2002, Judge Shabaz acknowledged receipt of the initial partial payments and directed that the rem ain der of the $150 filing fees be deducted from petitioner's account according to 28 U .S.C . 1915(b)(2). Although petitioner continued to make regular payments in his cases follow ing entry of Judge Shabaz's orders, the last payments this court received from him w e re on April 2, 2003. Petitioner has outstanding balances in case nos. 00-C-207-S and 02C -22 7-S of $56.29 and $43.80, respectively. He will need to get his payments up to date before he is allowed to proceed in forma pauperis in this case or in any new case that he may f i le . 28 U.S.C. 1915(b)(2) provides that "after payment of the initial partial filing fee, th e prisoner shall be required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding m onth's income credited to the prisoner's account . . . ." If the prisoner then files additional com plaints or appeals, the amount owed increases as well. For example, when petitioner filed his complaint in case no. 00-C-207-S and paid the initial partial payment, he owed 20 percent of his income to pay the remaining balance of the $150 filing fee. Two years later, 2 w h en petitioner filed his complaint in case no. 02-C-227-S, he became obligated to pay 40 p ercen t of his monthly income for both of the $150 filing fees. See Newlin v. Helman, 123 F .3 d 429, 436 (7th Cir. 1997), rev'd on other grounds by Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025 (7th Cir. 2000) and Walker v. O'Brien, 216 F.3d 626 (7th Cir. 2000) (fees for filing more than one lawsuit or appeal accumulate). The trust fund account statement petitioner subm itted in this case reveals he has not been paying in the manner described above. In Lucien v. DeTella, 141 F.3d 773 (7th Cir. 1998), the Court of Appeals for the S even th Circuit cautioned prisoner litigants to keep a watchful eye on their accounts and in su re that amounts owed under the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act are withdrawn on a m o n th ly basis. "If in a given month the prison fails to make the required distribution from th e trust account, the prisoner should notice this and refrain from spending funds on p erso n al items until they can be applied properly." Id. at 776. Nonpayment of obligations a prisoner incurs under the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act for any reason other than destitutio n is to be understood as a voluntary relinquishment of the prisoner's right to file fu tu re suits in forma pauperis, just as if the prisoner had a history of frivolous litigation. T hurm an v. Gramley, 97 F.3d 185, 188 (7th Cir. 1996). From the statement petitioner filed in this case, it is clear that petitioner is in arrears for the total amount of his outstanding balance of $100.09. The chart below illustrates the calculation performed by the court in reviewing petitioner's financial statement. The first 3 colum n shows the month in which petitioner received income; the second column shows the am ou nt of his monthly income; the third column shows the amount petitioner owed, which is 40% of the previous month's income; the fourth column shows the amount of petitioner's m o n th ly payments; and the last column shows the minimum amount I am able to determine petition er owes. (Although petitioner's trust fund account statement covers a six-month perio d from October 2008 to April 2009, the chart ends in January 2009 because that is w hen I am able to determine that the amount of income petitioner owed exceeded the ou tstan ding balance.) Month I n co m e A m o un t O w ed O c to ber 2008 N ov em ber 2008 D ecem ber 2008 Jan uary 2009 T O TA L $ 1 0 .5 1 $ 4 0 8.3 5 $ 6 5 .8 1 $ 1 5 9.1 4 $0 $0 $ 6 5 .8 1 $ 1 5 9.1 4 $ 1 6 4.5 2 $ 7 6 .6 4 $0 $ 7 6 .6 4 $ 4 1 .7 2 $ 1 9 1.6 0 $ 1 6 .6 9 $0 $0 $ 1 6 .6 9 Amount Paid A m ou n t Still Due 4 A s soon as this court is notified that petitioner has paid the outstanding balance of $100 .09 for the debts he incurred in case nos. 00-C-207-S and 02-C-227-S, petitioner may renew his request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this case. ORDER IT IS ORDERED that petitioner's request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is D EN IED . Further, IT IS ORDERED that until petitioner has paid the debts he incurred under the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act in connection with the filing fees in Goetsch v. Berge, 00 -C-20 7-S and Goetsch v. Berge, 02-C-227-S, he may not apply for leave to proceed in form a pauperis in any future action in this district except under the circumstances permitted u nd er 28 U.S.C. 1915(g). As soon as this court is notified that petitioner's payments for the fees in his earlier cases are up to date, petitioner may renew his request for leave to pro ceed in forma pauperis in this case. 5 Fina lly, IT IS ORDERED that the clerk is directed to close this file. E n tered this 6 t h day of May, 2009. B Y THE COURT: /s/ _ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ B AR B AR A B. CRABB D istrict Judge 6

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