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Pooler v. Superintendent, Food Administration

United States District Court, W.D. New York

February 27, 2018

KEITH POOLER, Plaintiff,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT, FOOD ADMINISTRATION, and HEAD COOK, Defendants.

          ORDER

          William M. Skretny, United States District Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Keith Pooler, a prisoner confined at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility, submitted to this Court a pro se complaint asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Docket Item 1. The Plaintiff has not paid the filing fee or moved for permission to proceed in forma pauperis (that is, as someone who should have the prepayment of the ordinary filing fee waived because he or she cannot afford it).

         As set forth below, the Clerk of Court is ordered to administratively terminate this action. If the Plaintiff wishes to reopen this case, he must notify this Court in writing within 30 days of the date of this Order and must include either (1) a properly supported motion to proceed in forma pauperis, along with the required certification of the Plaintiff's inmate trust fund account and authorization form, or (2) the $350.00 filing fee and the $50.00 administrative fee ($400.00 total).

         DISCUSSION

         A party commencing a civil action in this Court ordinarily must pay a $350 filing fee and a $50 administrative fee.[1] See 28 U.S.C. § 1914; Judicial Conference Schedule of Fees, District Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule;[2] Western District of New York, District Court Schedule of Fees.[3] If a “prisoner” (as defined in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(h)) wishes to commence a civil action, the prisoner must either (1) pay those fees or (2) obtain permission to proceed in forma pauperis, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

         I. REQUIREMENTS FOR IN FORMA PAUPERIS APPLICATION

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (April 26, 1996), which amended 28 U.S.C. § 1915, established certain requirements that a prisoner must meet to proceed in forma pauperis. Those requirements are summarized below.

         A. Supporting Affidavit or Affirmation

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), a prisoner seeking to bring a civil action in forma pauperis must submit an affidavit or affirmation detailing the prisoner's assets and liabilities and swearing under oath that the prisoner is unable to pay the $350 filing fee. A motion to proceed in forma pauperis should be supported by such an affidavit or affirmation filed at the same time as the complaint. The United States District Court for the Western District of New York has made available a form motion to proceed in forma pauperis with supporting affirmation[4] that is designed to help pro se litigants (such as the Plaintiff here) comply with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).

         B. Certification of Inmate Trust Fund Account

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2), a prisoner seeking to proceed in forma pauperis also must submit a certified copy of the prisoner's inmate trust fund account statement (or an institutional equivalent) for the six months immediately before the prisoner's complaint was filed. The prisoner must obtain this certified account statement from the appropriate official at each correctional facility where the prisoner was confined during that six-month period. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2). Alternatively, the prisoner may have prison officials complete and sign the “Prison Certification Section” of the Court's form motion referred to above. See note 4, above. In the “Prison Certification Section, ” prison officials provide the information in the prisoner's trust fund account statement required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2).

         C. Authorization Form

         A prisoner seeking to proceed in forma pauperis also must submit a signed authorization form, [5] permitting the institution in which the prisoner is confined to pay- over time, if necessary-the $350 filing fee from the prisoner's trust fund account (or institutional equivalent). See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)-(4). In other words, even if the prisoner is granted in forma pauperis status, the prisoner must pay the full $350 filing fee in installments. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)-(2). The initial payment will be 20% of the average monthly deposits to the prisoner's account or 20% of the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account for the six-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint, whichever is greater. See 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915(b)(1). For each month after that, as long as the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10.00, the agency having custody of the prisoner will deduct from the prisoner's ...


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