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Johnson v. Bentley

United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division

June 16, 2014

IRVING JOHNSON, #98316, A/K/A ERVIN RAWLS, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT BENTLEY, et al., Defendants.

RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

WALLACE CAPEL, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated at the Holman Correctional Facility, filed an application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis on June 9, 2014. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915, a prisoner may not bring a civil action or proceed on appeal in forma pauperis if he “has, on 3 or more occasions, while incarcerated or detained in any facility, brought an action or appeal in a court of the United States that was dismissed on the grounds that it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury.”[1] 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).

I. DISCUSSION

Court records establish that Plaintiff, while incarcerated or detained, has on at least three occasions had civil actions and/or appeals dismissed as frivolous, as malicious, for failure to state a claim and/or for asserting claims against defendants immune from suit under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The cases on which the court relies in finding a violation of § 1915(g) are: (1) Rawls v. Johnson, Civil Action No. 1:92-CV-184-RV (S.D. Ala. 1992); (2) Rawls v. Jacobs, Civil Action No. 1:93-CV-437-BH (S.D. Ala. 1994); (3) Rawls v. Lyons, Civil Action No. 1:94-CV-662-CB (S.D. Ala. 1996); (4) Rawls v. Ferrell, Civil Action No. 1:94-CV-773-RV (S.D. Ala. 1995); and (5) Rawls v. McGill, Civil Action No. 1:95-CV-122-AH (S.D. Ala. 1995).

“General allegations that are not grounded in specific facts which indicate that serious physical injury is imminent are not sufficient to invoke the exception to § 1915(g).” Niebla v. Walton Correctional Inst., 2006 WL 2051307, *2 (N.D. Fla. July 20, 2006) (citing Martin v. Shelton, 319 F.3d 1048, 1050 (8th Cir. 2003)). “The plaintiff must allege and provide specific fact allegations of ongoing serious physical injury, or a pattern of misconduct evidencing the likelihood of imminent serious physical injury, and vague allegations of harm and unspecific references to injury are insufficient.” Id. (citing Martin, 319 F.3d at 1050 and White v. State of Colorado, 157 F.3d 1226, 1231 (10th Cir. 1998) (internal quotations omitted). The “imminent danger” exception is available “for genuine emergencies, ” “where time is pressing” and “a threat . . . is real and proximate.” Lewis v. Sullivan, 279 F.3d 526, 531 (7th Cir. 2002).

The court has carefully reviewed the claims in the instant action. Even construing all allegations in favor of Plaintiff, his claims do not entitle him to avoid the bar of § 1915(g) because they do not allege nor indicate that he was “ under imminent danger of serious physical injury” when he filed this cause of action as required to meet the imminent danger exception to the application of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Medberry v. Butler, 185 F.3d 1189 (11th Cir. 1999). See Abdul-Akbar v. McKelvie, 239 F.3d 307, 315 (3d Cir. 2001) (“By using the term ‘imminent, ’ Congress indicated that it wanted to include a safety valve for the ‘three strikes’ rule to prevent impending harms, not those harms that had already occurred.”).

Based on the foregoing, the court concludes that Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is due to be denied and this case dismissed without prejudice for Plaintiff’s failure to pay the requisite filing and administrative fees upon the initiation of this cause of action. Dupree v. Palmer, 284 F.3d 1234, 1236 (11th Cir. 2002) (emphasis in original) (“[T]he proper procedure is for the district court to dismiss the complaint without prejudice when it denies the prisoner leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to the provisions of § 1915(g)” because the prisoner “must pay the filing fee at the time he initiates the suit.”).

II. CONCLUSION

Accordingly, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that:

1. The motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis filed by Plaintiff (Doc. No. 2) be DENIED; 2. This case be DISMISSED without prejudice for Plaintiff’s failure to pay the full filing and administrative fees upon the initiation of this case.

It is further ORDERED that the parties are DIRECTED to file any objections to the said Recommendation on or before June 30, 2014. Any objections filed must specifically identify the findings in the Magistrate Judge’s Recommendation to which the party is objecting. Frivolous, conclusive, or general objections will not be considered by the District Court. The parties are advised that this Recommendation is not a final order of the court and, therefore, it is not appealable.

Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations in the Magistrate Judge’s report shall bar the party from a de novo determination by the District Court of issues covered in the report and shall bar the party from attacking on appeal factual findings in the report accepted or adopted by the District Court except upon grounds of plain error or manifest injustice. Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404 (5thCir. 1982); see Stein v. Reynolds Securities, Inc., 667 F.2d 33 (11th Cir. 1982); see also Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206 (11thCir. 1981) (en banc), adopting as binding precedent all of the decisions of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to the close of business on September 30, 1981.


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