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Pawneeleggins v. Jared

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

December 5, 2019

ARDEN PAWNEELEGGINS, Plaintiff,
v.
JARED, KITCHEN BOSS AT THE MIKE DURFEE STATE PRISON; IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND 1915A SCREENING

          ROBERTO A. LANGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Arden Pawneeleggins, filed a pro se civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Doc. 1. Pawneeleggins alleges violations of the Eighth Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Id. at 4, 7. He filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis and his prisoner trust account. Docs. 2, 3. Originally, this court assessed Pawneeleggins a filing fee after granting him leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Doc. 5. Pawneeleggins did not pay the filing fee and this court entered judgment against him. Doc. 14. The judgment was appealed and reversed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Docs. 22, 23, 24. The Eighth Circuit found that this court abused its discretion when it assessed a filing fee to Pawneeleggins and dismissed the case for failure to pay. Id. This court now re-assesses Pawneeleggins's motion to proceed in forma pauperis and conducts a 1915 A screening of his complaint.

         I. Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         Pawneeleggins filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, Doc. 2, and a prisoner trust account report, Doc. 3, showing that he presently has a balance of negative $2.12. Doc. 3. His average monthly deposits for the past sixth months were $30.88 and his balance for the past six months was negative $4.30. Id. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), a prisoner who "brings a civil action or files an appeal in forma pauperis . . . shall be required to pay the full amount of a filing fee." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)." 'When an inmate seeks pauper status, the only issue is whether the inmate pays the entire fee at the initiation of the proceedings or over a period of time under an installment plan.'" Henderson v. Norris, 129 F.3d 481, 483 (8th Cir. 1997) (quoting McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997)).

         The initial partial filing fee that accompanies an installment plan is calculated according to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), which requires a payment of 20 percent of the greater of:

(A) the average monthly deposits to the prisoner's account; or
(B) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint or notice of appeal.

         Based on the information regarding Pawneeleggins's prisoner trust account, the court grants Pawneeleggins leave to proceed in forma pauperis and waives the initial partial filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4) ("In no event shall a prisoner be prohibited from bringing a civil action . . . for the reason that the prisoner has no assets and no means by which to pay the initial partial filing fee.").

         In order to pay his filing fee, Pawneeleggins must "make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The statute places the burden on the prisoner's institution to collect the additional monthly payments and forward them to the court as follows:

After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner shall be required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account. The agency having custody of the prisoner shall forward payments from the prisoner's account to the clerk of the court each time the amount in the account exceeds $ 10 until the filing fees are paid.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The installments will be collected pursuant to this procedure. The Clerk of Court will send a copy of this order to the appropriate financial official at Pawneeleggins's institution. Pawneeleggins remains responsible for the entire filing fee, as long as he is a prisoner. See In re Tyler, 110 F.3d 528, 529-30 (8th Cir. 1997).

         II. Allegations of Pawneeleggins's Complaint

         Pawneeleggins claims that he began his job in the Mike Durfee State Prison kitchen around December of 2018. Doc. 1 at 4. On December 11, 2018, he allegedly saw a therapist who looked at his swollen hand and wrote him a "no work order[.]" Id. He claims that the kitchen boss, Jared, was aware of his swollen hand and the "no work order" by email. Id.

         Pawneeleggins claims that even after being notified of the "no work order" he was consistently called down and asked why he wasn't at work. Id. On December 20, 2018, Pawneeleggins claims Officer Kauth[1] told him to go to work. Id. When Pawneeleggins showed up for work, a "red headed lady" said that they did not have a "no work order" on file. Id. Pawneeleggins refutes this claim and asserts that health services confirmed that he had a "no work order." Id. at 5; Doc. 1-1 at 4. On November 30, 2018, Pawneeleggins claims he was called to the office and told his "no work order" was from 2013 and he must go to work. Doc. 1 at 5. Pawneeleggins claims that he was threatened with a write up if he didn't go to work. Id. He asserts that write ups have a negative impact when an inmate comes up for parole. Id. Further, Pawneeleggins claims he has had two "no work orders," one from 2013 and the other from 2018. Id; Doc. 1-1 at 4.

         Pawneeleggins claims that the defendant was deliberately indifferent and failed to protect him. Id. at 4, 6. Further, he alleges a violation of the ADA. Id. at 7. He asserts that the defendant's behavior has injured him physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Id. at 5, 6. Pawneeleggins asks to be reimbursed for his medical expenses from his past and future claims and to receive $1 million for punitive damages, $500, 000 for compensatory damages, and $200, 000 for pain and suffering. Id. at 8. Further, Pawneeleggins asks the ...


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