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Seegrist v. Rapid City Police Department

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

January 9, 2020

DUSTIN SEEGRIST, Plaintiff,
v.
RAPID CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, KARL JEGERIS, Chief of Police at Rapid City Police Department, in his individual and official capacity; UNKNOWN POLICE OFFICER, Police Officer/ K-9 handler at Rapid City Police Department, in his individual and official capacity; and UNKNOWN K-9, K-9 at Rapid City Police Department, in his individual and official capacities; Defendants.

          ORDER

          JEFFREY L. VIKEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Dustin Seegrist filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging defendants violated his constitutional rights by allowing a Rapid City Police Department ("RCPD") dog to attack him. (Docket 1). He later filed an amended complaint. (Docket 5). Plaintiff is an inmate at the Pennington County Jail. Id. at p. 1. "He moved for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and filed a copy of his prisoner trust account. (Dockets 2 & 3). For the reasons given below, the court grants plaintiffs motion to proceed in forma pauperis and dismisses part of his amended complaint in the pro se prisoner screening process. The court appoints temporary counsel for plaintiff by separate order.

         1. In Forma Pauperis Status

         In support of his motion to proceed in forma pauperis, plaintiff filed an affidavit attesting to his indigency. (Docket 2). He states he is presently unemployed due to his incarceration and he has $25 in savings. Id. at pp. 1- 2. The court finds plaintiff is indigent and grants him leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, requires prisoners seeking to proceed in forma pauperis to make an initial partial filing fee payment when possible. Determination of the partial filing fee 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.

         In support of his motion, plaintiff provided a copy of his prisoner trust account report signed by an authorized prison official. (Docket 3). The report shows an average monthly deposit for the past six months of $1.43, an average monthly balance for the past six months of $0, and a current balance of $0. Id. In light of this information, the court finds plaintiff is not required to make an initial partial filing fee.

         To pay the full filing fee as required by law, plaintiff 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 Clerk of Court will send a copy of this order to the appropriate financial official at plaintiffs institution. Plaintiff will remain responsible for the entire filing fee as long as he is a prisoner, even if the case is dismissed. See In re Tyler, 110 F.3d 528, 529-30 (8th Cir. 1997).

         II. Prisoner Complaint Screening

         A. ...


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