The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAN DUBOIS, District Judge
Plaintiff, a prisoner at the State Correctional Institution at
Graterford (S.C.I. Graterford), seeks to bring a civil action in
forma pauperis,*fn1 without prepayment of fees or security
therefor, asserting claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Prison
Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Pub.L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (April
26, 1996) (the "Act"), which amends 28 U.S.C. § 1915, establishes
certain financial requirements for prisoners who are attempting to bring
a civil action or file an appeal in forma pauperis.
Under the Act, a prisoner bringing a civil action in forma
pauperis must pay the full amount of the $150 filing fee. Pub.L.
No. 104-134 § 804(a)(3). The Act requires a prisoner seeking to
proceed in forma pauperis to submit a certified copy of his
inmate trust fund account statement for the 6-month period immediately
preceding the filing of his complaint so that the Court can determine how
the $150 filing fee will be paid. § 804(a)(1). The prisoner must
obtain this statement from the appropriate official of each prison at
which he was or is confined. Id. The Court must then "assess
and, when funds exist, collect, as a partial payment of any court fees
required by law, an initial partial filing fee 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.
. . ."*fn2 § 804(a)(3).
Plaintiff's inmate trust fund account statement for the 6-month period
immediately preceding the filing of his complaint shows average monthly
deposits of $10.83, average monthly balances of $10.49, and a current
balance of $16.71. Based upon this financial information, plaintiff is
assessed an initial partial filing fee of $2.16. The Superintendent or
other appropriate official at S.C.I. Graterford or at any prison at which
plaintiff may be incarcerated will be directed to deduct $2.16 from
plaintiff's inmate trust fund account, when such funds become available,
and forward that amount to the Clerk of the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Thereafter, each time the
balance in plaintiff's inmate trust fund account exceeds $10, an amount
no greater than twenty percent of the money credited to plaintiff's
account during the preceding month will be deducted and forwarded to the
Clerk of Court until the filing fee is paid.
Plaintiff may not have known when he brought this action that he must
pay the filing fee, and that even if the full filing fee, or any part of
it, has been paid, the Court must dismiss the case if it finds that the
action is: (1) frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. § 804(5). If the Court
dismisses the case for any of these reasons, the Act does not permit the
prisoner to get his filing fee back.
The Court grants plaintiff twenty (20) days from the date of this order
to decide whether he wants to proceed with this case. If by that time,
plaintiff decides not to proceed with the case, he need not pay the $150
For the foregoing reasons, this day of May, 2004, it is hereby ORDERED
1. The petition is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to its reassertion in
accordance with the terms of this order;
2. If plaintiff files with the Court within twenty (20) days from
the date of this order a notice that he wishes to proceed with this
action and thereby obligate himself to pay the $150 filing fee, this
action will be reinstated; and
3. The Clerk shall CLOSE this action ...