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Butler v. Hartlaub

January 27, 2009

ANDRE D. BUTLER, PLAINTIFF
v.
WILLIAM HARTLAUB ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Yvette Kane, Chief Judge United States District Court

(Chief Judge Kane)

MEMORANDUM

Before the Court is Plaintiff Andre Butler's ("Butler") pro se prisoner complaint and motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. Nos. 2, 7.) Butler has submitted all necessary forms in support of his application and the motion is ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, the motion will be granted.

I. DISCUSSION

A. Proceedings In Forma Pauperis

The federal in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, "is designed to ensure that indigent litigants have meaningful access to the federal courts." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989) (citation omitted). Leave to proceed in forma pauperis is based upon a showing of indigence. Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1085 n.5 (3d Cir. 1995) (citing Roman v. Jeffes, 904 F.2d 192, 194 n.1 (3d Cir. 1990)). A plaintiff seeking leave must file an affidavit of poverty with the court, disclosing every source of income, financial account, and valuable property, as well as the amount of any financial support of dependent persons. The court is then required to conduct a thorough review of the affidavit and, provided it is satisfied that the plaintiff is without sufficient resources to pay the costs and fees of the proceeding, grants leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Id.

In his affidavit, Butler indicates that he is incarcerated. (Doc. No. 7.) He is not presently employed at his institution of incarceration, and further swears that he does not own any cash or other property and receives no money from any source. (Doc. No. 7 ¶ 4-5.) The report on his running inmate trust fund account shows a negative balance of 11 dollars for the past 6 months. (Doc. No. 8.) Based upon these figures, the Court finds that Butler is without sufficient resources to pay the costs and fees of this proceeding. Accordingly, the Court will grant Butler's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

B. Merits Analysis Under 1915(e)(2) & 1915A

Having determined that Butler is entitled to proceed in forma pauperis, the court is next required to assess the sufficiency of Butler's complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) before service of process. Section 1915(e)(2) states:

Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that-

(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or

(B) the action or appeal-

(i) is frivolous or malicious;

(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may ...


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