United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
ANDREW J. OSTROWSKI d/b/a PENNSYLVANIA RIGHTS LAW NETWORK,  Plaintiff,
AMERICAN SYSTEM OF JUSTICE, et al., Defendants.
MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge
the court is the plaintiff's appeal from a June 7, 2017
Order issued by Magistrate Judge Joseph F. Saporito, Jr.
(Doc. 9). This Order temporarily disposed of the
plaintiff's second motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis (“IFP”).
(Doc. 8). Based on the foregoing, the
plaintiff's appeal is DISMISSED and Judge Saporito's
June 7, 2017 Order is AFFIRMED.
Saporito's June 7, 2017 Order did not address the
substance of the plaintiff's request to file IFP.
Instead, the plaintiff's second motion was dismissed
without prejudice and the plaintiff was instructed to either
complete a proper application to proceed IFP so that Judge
Saporito could thoroughly address the plaintiff's IFP
request or pay the requisite filing fee. This was the second
time the plaintiff had been advised by court order that a
proper form would be required to proceed IFP. (See
Doc. 5). The plaintiff was granted fourteen (14)
days to comply with the Order. Instead of complying, on June
20, 2017, thirteen days after Judge Saporito's issuance
of the Order, the plaintiff filed the current appeal,
including a brief in support and declaration. (Docs.
plaintiff's appeal is both frivolous and premature. The
first two arguments listed in the plaintiff's brief
suggest that Judge Saporito's Order disposed of the
substance of the plaintiff's second motion to proceed
IFP, which it clearly did not. In his third and final
argument, the plaintiff appears confused by Judge
Saporito's reliance on 28 U.S.C. §1915 (the
“IFP statute”) because he is not a prisoner.
Judge Saporito's citation to and reliance on the IFP
statute is clearly proper.
statute states, in part:
[A]ny court of the United States may authorize the
commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or
proceeding, civil or criminal, or appeal therein, without
prepayment of fees or security therefor, by a person who
submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets
such prisoner possesses that the person is unable to pay such
fees or give security therefor.
28 U.S.C. §1915(a)(1). This provision refers to both
“person[s]” and “prisoner[s], ”
which, to a layman, might indicate that it applies only to
prisoners. A brief review of the law would reveal that this
language is the result of the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat.
1321 (1996). See generally Abdul-Akbar v. McKelvie,
239 F.3d 307, 311-312 (2001) (discussing the PLRA and
describing its enactment as a response to the heavy volume of
frivolous prisoner litigation). More importantly, this
provision has consistently been interpreted to apply to both
prisoners and nonprisoners despite the inconsistent language
that references the PLRA. E.g., Andrews v.
Cervantes, 493 F.3d 1047, 1051 n. 1 (9th Cir. 2007);
Lister v. Dep't of Treasury, 408 F.3d 1309, 1312
(10th Cir. 2005); Martinez v. Kristie Kleaners,
Inc., 364 F.3d 1305, 1306 n. 1 (11th Cir. 2004);
Haynes v. Scott, 116 F.3d 137, 140 (5th Cir. 1997);
Beaver v. Union Cty. Pa., No. 4:13-CV-2542,
2014 WL 6983242, at *2 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 9, 2014); see
also Vora v. Michaels, 613 F. App'x 132
(2015) (applying 28 U.S.C. §1915 to a nonprisoner). As
such, Judge Saporito's Order, which conforms to the
requirements of 28 U.S.C. §1915, is clearly proper even
though the plaintiff is not a prisoner.
plaintiff's appeal is, at this time, premature. The court
will dismiss his appeal so that he may thoroughly review
Judge Saporito's Order, while also providing the
plaintiff with additional time to comply. The plaintiff has
provided this court with a declaration stating, in summary
form, his financials. (Doc. 11). This information
was not presented to Judge Saporito at the time the
plaintiff's second motion was pending. While this
information is helpful, it does not comply with Judge
Saporito's June 7, 2017 Order. The plaintiff should
comply with Judge Saporito's instructions and is reminded
that, while there is a fundamental right to access the
courts, the right to proceed in forma pauperis in a
civil case is a privilege, not a constitutional right.
Shahin v. Sec'y of Del., 532 F. App'x 123
(3d Cir. 2013) (per curiam). As such, it is subject
to limitations. Abdul-Akbar, 239 F.3d at 316.
Accordingly, the matter will be remanded back to Judge
Saporito for further proceedings. An appropriate order shall
 In his complaint caption, the
plaintiff Andrew J. Ostrowski has listed himself as a
plaintiff in this action, both individually and “on
behalf of every American.” In addition, he has included
as plaintiffs his organization, the Pennsylvania Civil Rights
Law Network, and “The Body of Christ, ” a common
religious reference that includes all persons belonging to
the Christian faith and/or church as a collective group. The
plaintiff's organization, presuming it is a legitimate
one, and the allegorical entity referenced in his complaint
may not proceed in forma pauperis. Rowland v. California
Men's Colony, 506 U.S. 194, 202-203 (1993) (holding
only natural persons may proceed in forma pauperis). If the
plaintiff seeks to represent his organization and an
allegorical entity in this court, he is reminded that
“[a]n attorney suspended for more than three (3) months
. . . may not resume practice until reinstated” by the
court. LR 83.26.1. Further, any misconduct, as defined by the
local rules, will subject the attorney to possible
disciplinary action. LR 83.23.1.
 In several instances throughout his
briefing the plaintiff misidentifies Judge Saporito as the
“Magistrate” or “Magistrate
Saporito.” The title magistrate no longer exists in the
United States Courts, having been changed from
“magistrate” to “magistrate judge” in
1990. Judicial Improvements Act of 1990 §321, Pub. L.
No. 101-650, 104 Stat. 5089 (1990) (“After the
enactments of this Act, each United States magistrate . . .
shall be known as a United States ...