United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
ROBERT L. PHELPS, District Judge.
This matter is before the court on the plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis (docket no. 1). The plaintiff filed such application on February 20, 2014. Along with his application to proceed in forma pauperis, the plaintiff submitted a complaint.
I. IN FORMA PAUPERIS UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915
Based on the plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis, the court concludes that the plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the required filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) (requiring $350.00 filing fee). Thus, in forma pauperis status shall be granted to the plaintiff. See generally 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The clerk's office shall file the complaint without the prepayment of the filing fee. Although the court deemed it appropriate to grant the plaintiff in forma pauperis status, the plaintiff is required to pay the full $350.00 filing fee by making payments on an installment basis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1); see also In re Tyler, 110 F.3d 528, 529-30 (8th Cir. 1997) ("[T]he [Prisoner Litigation Reform Act] makes prisoners responsible for their filing fees the moment the prisoner brings a civil action or files an appeal."). The full filing fee will be collected even if the court dismisses the case because it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks money damages against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Here, the plaintiff must pay an initial partial filing fee in the amount of 20 percent of the greater of his average monthly account balance or average monthly deposits for the six months preceding the filing of the complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Based on his statements, the court finds that the plaintiff is unable to pay an initial partial filing fee. Id. Nevertheless, the 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. Specifically,
[a]fter 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). Therefore, although the plaintiff will not be required to submit an initial partial filing fee, the remaining installments shall be collected by the institution having custody of the plaintiff. Id. The clerk's office shall send a copy of this order and the notice of collection of filing fee to the appropriate official at the place where the plaintiff is an inmate.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
A pro se complaint must be liberally construed. See Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per curiam); Smith v. St. Bernards Reg'l Med. Ctr., 19 F.3d 1254, 1255 (8th Cir. 1994). In addition, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless, they must be weighed in favor of the plaintiff. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992). A court, however, can dismiss at any time a complaint filed in forma pauperis if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). A claim is "frivolous" if it "lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); accord Cokeley v. Endell, 27 F.3d 331, 332 (8th Cir. 1994). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Accordingly, a court may review the complaint and dismiss sua sponte those claims that fail "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level....'", see Parkhurst v. Tabor, 569 F.3d 861, 865 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555), or that are premised on meritless legal theories or clearly lack any factual basis, see Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 325. See, e.g., Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. at 27 (considering frivolousness); Myers v. Vogal, 960 F.2d 750, 751 (8th Cir. 1992) (concluding that a district court may dismiss an action if an affirmative defense exists).
III. CLAIMS ASSERTED
The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, submitted a complaint to redress issues that are related to his state cases and confinement at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center. Jurisdiction appears to be predicated on 28 U.S.C. § 1343. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), venue appears to be proper as some of the events giving rise to the instant action occurred in this district and at least one defendant is located in this district.
As to the plaintiff's specific claims, the plaintiff states that John Bernau failed to have the court set hearings in his state post-conviction relief proceedings and the Iowa Attorney General failed to ensure the Delaware County Prosecutor and the Iowa District Court for Delaware County set the hearings in his state post-conviction relief proceedings. Consequently, the plaintiff maintains that he has been wrongfully imprisoned past his discharge date of January 4, 2014. As to Dr. Gregory Keller, the plaintiff contends that, even though he has done everything he can to get security personnel and psychiatry personnel to understand certain information that he provided, Dr. Gregory Keller told him today that he should be medicated and that he may need to be civilly committed. He feels that Dr. Gregory Keller indirectly threatened him and that he should not be held in mental health status since he has been report free for over one year. As relief, the plaintiff states that he wants the court: (1) to direct the courts of Iowa to proceed with his cases and to alter his sentences so that they reflect what Dave Baumgartner promised him; (2) to direct the defendants to pay him for his wrongful imprisonment since January 4, 2014; and (3) to direct psychiatry staff to place him in mental health status only when he threatens to hurt himself or others and to refrain from segregating him from the general population because he has not been aggressive since March of 2013.
A. Claims Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983