United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
LAWRENCE CRANDLE, JR. REG # 05377-095
OFFICER ELKINS, ET AL.
G. JAMES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is a document filed by pro se Plaintiff,
Lawrence Crandle, Jr., which the Court construes as: (1) a
voluntary motion to dismiss the case, and (2) a motion to
refund any partial filing fee already paid and to cancel
Plaintiff's indebtedness for the remaining balance of
unpaid filing fees. [Doc. No. 10]. For the reasons that
follow, the motion is DENIED.
is an inmate in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons and is
currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institute
in Bennettsville, South Carolina. He filed this civil rights
complaint pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named
Agents, 91 S.Ct. 1999 (1971), “seeking $500, 000
in damages from each defendant for ‘libel damage,
defamation of character, [and] mental stress.'”
[Doc. No. 9 at 2 (quoting Doc. No. 1 at 4) (alterations in
original)]. On May 16, 2018, Plaintiff's motion to
proceed in forma pauperis was granted. [Doc. No. 8].
On May 18, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation recommending the suit be dismissed with
prejudice under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
[Doc. 9 at 4]. On May 25, 2018, Plaintiff filed the present
motion. In his motion, Plaintiff states in pertinent part,
“I Lawrence Crandle Jr. a Federal Prisoner, wish that
my civil suit . . . be dropped from the court docket and all
filing fee be dismiss [sic] from off (I) Lawrence Crandle Jr.
. . ., I don't want to proceed with civil suit.”
[Doc. No. 10]
Plaintiff's request for relief from payment of the filing
fee, the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995
(“PLRA”) requires prisoners who cannot afford
filing fees to make a partial payment on the fees and
obligate themselves to pay the balance in installments.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). This district has
implemented the PLRA by requiring prisoners filing civil
suits without prepayment of the filing fee to execute a
prescribed form authorizing prison authorities to deduct from
their prison trust fund accounts the initial partial payment
and all subsequent payments required by the Act. See
Doc. Nos. 4 & 4-1. The PLRA contains no provision
allowing a return of fees partially paid nor for the
cancellation of the remaining indebtedness in the event a
civil action is voluntarily dismissed. Indeed, the PLRA
states a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis
“shall be required to pay the full amount of a filing
fee.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). By filing a
complaint, the prisoner waives any objection to the fee
assessment, Williams v. Roberts, 116 F.3d 1126, 1127
(5thCir. 1997), and “[n]o relief from an
order directing payment of the filing fee should be granted
for a voluntary dismissal, ” Hatchet v.
Nettles, 201 F.3d 651, 654 (5th Cir. 2000).
As there is no authority for the return of fees partially
paid or for cancellation of the remaining indebtedness,
Plaintiff's request is denied.
Plaintiff's request to voluntarily dismiss this suit, the
Court again finds there is no authority for this relief. This
is not the first time the Court has been faced with a
prisoner who seeks to dismiss his case after an unfavorable
report and recommendation issues. See e.g. Latson v.
Johnson, 2009 WL 2824874, *1 (W.D.La.). The Court agrees
with the reasoning of its sister court that prisoners should
not be allowed to frustrate Congress's intent in enacting
the PLRA by voluntarily dismissing a complaint when it
appears the complaint will be unsuccessful. Hines v.
Graham, 320 F.Supp.2d 511, 526 (N.D.TX 2004). As
dicussed by the Hines Court:
Congress intended the PLRA as a whole to reduce prisoner
litigation. Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d
103, 113 (3d Cir.2002). The PLRA specifically added 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(g) to the in forma pauperis statute to
provide that a prisoner may not proceed in forma
pauperis in a civil action “if he has had three
actions or appeals dismissed for frivolousness,
maliciousness, or failure to state a claim.” Carson
v. Johnson, 112 F.3d 818, 819 (5th Cir.1997).
“This provision often is referred to as the
‘three strikes' provision.” Id.
(quoting Adepegba v. Hammons, 103 F.3d 383, 385
(5th Cir.1996)). By enacting this three-strikes or
“frequent filer” provision, “Congress
simply decided that the government need not subsidize these
prisoners' lawsuits and appeals.” Rivera v.
Allin, 144 F.3d 719, 725 (11th Cir.1998). Indeed,
“§ 1915(g) does not prevent all prisoners from
accessing the courts; it only precludes prisoners with a
history of abusing the legal system from continuing to abuse
it while enjoying IFP status.” Rodriguez v.
Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1180 (9thCir.1999).
. . . .
If a prisoner is allowed to dismiss his complaint without
prejudice . . . after a magistrate judge has entered findings
and conclusions which recommend summary dismissal of his
complaint under §§ 1915, 1915A, or 1997e, the
prisoner will not accumulate a “strike”; he will
not have to weigh the merits of his complaint before filing
because he can wait to let the court evaluate it for him; and
he will be able to continue filing frivolous, malicious, and
meritless complaints that unduly burden scarce judicial
Id. at 526-527.
reasons set forth above, the Court finds Plaintiffs voluntary
motion to dismiss without prejudice should be denied, as
granting such relief would allow Plaintiff to circumvent the
adverse consequence of avoiding a “strike” for
purposes of the “three-strikes” rule established
by the PLRA in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
light of the Court's Ruling denying Plaintiffs motion to
dismiss, and considering Plaintiffs pro se status and the
fact that the deadline for filing objections to the Report
and Recommendation is fast approaching, the Court will EXTEND
the time for filing objections. Any objections to the Report