United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
April 10, 2014
LAKESHA NORINGTON a/k/a Shawntrell Marcel Norington, Plaintiff,
MARK LEVENHAGEN, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
JOSEPH S. VAN BOKKELEN, District Judge.
Lakesha Norington a/k/a Shawntrell Marcel Norington,  a pro se prisoner, is an abusive litigator. She is barred from proceeding in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), and was advised of this fact by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in July 2013. See Norington v. Indiana , No. 13-2303 (7th Cir. order dated July 16, 2013.)
Norington has now filed a new complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, along with a motion requesting permission to proceed in forma pauperis . (DE 1, 2.) She did not disclose that she is precluded from proceeding in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Nor does her complaint address a matter placing her in imminent danger of physical injury. Instead, the complaint pertains to her legal papers and items of personal property, including her gym shoes, shower shoes, gym shorts, "do-rags, " toothpaste, toothbrush holder, towels, and magazines. (DE 1-2 at 10.) She claims that these items were improperly lost or destroyed by the property officer at Westville Control Unit ("WCU") sometime between July 2012 and August 2013. (DE 1 at 3.) She seeks approximately $4 million in compensatory and punitive damages against the property officer and various state officials, as well as a full investigation of the property room and termination of all current property room staff. (DE 1-1 at 6-7.) Nothing in the complaint demonstrates that she falls within the imminent danger exception contained in Section 1915(g). Ciarpaglini v. Saini , 352 F.3d 328, 330 (7th Cir. 2003) (to meet the imminent danger requirement, the plaintiff must be complaining of a "threat" that is both "real and proximate, " and allegations of past harm do not suffice); Lewis v. Sullivan , 279 F.3d 526, 531 (7th Cir. 2002) (imminent danger provision was meant to serve as an "escape hatch for genuine emergencies" only).
Furthermore, it appears Norington is trying to skirt the restriction imposed by Section 1915(g) by mislabeling her complaint with the docket number of a closed case, 3:13-CV-184-JD. In that case, Norington challenged the state's refusal to permit her to change her name. Norington v. Indiana , No. 3:13-CV-184-JD (N.D. Ind. order dated Apr. 1, 2013.) The case was dismissed on April 1, 2013, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Id. Norington appealed, but the Seventh Circuit denied her request to proceed in forma pauperis , and the appeal was later dismissed for failure to pay the docketing fee. Id. , DE 21-1. Norington is a frequent litigator in federal court, and she could not have reasonably believed there was a proper basis for her to file a new, unrelated complaint in a case dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915A more than a year ago, and in which she unsuccessfully took an appeal.
By seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis and failing to disclose that she is three-struck, Norington has attempted to commit a fraud on the court. Sloan v. Lesza , 181 F.3d 857, 859 (7th Cir. 1999). "An effort to bamboozle the court... after a federal judge has held that § 1915(g) applies to a particular litigant will lead to... an order forbidding further litigation." Id. In accordance with Sloan , this case will be dismissed, the filing fee assessed, and Norington restricted until she has paid in full all outstanding filing fees owed. A review of this court's records indicates that Norington owes approximately $4, 000 in outstanding filing fees.
The restriction being imposed in this order does not preclude Norington from filing a habeas corpus petition challenging the fact or duration of her custody, or from filing documents in any federal criminal case in which she is a defendant. Support Sys. Int'l v. Mack , 45 F.3d 185, 186 (7th Cir. 1995). This order also does not restrict her from filing a notice of appeal in this case. However, she cannot "file any paper in any other suit... until [s]he pays the money [s]he owes." Mack , 45 F.3d at 186.
For the foregoing reasons, the court:
(1) DISMISSES this case pursuant to Sloan v. Lesza , 181 F.3d 857, 859 (7th Cir. 1999);
(2) ORDERS the plaintiff Lakesha Norington a/k/a Shawntrell Marcel Norington, IDOC #138726 to pay (and the facility having custody of her to automatically remit) to the clerk of this court 20 percent of the money she receives for each calendar month during which she receives $10.00 or more, until the $400.00 filing fee for this case is paid in full;
(3) DIRECTS the clerk of court to return, unfiled, any papers filed in any civil case by or on behalf of Lakesha Norington a/k/a Shawntrell Marcel Norington (unless filed in a habeas corpus or federal criminal proceeding, or a notice of appeal and related documents in this case) until she has paid in full all outstanding fees in all civil actions in any federal court;
(4) DIRECTS the clerk to note on the docket of this case any attempted filings in violation of this order; and
(5) DIRECTS the clerk to ensure that a copy of this order is mailed to each facility where the plaintiff is housed until the filing fee has been paid in full.