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Lewis v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

December 12, 2017

JAMES D. LEWIS, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM C. LEE, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         James D. Lewis, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a complaint suing 17 defendants. Lewis did not pay the filing fee, and he is barred from proceeding in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). This is commonly known as the “Three Strikes Rule” and Lewis has at least five strikes.[1] An inmate who has struck out, “can use the partial prepayment option in §1915(b) only if in the future he ‘is under imminent danger of serious physical injury.’” Abdul-Wadood v. Nathan, 91 F.3d 1023, 1025 (7th Cir. 1996). In order to meet the imminent danger standard, the threat complained of must be real and proximate. Ciarpaglini v. Saini, 352 F.3d 328, 330 (7th Cir. 2003). Only “genuine emergencies” qualify as a basis for circumventing § 1915(g). Lewis v. Sullivan, 279 F.3d 526, 531 (7th Cir. 2002).

         In this case, Lewis is attempting to sue the United States of America, Mike Pence (both as Vice President of the United States of America and former Governor of Indiana), State of Indiana, Indiana Attorney General, gun shops in the State of Indiana, State of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, Pat Quinn, Lisa Madigan, the City of Chicago, City of Joliet, City of Peoria, City of East Louis, National Rifle Association, Smith and Wesson, and Remington. He alleges that the defendants have contributed to gun violence in poor communities and have aided and abetted the commission of genocide, war crimes, murders and other violent crimes. While he has characterized this situation as an emergency (ECF 1 at 9, 14), Lewis has not alleged that he or any other named individual is in imminent danger of serious physical injury.

         Nonetheless, Lewis filed this complaint without pre-paying the filing fee even though he knows[2] he is prohibited from doing so unless he is in imminent danger of serious physical injury. He filed it in this court even though he is an inmate in an Illinois prison and many of the defendants are also in Illinois. Most of his dozens of previous cases have been filed in Illinois and this is not unlike several that he has filed there.[3] However, he could not file this one in the Northern District of Illinois because that court has restricted him from filing civil cases there. In re: James D. Lewis, No. 1:16-CV-5470 (N.D. Ill. May 24, 2016). So now he has decided to start filing cases here in the Northern District of Indiana. However, the Seventh Circuit requires that litigants be restricted when they attempt to “bamboozle” the court by seeking to proceed without prepaying the filing fee after they have been informed that they are barred from doing so. See Sloan v. Lesza, 181 F.3d 857, 859 (7th Cir. 1999).

         Therefore, this case will be dismissed, the filing fee assessed, and Lewis restricted until he has paid in full all outstanding filing fees and sanctions imposed by any federal court. The restriction imposed by this order does not restrict him from filing a notice of appeal nor “impede him from making any filings necessary to protect him from imprisonment or other confinement, but . . . [it does] not let him file any paper in any other suit . . . until he pays the money he owes.” Support Sys. Int’l v. Mack, 45 F.3d 185, 186 (7th Cir. 1995).

         For these reasons, the court:

         (1) DISMISSES this case WITHOUT PREJUDICE;

         (2) ORDERS the plaintiff, James D. Lewis, Illinois DOC #B-52327, to pay (and the facility having custody of him to automatically remit) to the clerk of this court 20 percent of the money he receives for each calendar month during which he receives $10.00 or more, until the $400.00 filing fee is paid in full;

         (3) DIRECTS the clerk of court to create a ledger for receipt of these funds;

         (4) DIRECTS the clerk of court to return, unfiled, any papers filed in any case by or on behalf of James D. Lewis (except for a notice of appeal or unless filed in a criminal or habeas corpus proceeding) until he has paid in full all outstanding fees and sanctions in all civil actions in any federal court;

         (5) DIRECTS the clerk of court to note on the docket of this case any attempted filings in violation of this order; and

         (6) DIRECTS the clerk of court 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.

         SO ...


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