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Dirig v. Neal

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

February 8, 2019

CHRISTOPHER J. DIRIG, Plaintiff,
v.
RON NEAL, GORDON, and McNEAL, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ROBERT L. MILLER, JR. JUDGE

         Christopher J. Dirig, a prisoner without a lawyer, began this lawsuit by filing a document titled, “Emergency Injunction Imminent Danger.” He didn't pay the filing fee or seek leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Mr. Dirig is barred from proceeding in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Dirig v. Stewart, 17-1414 (7th Cir. filed February 24, 2017) order dated June 8, 2017, ECF 13. This is commonly known as the “Three Strikes Rule” and 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). 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).

         Mr. Dirig is trying to sue two defendants for punitive and compensatory damages based on events that occurred on January 24 and 25, 2019. He alleges inmates set fires because there wasn't enough heat in the prison. He alleges the fires created choking smoke which wasn't promptly cleared and he was denied immediate medical attention. Despite the title of his document, he doesn't ask for injunctive relief; nor has he plausibly alleged he is now in imminent danger of serious physical injury.

         Mr. Dirig filed this lawsuit knowing very well he was struck out because he has been notified eighteen times in little more than two years.[1] The court of appeals requires litigants who are restrained by § 1915(g) to be restricted when they attempt to “bamboozle” the court.

         Litigants to whom § 1915(g) applies take heed! An effort to bamboozle the court by seeking permission to proceed in forma pauperis after a federal judge has held that § 1915(g) applies to a particular litigant will lead to immediate termination of the suit. Moreover, the fee remains due, and we held in Newlin v. Helman, 123 F.3d 429, 436-37 (7th Cir. 1997), that unpaid docket fees incurred by litigants subject to § 1915(g) lead straight to an order forbidding further litigation. Sloan's appeal is dismissed for failure to pay the appellate filing and docket fees. Until Sloan has paid in full all outstanding fees and sanctions in all civil actions he has filed, the clerks of all courts in this circuit will return unfiled all papers he tenders. This order does not apply to criminal cases or petitions challenging the terms of his confinement, and may be reexamined in two years under the approach of Newlin and Support Systems International, Inc. v. Mack, 45 F.3d 185 (7th Cir. 1995).

Sloan v. Lesza, 181 F.3d 857, 859 (7th Cir. 1999).

         Mr. Dirig didn't file an in forma pauperis motion in this case, but he is still effectively trying to “bamboozle” the court. This is the second time Mr. Dirig has filed a lawsuit falsely asserting he is in imminent danger. See Dirig v. State of Indiana, 3:18-CV-356 (N.D. Ind. filed May 14, 2018) ECF 50. It's also the third case he has filed since being told he was subject to § 1915(g) which was dismissed because he was not in imminent danger. See id. and Dirig v. Knight, 1:17-CV-2195 (S.D. Ind. filed June 26, 2017) ECF 3 (filed without any allegation of imminent danger).

         Therefore, this case will be dismissed, the filing fee assessed, and Mr. Dirig 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). This restriction doesn't apply to papers submitted in Dirig v. Neal, 3:18-CV-851 (N.D. Ind. filed October 17, 2018) in which he has been granted leave to proceed on a claim based on being in imminent danger.

         For these reasons, the court:

(1) DISMISSES this case WITHOUT PREJUDICE;
(2) ORDERS the plaintiff, Christopher J. Dirig, IDOC # 157156, to pay (and the facility having custody of him to automatically remit) to the clerk 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 to create a ledger for receipt of these funds;
(4) DIRECTS the clerk to return, unfiled, any papers filed in any case by or on behalf of Christopher J. Dirig - except for a notice of appeal or unless filed in a criminal case, habeas corpus proceeding, or Dirig v. Neal, 3:18-CV-851 (N.D. Ind. filed October 17, 2018) - until he has paid in full all outstanding fees and sanctions in all civil actions in any federal court;
(5) DIRECTS the clerk to note on the docket of this case any attempted filings in ...

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