United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ERIC J. MAPES, and JENELLE M. KELLY-MAPES, Plaintiffs,
HATCHER REAL ESTATE et al., Defendants.
ENTRY GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS,
SCREENING AND ORDER TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Eric J. Mapes and
Jenelle M. Kelly-Mapes's (“Plaintiffs”)
Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Filing No.
3). Because Plaintiffs are allowed to proceed in
forma pauperis, this action is also subject to screening
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, without
prepaying fees or costs (Filing No. 3) is
granted. While in forma pauperis
status allows a plaintiff to proceed without
pre-payment of the filing fee, the plaintiff remains
liable for the full fees. See Robbins v. Switzer,
104 F.3d 895, 898 (7th Cir. 1997) (in forma pauperis
litigants remain liable for the filing fee; “all [28
U.S.C.] § 1915(a) does for any litigant is excuse the
pre-payment of fees”). The Court does not have the
authority to waive the filing fee, and it remains due despite
Plaintiffs' in forma pauperis status.
Fiorito v. Samuels, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84869, at
*5 (C.D. Ill. June 30, 2016) (“[c]ourt does not have
the authority to waive a filing fee”); McDaniel v.
Meisner, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106067, at *12 (E.D. Wis.
Aug. 12, 2015) (same). The filing fee for in forma
pauperis litigants is $350.00. No payment is due
currently; however, the $350.00 balance remains owing.
courts have an obligation under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) to screen complaints before service on the
defendant and must dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous
or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. Dismissal under the in forma pauperis
statute is an exercise of the court's discretion.
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 34
(1992). In determining whether the complaint states a claim,
the court applies the same standard as when addressing a
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). See Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621,
624 (7th Cir. 2006). To survive dismissal under federal
[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(citations and quotation marks omitted). Thus, a
“plaintiff must do better than putting a few words on
paper that, in the hands of an imaginative reader,
might suggest that something has happened to her
that might be redressed by the law.” Swanson v.
Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 403 (7th Cir. 2010)
(emphasis in original).
civil action, pro se Plaintiffs allege claims
against Hatcher Real Estate, James Hatcher, Ethan Hatcher,
and Brandy Hodges (collectively, “Real Estate
Defendants”) for violating their rights under the
Americans with Disabilities Act and the Federal Fair Housing
Act. Plaintiffs allege that they were subjected to
discriminatory housing practices because of their use of
service animals in an apartment. Additionally, they allege
that they have been wrongly denied access to the courts when
the Center Township Small Claims Court and Marion County
Superior Court denied their motion to proceed in forma
pauperis in those courts. Plaintiffs allege their
“denial of access to the courts” claim against
Center Township Small Claims Court, Marion County Superior
Court, Marion County Clerks Office, Judge Brenda A. Roper,
Magistrate Judge Kimberly Mattingly, Russell Hollis, and
Jennifer McIntyre (collectively, “Judicial
Defendants”). Plaintiffs' initial pleadings consist
of a two-page “Complaint Form, ” 36 pages
consisting of 9 attachments, and a sixty-seven page
“Brief, Claim, Complaint, Summons, and Memorandum for
the Plaintiffs and Urging Affirmance.” (Filing No.
1; Filing No. 2.)
Dismissal of Claim and Leave to Amend the
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, not general
jurisdiction, and “[n]o court may decide a case without
subject-matter jurisdiction, and neither the parties nor
their lawyers may stipulate to jurisdiction or waive
arguments that the court lacks jurisdiction. If the parties
neglect the subject, a court must raise jurisdictional
questions itself.” United States v. County of
Cook, 167 F.3d 381, 387 (7th Cir. 1999); Bender v.
Williamsport Area Sch. Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986).
“Courts . . . have an independent obligation to
determine whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, even in
the absence of a challenge from any party.” Arbaugh
v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006). A court
“must raise the issue sua sponte when it
appears that subject matter jurisdiction is lacking.”
Buethe v. Britt Airlines, 749 F.2d 1235, 1238 (7th
Cir. 1984); see also Evergreen Square of Cudahy v. Wis.
Hous. & Econ. Dev. Auth., 776 F.3d 463, 465 (7th
Cir. 2015) (“federal courts are obligated to inquire
into the existence of jurisdiction sua
sponte”). “When a federal court concludes
that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must
dismiss the complaint in its entirety.”
Arbaugh, 546 U.S. at 514, quoted in Miller v.
Herman, 600 F.3d 726, 730 (7th Cir. 2010); see
also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3) (“If the court
determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”).
survive dismissal, the complaint “must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face. . . . A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678 (citations and quotation
marks omitted). Pro se complaints, such as that
filed by Plaintiffs, are construed liberally and ...