United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
ENTRY GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS,
SCREENING AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE United States District Court
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff James Darren
Eastridge's (“Eastridge”) Prisoner Request to
Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying the Full Filing
Fee (Filing No. 2). Because he is allowed to proceed
in forma pauperis, this action is also subject to
screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis,
without prepaying fees or costs (Filing No. 2) 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
Eastridge's 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). 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 plaintiff Eastridge asserts a
claim for defamation based upon perjury, false reporting,
false statements, and false evidence. He brings his
defamation claim against Defendants City of Sellersburg,
State of Indiana, Timothy L. Gray, Jeremy Todd Mull, and
Sellersburg Police Department. The Complaint alleges that
Eastridge is bringing his claim under federal law and
“seek[ing] damages in the amount of $35 million dollars
plus punitive damages, loss of my job, wages, and I was put
on news channel as a mentally unstable, I'm seeking
defamation of character for slander, false reporting, and
false statements.” (Filing No. 1 at 9.)
Dismissal of Complaint
not appear that this Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate the
claim that Eastridge has presented. Federal 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
Eastridge asserts that he is “suing for a violation of
federal law under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, ” (Filing
No. 1 at 9), however, he has not presented a federal
claim, instead, he has presented a state law tort claim for
defamation and seeking monetary damages in the amount of $35,
000, 000.00. In order for a federal court to exercise
jurisdiction over such a claim, the parties must be citizens