United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
BRENDA L. WHITE, Plaintiff,
JOHN MERCER, Defendant.
ENTRY GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS,
SCREENING AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Brenda L. White's
(“White”) Non-Prisoner Request to Proceed in
District Court Without Prepaying the Filing Fee (Filing
No. 2). Because she 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
White'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 White asserts a claim
for intimidation and harassment based on threatening behavior
during a deposition by attorney John Mercer. White asserts
her intimidation and harassment claim against attorney John
Mercer and asks for an undetermined amount of money damages
and “college paid for my children.” (Filing
No. 1 at 4.)
Dismissal of Complaint
not appear that this Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate the
claim that White 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
fill-in-the-blank “Complaint Form, ” White has
checked the box for “suing for a violation of federal
law under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, ” as well as the box
for “suing under state law, ” based on diversity
jurisdiction (Filing No. 1 at 4). However, she
presents state law claim for intimidation and harassment and
seeks an undetermined amount of money damages. In order for a
federal court to exercise jurisdiction over such a claim, the
parties must be citizens of different states, see 28
U.S.C. § 1332, and it appears that White and the