IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
December 11, 2009
GERALD WILKINS, PLAINTIFF,
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gilbert, District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion to reconsider (Doc. 28) a portion of the the Order (Doc. 7) denying his motion for a certified copy of his original complaint (Doc. 5) and his motion for a copy of "each and all electronic filing" (Doc. 6).
In support of his motions, Plaintiff advances three reasons why he should be provided these copies. First, Plaintiff claims that the paralegal staff at Tamms Correctional Center will not provide him with photocopies of his pleadings and that it is "unreasonable" for him to provide handwritten duplicates because that's "excessive." Second, Plaintiff claims that he has not made his own copies of these documents "to prevent them from being destroyed . . . in retaliation." Third, because he did not make his own copies of his complaint, Plaintiff is unable to respond to this Court's Order dismissing some of his claims.
Because Plaintiff is currently proceeding without counsel, Plaintiff will be served with copies of all pleadings, documents, and papers electronically filed by other parties to this action as provided in Rule 5 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. It is Plaintiff's obligation to secure and store these copies and there is no reason for the Clerk of Court - in the normal course of business - to supply Plaintiff with an additional copy of these pleadings.
As is clear from his motions, Plaintiff is already receiving copies of the Court's orders via mail from the Clerk of Court. Again, there is no reason for the Clerk of Court - in the normal course of business - to supply Plaintiff with an additional copy of the Court's orders.
As for his own pleadings, documents, and papers, Plaintiff is responsible for making and keeping copies of all pleadings, documents, and papers he files in this case. If Plaintiff submits an original pleading, document, or paper along with an exact copy of the same (whether the copy is handwritten or photocopied), then the Clerk will return the copy, stamped "filed," back to Plaintiff for his records.
Plaintiff may receive photocopies of pleadings, documents, and papers filed in his case -whether filed by Plaintiff or any other party - but only upon tendering the appropriate fees and costs to the Clerk of Court. The Clerk of Court charges $0.50 per page for photocopying.
28 U.S.C. § 1914. Additional charges apply if Plaintiff would like a certified copy of any pleading, document or paper filed in this case. Id. Plaintiff's in forma pauperis status allows him to proceed without prepayment of the $355 filing fee, but it does not allow him to automatically have a free copy of every pleading, document, or paper electronically filed with this Court. Upon good cause being shown, the Court may waive the copying fees charged by the Clerk of Court - but such a waiver is not automatic and Plaintiff should not rely on the Court waiving these fees as a means for obtaining copies of his own pleadings, documents, and papers.
Plaintiff's prison trust fund account statement (Doc. 2) indicates that he is unable to pay the copying fees necessary to obtain a photocopy of his original complaint (Doc. 1). Therefore, Plaintiff's motion to reconsider (Doc. 28) is GRANTED, IN PART. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to supply Plaintiff with a photocopy of the original complaint (Doc. 1) filed in this case without prepayment of the copying charges. This copy need not be certified copy. Again, the Court warns Plaintiff that he should not rely on the Court waiving these fees as a means for regularly obtaining copies of his own pleadings, documents, and papers.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
J. Phil Gilbert U. S. District Judge
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