UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
February 14, 2012
MICHAEL P. TARAS, PLAINTIFF,
U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS AND CHIEF JUDGE JAMES L. FOREMAN, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff Michael P. Taras's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 4). A federal court may permit an indigent party to proceed without pre-payment of fees. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Nevertheless, a court can deny a qualified plaintiff leave to file in forma pauperis or can dismiss a case if the action is clearly frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim or is a claim for money damages against an immune defendant.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The test for determining if an action is frivolous or without merit is whether the plaintiff can make a rational argument on the law or facts in support of the claim. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Corgain v. Miller, 708 F.2d 1241, 1247 (7th Cir. 1983). An action fails to state a claim if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). When assessing a petition to proceed in forma pauperis, a district court should inquire into the merits of the petitioner's claims, and if the court finds them to be frivolous, it should deny leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Lucien v. Roegner, 682 F.2d 625, 626 (7th Cir. 1982).
The Court is satisfied from Taras's affidavit that he is indigent. However, after carefully reviewing the complaint, the Court is unable to detect a non-frivolous cause of action against any non-immune defendant. To the extent Taras complains of the defendants' conduct (he also complains about conduct of others who are not parties to this suit), that conduct was in the course of the defendants' performing their official judicial or quasi-judicial duties. Thus, the defendants are entitled to immunity from this suit for money damages. See Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 420-29 (1976) (prosecutorial immunity); Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12 (1991) (per curiam)(judicial immunity).
For this reason, the Court DENIES Taras's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 4), DISMISSES this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) with prejudice for failure to state a claim, and DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to enter judgment accordingly.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
J. Phil Gilbert
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