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Larry Maurice Banks v. Cook County Municipality

April 29, 2013

LARRY MAURICE BANKS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COOK COUNTY MUNICIPALITY, PSYCHIATRIST HOWARD, AND PSYCHIATRIST KILDER, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Matthew F. Kennelly, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

The pro se plaintiff in this case, Larry Maurice Banks, is a detainee at the Cook County Jail. He is a very experienced pro se litigant. He has filed over two dozen cases in this district. See In re Banks, No. 13 C 1014 (N.D. Ill.) (Dkt. No. 1).

In his complaint in this case, which Mr. Banks filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, he alleged that he was not receiving necessary mental health care at the Jail, including not receiving necessary medication. He alleged that he was suffering from a mental illness and was experiencing corresponding physical symptoms, including weight loss and inability to sleep.

At the time he filed this suit, Mr. Banks had "struck out" pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). He sought refuge in the "imminent danger" exception under that statute. The Court issued an order in August 2012 stating that this did not excuse Mr. Banks from filing an application to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"). Mr. Banks filed such an application later in August 2012. Like all IFP applications, it was submitted under penalty of perjury, and it contained a specific warning that the Court "shall dismiss this case at any time if the court determines that the allegation of poverty is untrue." IFP Applic. at 4.

The Court reviewed Mr. Banks's application, found that it established Mr. Bank's indigence and his inability to prepay the filing fee, and granted him leave to proceed IFP. That order was entered in early October 2012. The case then sat in limbo for several months while awaiting service of summons on the defendants by the U.S. Marshal.

On March 20, 2013, the Court, on its own motion, directed Mr. Banks to show cause why his IFP status should not be revoked. The Court's order stated, in relevant part, as follows:

This District's Local Rule 40.3(b)(1) requires all of Petitioner's conditions of confinement cases to be assigned to this Court. The Court's recent experience with Plaintiff's other conditions of confinement cases has lead [sic] the Court to re-examine its IFP ruling in this case.

In this case, to support his IFP petition, Plaintiff claimed that he was impoverished. (Dkt. No. 5). His jail trust fund account ledger attached in support of his IFP motion showed that his account contained only a few dollars and had $780 in deposits in the six months leading up to the filing of the present case. (Dkt. No. 5). Plaintiff had spent the money at the jail commissary, depleting the account. Plaintiff did not disclose any other assets.

Despite the claim of poverty, a review of the docket shows that Plaintiff was able to pay the $350 filing fee in three other cases, Banks v. Cook County, No. 11 C 6113 (N.D. Ill.), Banks v. Cook County, No. 12 C 2341 (N.D. Ill.), Banks v. Cook County, No. 12 C 3833 (N.D. Ill.). These fee payments were made at the same time that Plaintiff was representing in this case that he was impoverished and lacked any assets to pay the filing fee. In addition, Plaintiff recently paid the full filing fee in Banks v. Muhammad, No. 12 C 2493 (N.D. Ill.). It thus appears that Plaintiff has a source of income that he is using to pay filing fees that is not disclosed on his jail trust fund account ledger and that he did not disclose on the IFP application that he filed in this case. The Court is inclined, based on this evidence, to revisit its IFP ruling and revoke Plaintiff's IFP status on the ground that he is able to pay the filing fee in this case. The Court therefore orders Plaintiff to [show] cause why his IFP status should not be revoked.

Order of Mar. 20, 2013.

In February 2013 -- prior to this Court's entry of the March 20 order -- this District's Executive Committee issued an order barring Mr. Banks from filing further documents until he paid approximately $3100 in unpaid filing fees. On April 1, 2013, Mr. Banks provided a check paying the amount the Executive Committee stated was due. This was memorialized in an Executive Committee order dated April 12, 2013, a copy of which was entered on the docket in this case. See Dkt. No. 19. In short, in the period prior to and following his sworn representation in his IFP petition that he was impoverished and unable to pay the filing fee, Mr. Banks paid a total of about $4500 in filing fees.

In response to the Court's March 20, 2013 order directing him to show cause why his IFP status should not be revoked, Mr. Banks explained his payment of these fees as follows:

Plaintiff gives the reason why he's able to pay the above IFP (in forma pauperis application), and the reason why he's able to survive while incarcerated in Cook County Jail, because of the Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc. giving Plaintiff gifts.

Pl.'s Resp. at 1. Mr. Banks says that he is a "grand sheik" of the Moorish Science Temple, "better known as the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors," and that as such "his duty is to teach Islamism." Id. Mr. Banks says that he is not paid a fee for this ...


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