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Konrath v. State of Indiana

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

November 10, 2016

GREGORY KONRATH, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MILTON I. SHADUR SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This Court's October 17, 2016 memorandum opinion and order (the "Opinion") dismissed both the Complaint and this action brought pro se by Indiana state court prisoner Gregory Konrath ("Konrath") for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and "raise[d] a serious question as to Konrath's entitlement to claim IFP status to begin with." In the latter respect the Opinion concluded with this paragraph:

Accordingly this Court orders Konrath to file a full explanation on or before November 1, 2016 of his financial situation, including such matters as (1) the source of the inflow of funds referred to in this opinion, (2) the relationship that Sheila Konrath bears to him and (3) any other factual information necessary for this Court to carry out its Section 1915 obligations. This Court will then determine the course of any further proceedings.

         Konrath has responded with a one-page hand-printed filing received in the Clerk's Office on October 28, which begins with a truly frivolous challenge to this Court's dismissal of this action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction by voicing his purported entitlement to ignore the United States Supreme Court's decision in Hans v. Louisiana because he "disagrees that literal language of the Eleventh Amendment can be simply ignored." Although Konrath touts his medical credentials as a highly successful orthopedic surgeon before he was criminally convicted, [1] he obviously never coupled his medical training with obtaining even a modicum of legal knowhow.

         That digression on Konrath's part aside, his brief October 28 response identifies himself as "indeed indigent" and explains that the deposits to his trust fund account stemmed from his mother Sheila Konrath, who he says provided those deposits from her own money. [2] Because the trust fund account printout that accompanied his IFP petition in this case ended with an August 10, 2016 entry, while the date of "filing" of his Complaint under the "mailbox rule" prescribed by Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988) was October 3, this Court had its law clerk request a supplementation of that trust fund account information for the period from August 11 through October 3. When that supplement arrived in this Court's chambers, its final entry was dated September 2, [3] and the law clerk's request for a further explanation generated the attached e-mail (Ex. 3). That information clearly puts the lie to Konrath's statement in his October 28 filing that "I plan on paying the full $350 filing fee in installments deducted from my prison trust fund account."

         Despite that scofflaw misrepresentation on Konrath's part, this Court has made the calculation called for by 28 U.S.C. § 1915 ("Section 1915") and has determined that the average monthly deposits to Konrath's account (see Section 1915(b)(1)(A)) during the five months before he thumbed his nose at the judicial system by emptying out the account came to $348.18, 20% of which (see Section 1915(b)(2)) is $69.64. Accordingly Konrath is assessed an initial partial filing fee of $69.64, and the Westville Correctional Facility ("Westville") trust fund officer is ordered to collect that amount from Konrath's trust fund account there - if, as and when any new funds are received, that is - and to pay it directly to the Clerk of Court ("Clerk"):

Office of the Clerk United States District Court 219 South Dearborn Street Chicago IL 60604 Attention: Fiscal Department.

         After such payment the trust fund officer at Westville (or at any other correctional facility where Konrath may hereafter be confined) is authorized to collect monthly payments from his trust fund account in an amount equal to 20% of any preceding month's income credited to the account. Monthly payments collected from the trust fund account shall be forwarded to the Clerk each time the amount in the account exceeds $10 until the full $350 filing fee is paid. Both the initial payment and all future payments shall clearly identify Konrath's name and the 16 C 9541 case number assigned to this action. To implement these requirements, the Clerk shall send a copy of this order to the Westville trust fund officer.

         This Court is constrained to add that Konrath's conduct exhibited in this case is particularly disgraceful, coming as it does from someone who describes himself as "an orthopedic surgeon who had worked for 20 years, and was making $579, 000 a year at the time of his arrest" and who concludes his Complaint in this action with this request for relief:

The plaintiff is requesting the maximum punitive and compensatory financial relief available under federal law for the loss of a lucrative career, irreversible damage to his reputation, and pain and suffering from two years of incarceration; in total an excess of twenty-three (23) million dollars.

         Finally, it is worth noting that two of Konrath's other contemporaneously-filed lawsuits were legal malpractice actions, one assigned to this Court's colleague Honorable Thomas Durkin and the other to this Court, in which each of us independently rejected his assigned action as barred by the specific Illinois statute establishing a two year limitation period for such malpractice lawsuits. There too Konrath was seeking the maximum possible financial recovery.

         Under all the circumstances described here, this Court believes that consideration of some appropriate sanction against Konrath may be in order. That however is beyond the scope of this opinion, the ordering portion of which is limited to Section 1915.

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