United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. Herndon, Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Extension of Time to Pay the Filing Fee. (Doc. 16).
Plaintiff's Complaint was filed on April 24, 2017. (Doc.
1). Plaintiff subsequently filed motions wherein he alleged
that he authorized the Trust Fund Account Officer to submit
the $400.00 filing fee in April 2017, but the check had been
lost in the mail. (See Docs. 5, 6, 9, 10). Plaintiff
also submitted documentation supporting this
30, 2017, the Court allowed Plaintiff an extension to resolve
the matter. (Doc. 7). After Plaintiff was unable to resolve
the matter on his own, the Court sought clarification from
Menard's Trust Fund Account Officer. (Doc. 12). The
Officer responded indicating that the check indeed had been
issued and apparently lost in the mail. (Doc. 15). The
Officer further indicated that Menard would work with
Plaintiff to issue a stop-payment on the missing check and
issue a new check. Id. After reviewing this
information, the Court directed Plaintiff to pay his filing
fee on or before July 24, 2017. (Doc. 14).
25, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Extension of Time,
indicating that he continues to encounter difficulties with
the Trust Fund Account Office at Menard. Plaintiff also asks
the Court to compel Menard to provide him with the name of
the Trust Fund Account Officer and to provide him with an
updated trust fund account balance report.
point it is unclear whether responsibility for
Plaintiff's filing fee difficulties rests with Plaintiff,
Menard's Trust Fund Account Office, or is simply the
result of bad luck. A review of the Court's online PACER
database establishes that Plaintiff is a frequent and
possibly abusive litigator in the federal courts, having
filed several dozen lawsuits in the Northern and Central
Districts of Illinois. Thus, Plaintiff is a veteran litigator
and may be attempting to game the system. On the other hand,
the Seventh Circuit has observed that there is an inherent
conflict of interest in the prison lawsuit system”
“[T]he law requires the payor (the prison) to process a
drawer's request for payment to permit the drawer to sue
the payor…[and] it is entirely predictable that the
prison will prefer to postpone [a plaintiff's] ability to
pursue litigation against itself.” Sultan v.
Fenoglio, 775 F.3d 888, 890 (7th Cir. 2015). The fact
that Plaintiff is a frequent litigator suggests that the
potential conflict of interest in the instant case is
particularly strong. Additionally, the record indicates that
the initial loss of Plaintiff's check was not
Plaintiff's fault (Doc. 15; Doc. 6, pp. 2-3) and that
Plaintiff has attempted, unsuccessfully, to have a new check
issued (Doc. 16).
Court has previously explained (Doc. 12), a district has a
duty, under certain circumstances, to conduct the inquiry
necessary to determine that failure to pay a filing fee is
attributable to the prisoner's negligence or misconduct
rather than circumstances beyond his control. See Thomas
v. Butts, 745 F.3d 309, 313 (7th Cir. 2014); Sultan
v. Fenoglio, 775 F.3d 888, 890 (7th Cir. 2015). The
circumstances of the instant case require further inquiry
into this matter.
the Court ORDERS Menard's Trust Fund Account Officer to
provide the Court with an update pertaining to
Plaintiff's lost check and to advise the Court as to why
the Trust Fund Account Office has been unable to reissue a
check. The Trust Fund Account Officer shall provide the Court
with the above information on or before August 4, 2017.
Failure to comply will result in the Court setting a show
cause hearing with the Trust Fund Account Officer required to
appear personally in Court.
deadline with regard to paying the filing fee is hereby
extended to a date to be determined by the Court.
additional requests to compel are denied without prejudice at
this time. See Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 362
(1996) (citing Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 562
(1979) (admonishing district courts to avoid interfering
“in the minutiae of prison operations”).
Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to terminate Plaintiffs Motion
Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to mail a copy of this
Memorandum and Order to Plaintiff and to the Trust Fund
Officer at Menard.