United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
L. Maloney United States District Judge.
Michael Gresham, together with 18 other prisoners from
multiple prisons, have filed a complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against many dozens of Defendants.
Plaintiff Gresham has sought leave to proceed in forma
pauperis in compliance with 28 U.S.C. 1915(a).
Ordinarily, where there are multiple plaintiffs, each
plaintiff is proportionately liable for any filing fees or
costs. See Talley-Bey v. Knebl, 168 F.3d 884, 887
(6th Cir. 1999); In re Prison Litigation Reform Act,
105 F.3d 1131, 1137 (6th Cir. 1997). However, Plaintiff
Gresham, who describes himself as “lead
plaintiff” (ECF No. 1, PageID.3), is subject to filing
restrictions in this Court, imposed upon him by Judge Janet
T. Neff of this Court, as the result of his prior abusive
filings. See Gresham et al. v. Washington et al.,
No. 1:15-cv-1067 (W.D. Mich. Jan. 6, 2016) (Op. & Order)
(No. 1:15cv1067, ECF Nos. 8, 10, PageID.152-155, 158). In her
order, Judge Neff precluded Plaintiff from filing future
actions in this Court that raised claims arising out of more
than a single action or event, barred Plaintiff from filing
jointly with another prisoner, barred Plaintiff from joining
any other action, and barred Plaintiff from filing a
complaint exceeding ten pages in length. Plaintiff was
advised that any violation of these restrictions would result
in dismissal of his case. (Id.)
instant wide-ranging, 130-page complaint, Plaintiff Gresham
has violated all of the restrictions set forth in the January
6, 2016 order in Case No. 1:15-cv-1067. Therefore, because no
other Plaintiff was properly joined in the action, Plaintiff
Gresham will be held solely responsible for the $400.00 civil
action filing fee. In addition, because Plaintiff Gresham has
filed at least three lawsuits that were dismissed as
frivolous, malicious or for failure to state a claim, he is
barred from proceeding in forma pauperis under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g). The Court therefore will order
Plaintiff to pay the $400.00 civil action filing fee
applicable to those not permitted to proceed in forma
pauperis. The Court also will dismiss Plaintiff
Gresham's complaint as a violation of the Court's
earlier order. Plaintiff Gresham will continue to be
responsible for payment of the $400.00 filing fee in
accordance with In re Alea, 286 F.3d 378, 380-81
(6th Cir. 2002). Finally, because the claims of the remaining
Plaintiffs are misjoined, the Court will dismissed them from
this action without prejudice.
Application of Three-Strikes Rule
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110
Stat. 1321(1996), which was enacted on April 26, 1996,
amended the procedural rules governing a prisoner's
request for the privilege of proceeding in forma
pauperis. As the Sixth Circuit has stated, the PLRA was
“aimed at the skyrocketing numbers of claims filed by
prisoners - many of which are meritless - and the
corresponding burden those filings have placed on the federal
courts.” Hampton v. Hobbs, 106 F.3d 1281, 1286
(6th Cir. 1997). For that reason, Congress put into place
economic incentives to prompt a prisoner to “stop and
think” before filing a complaint. Id. For
example, a prisoner is liable for the civil action filing
fee, and if the prisoner qualifies to proceed in forma
pauperis, the prisoner may pay the fee through partial
payments as outlined in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). The
constitutionality of the fee requirements of the PLRA has
been upheld by the Sixth Circuit. Id. at 1288.
addition, another provision reinforces the “stop and
think” aspect of the PLRA by preventing a prisoner from
proceeding in forma pauperis when the prisoner
repeatedly files meritless lawsuits. Known as the
“three-strikes” rule, the provision states:
In no event shall a prisoner bring a civil action or appeal a
judgment in a civil action or proceeding under [the section
governing proceedings in forma pauperis] if the
prisoner has, on 3 or more prior occasions, while
incarcerated or detained in any facility, brought an action
or appeal in a court of the United States that was dismissed
on the grounds that it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, unless the
prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). The statutory restriction
“[i]n no event, ” found in § 1915(g), is
express and unequivocal. The statute does allow an exception
for a prisoner who is “under imminent danger of serious
physical injury.” The Sixth Circuit has upheld the
constitutionality of the three-strikes rule against arguments
that it violates equal protection, the right of access to the
courts, and due process, and that it constitutes a bill of
attainder and is ex post facto legislation.
Wilson v. Yaklich, 148 F.3d 596, 604-06 (6th Cir.
1998); accord Pointer v. Wilkinson, 502 F.3d 369,
377 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Wilson, 148 F.3d at
604-06); Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1178-82
(9th Cir. 1999); Rivera v. Allin, 144 F.3d 719,
723-26 (11th Cir. 1998); Carson v. Johnson, 112 F.3d
818, 821-22 (5th Cir. 1997).
Gresham has been an active litigant in the federal courts in
Michigan. In eight of his cases, all of his claims were
dismissed because they were frivolous, malicious or failed to
state a claim. See Gresham v. Caruso et al., No.
2:10-cv-196 (W.D. Mich. Oct. 27, 2011); Gresham et al. v.
Canlis et al., No. 2:11-cv-179 (W.D. Mich. July 29,
2011); Gresham v. Paine et al., No. 1:10-cv-1146
(W.D. Mich. Mar. 8, 2011); Gresham v. Caruso et al.,
No. 1:10-cv-1038 (W.D. Mich. Jan. 26, 2011); Gresham v.
Wolak et al., No. 2:10-cv- 239 (W.D. Mich. July 25,
2011); Gresham v. Verville et al., No. 2:10-cv-198
(W.D. Mich. Jan. 19, 2011); Gresham v. Caruso et
al., No. 2:10-cv-195 (W.D. Mich. Apr. 11, 2011);
Gresham v. Mich. Dep't of Corr. et al., No.
2:07-cv-241 (W.D. Mich. June 9, 2008). Plaintiff also has
been denied leave to proceed in forma pauperis in
numerous cases. See Gresham v. Miniard et al., No.
1:16-cv-427 (W.D. Mich. June 7, 2016); Gresham v.
Christiansen et al., No. 1:16-cv-428 (W.D. Mich. May 13,
2016); Gresham v. Austin et al., 2:16-cv-71 (W.D.
Mich. May 2, 2016); Gresham et al. v. Yunker et al.,
No. 2:13-cv-221 (W.D. Mich. Aug. 29, 2013); Gresham v.
Nader et al., 2:13-cv-212 (W.D. Mich. July 22, 2013);
Gresham et al. v. Napel et al., No. 2:13-cv-176
(W.D. Mich. June 12, 2013); Gresham v. Prelesnik et
al., No. 1:12-cv-276 (W.D. Mich. July 2, 2012);
Gresham v. Czop et al., No. 1:12-cv-494 (W.D. Mich.
June 18, 2012); Gresham v. Heyns et al., No.
1:12-cv-277 (W.D. Mich. Apr. 11, 2012); Gresham v. Snyder
et al., No. 1:12-cv-143 (W.D. Mich. Mar. 6, 2012);
Gresham v. Mutschler et al., No. 2:12-cv-12 (W.D.
Mich. Apr. 20, 2012); Gresham v. Snyder et al., No.
2:12-cv-22 (W.D. Mich. Mar. 30, 2012); Gresham v.
Mutschler et al., No. 2:12-cv-9 (W.D. Mich. Feb. 10,
2012); Gresham v. Snyder et al., No. 2:12-cv-5 (W.D.
Mich. Jan. 27, 2012); Gresham v. Violetta et al.,
No. 2:12-cv-24 (W.D. Mich. Feb. 6, 2012); Gresham v. Dahl
et al., No. 2:12-cv-21 (W.D. Mich. Feb. 6, 2012);
Gresham v. Napel et al., No. 2:11-cv-520 (W.D. Mich.
Feb. 6, 2012); Gresham v. LaChance et al., No.
2:11-cv-231 (W.D. Mich. June 24, 2011); Dennis et al v.
Canlis et al., No. 2:11-cv-186 (W.D. Mich. June 6,
Plaintiff's allegations do not fall within the exception
to the three-strikes rule because he does not allege any
facts establishing that he is under imminent danger of
serious physical injury. Indeed, despite the length of his
complaint, Plaintiff's claims appear to arise out of all
of the alleged harms he has experience for more than four
years and amount to little more than a series of sometimes
irrational “demands, ” including the following:
immediate exoneration; expungement of his criminal record;
revival of all of his past actions in this Court; reform of
the prisons of the United States; permission to father 20 to
50 children; and removal of multiple judges of this Court.
Because Plaintiff's allegations do not meet the
imminent-danger exception, he is not entitled to proceed
in forma pauperis.
light of the foregoing, § 1915(g) prohibits Plaintiff
from proceeding in forma pauperis in this action.
Plaintiff therefore must pay the entire civil action filing
fee, which is $400.00. Plaintiff will continue to be
responsible for payment of the $400.00 filing fee,
notwithstanding the dismissal of his complaint.
Failure to Comply with Court Order
apparent from the preceding recitation of Plaintiff's
prior meritless actions and his failures to comply with the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the orders of this
Court, Judge Neff reasonably concluded that Plaintiff should
be placed under filing restrictions in this Court. See
Gresham v. Washington et al., No. 1:16-cv-1067 (W.D.
Mich. Jan. 6, 2016) (1:16cv1067, ECF Nos. 8, 10,
PagID.152-155, 158). As indicated above, those restrictions
barred Plaintiff from filing any complaint that (1) ...