United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S
COMPLAINT UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)
TERRENCE G. BERG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Charles Lamar Blackwell (“Blackwell”), proceeding
pro se, filed the instant lawsuit along with an
application to proceed in forma pauperis. Dkt. 1.
Plaintiff's Application to Proceed Without Prepaying
has filed an application to proceed in forma
pauperis, or without the prepayment of fees. Dkt. 2.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1):
[A]ny court of the United States may authorize the
commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or
proceeding . . . without prepayment of fees or security
therefor, by a person who submits an affidavit that includes
a statement of all assets . . . [and] that the person is
unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). If an application to proceed
in forma pauperis is filed along with a facially
sufficient affidavit, the Court should permit the complaint
to be filed. See Gibson v. R.G. Smith Co., 915 F.2d
260, 261 (1990). Once the complaint has been filed, it is
then tested to determine whether it is frivolous or if it
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
See Gibson, 915 F.2d at 261. The Court finds that
Plaintiff's application to proceed without the prepayment
of fees, Dkt. 2, is facially sufficient; therefore, the Court
will grant Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma
Dismissal Under § 1915(e)(2)
courts are directed to construe a pro se
litigant's complaint liberally, Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), pro se
litigants are nevertheless required to plead facts sufficient
to show that a legal wrong has been committed that can be
remedied under the law. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(b)(6). Congress provides in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)
that a court “shall dismiss the case” if it finds
that a plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis has
filed a complaint that: 1) fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, 2) seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief, or 3) reflects an
action that is frivolous or malicious. 28 U.S.C. §
complaint states that he is a student enrolled at Schoolcraft
College and requests the Court's “approval to be
able to use the (PACER) system and be exempt from fees for a
time period of 12 months.” Dkt. 1, Pg. ID 6. Plaintiff
states that he is aware of an existing balance that he has
with PACER, and explains that he will attempt to resolve that
balance as soon as he can. Id. Finally, Plaintiff
states that “I'm indigent now and I'm asking
the Court for Exemption Status so that I can use it for my
college course work and the interest of public disclosure
without the heavy financial burden.” Id.
Electronic Public Access Fee Schedule-issued in accordance
with 28 U.S.C. §§ 1913, 1914, 1926, 1930, and 1932-
Courts may exempt certain persons or classes of persons from
payment of the user access fee. Examples of individuals and
groups that a court may consider exempting include:
indigents, bankruptcy case trustees, pro bono
attorneys, pro bono alternative dispute resolution
neutrals, Section 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations, and
individual researchers associated with educational
Electronic Public Access Fee Schedule ¶ 9, available
at https:// www.pacer.gov/documents/epafeesched.pdf.
Neither the Electronic Public Assess Fee Schedule nor the
underlying statutes create a private right of action which
would allow an individual to bring suit to obtain such a fee
exemption. Here, Plaintiff's request for fee-exempt PACER
access is not connected to an underlying lawsuit involving
Plaintiff; rather, it reflects the entirety of
Plaintiff's lawsuit before this Court. Moreover,
Plaintiff's complaint fails to allege facts which would
lead this Court to reasonably infer that the Defendant,
PACER, is “liable for the alleged misconduct, ”
to state a valid claim for relief. See Ashcroft v.
Iqbal¸ 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
reviewing Plaintiff's complaint, and for the reasons
expressed in this order, the Court finds that the complaint
fails to plead facts sufficient to show that a legal wrong
has been committed that can be remedied under the law. The
Court therefore finds that the Complaint fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted, and dismisses it
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
there may be a solution to the problem that appears to have
prompted Plaintiff to file this case: he can seek an
exemption based on his indigency. Therefore, the Court
directs Plaintiff to send a letter with his request for
fee-exempt PACER access to David Weaver, the Court
Administrator and Clerk of Court for the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of
Michigan. Upon receipt, ...