United States District Court, E.D. Michigan
ORDER VACATING IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS, DISMISSING
ACTION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §1915(G), ENJOINING
PLAINTIFF, FINDING ECF NOS. 105, 118, 119, 120, 121, 123 AND
124 MOOT AND DIRECTING CLERK'S OFFICE TO IMPOSE
PRE-FILING RESTRICTIONS CONSISTENT WITH THIS ORDER
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Lance Goldman, a litigious state prisoner, filed this pro
se civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 on December 19, 2017 alleging that various employees of
the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) violated his
constitutional rights. The Court granted Plaintiff's
Application to Proceed in forma pauperis on January
review of this matter, the Court finds that this matter must
be dismissed pursuant to the “three strikes”
provision of 28 U.S.C. 1915(g) because at the time Plaintiff
filed the instant complaint he had previously filed at least
three cases that were dismissed as frivolous or for failure
to state a claim and he was not under imminent danger of
serious physical injury.
LAW & ANALYSIS
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 (“PLRA”),
Pub. L. No. 104 134, 110 Stat. 1321(1996), requires a
prisoner who “brings a civil action or files an appeal
in forma pauperis . . . to pay the full amount of a filing
fee.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1); see also In Re
Prison Litigation Reform Act, 105 F.3d 1131, 1138 (6th
Cir. 1997). Section 1915 provides prisoners the opportunity
to make a “down payment” of a partial filing fee
and pay the remainder in installments. Miller v.
Campbell, 108 F.Supp.2d 960, 962 (W.D. Tenn. 2000);
see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b).
prevents prisoners from proceeding in forma pauperis in a
civil action under certain circumstances. District courts
must dismiss a case where the prisoner seeks to proceed in
forma pauperis and on three or more previous occasions a
federal court has dismissed the prisoner's action because
it was frivolous or malicious or failed to state a claim for
which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
“three strikes” provision, “prohibits
prisoners who have brought multiple frivolous appeals from
receiving pauper status.” Coleman v.
Tollefson, 733 F.3d 175, 176 (6th Cir. 2013), as
amended on denial of reh'g and reh'g en
banc (Jan. 17, 2014), aff'd, 135 S.Ct.
1759 (2015). This ban extends to both “appeals and
actions.” Taylor v. First Med. Mgmt., 508
Fed.Appx. 488, 495 (6th Cir. 2012). A prisoner who is thus
prohibited from proceeding as a pauper must pay the filing
fee in full “before his action may proceed.”
Butler v. United States, 53 Fed.Appx. 748, 749 (6th
Cir. 2002). A prisoner who would otherwise qualify for a
“three-strikes” dismissal may still proceed on a
new complaint, if he is “under imminent danger of
serious physical injury.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
the Court permitted Plaintiff to proceed in forma
pauperis in error because on the date that Plaintiff
brought the instant action, he had previously filed at least
three federal actions that were dismissed as frivolous,
malicious or for failing to state a claim. Goldman v.
Michigan, No. 1:17-CV-774, 2017 WL 4173509, at *4 (W.D.
Mich. Sept. 21, 2017) (failure to state a claim),
reconsideration denied, 2017 WL 6805682 (W.D. Mich.
Nov. 7, 2017); Goldman v. Consumers Credit Union,
No. 1:16-CV-1372, 2017 WL 1404862, at *1 (W.D. Mich. Apr. 20,
2017) (failure to state a claim); Goldman v. N.C.
Prisoner Legal Svcs., No. 5:13-ct-03158-F (E.D. N.C.
Oct. 9, 2014) (frivolous); Goldman v. Johnson, et
al., No. 5:11-CT-3031-D (E.D. N.C. Sept. 16, 2011)
Sixth Circuit's decision in Vandiver v. Prison Health
Servs., Inc., 727 F.3d 580 (6th Cir. 2013), guides the
evaluation of a claim of imminent danger. First, while a
plaintiff need not “affirmatively prove those
allegations at this stage of the litigation, ”
id. at 585 (quoting Tucker v. Pentrich, 483
Fed.App'x. 28, 30 (6th Cir.2012)), the statutory
exception claim is still subject to “the ordinary
principles of notice pleading.” Id. (citing
Vandiver v. Vasbinder, 416 Fed.Appx. 561, 562 (6th
Cir. 2011)); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)
(requiring only “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief”).
Pro se plaintiffs are entitled to have their pleadings
liberally construed and are “held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Vandiver v. PHS, Inc., 727 F.3d at 585 (quoting
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)). Read
against that standard, a plaintiff's complaint must
“allege facts from which a court, informed by its
judicial experience and common sense, could draw the
reasonable inference that [the plaintiff] was under an
existing danger at the time he filed his complaint.”
Id. (quoting Taylor, 508 Fed. App'x at
threats or conditions must be alleged to be “real and
proximate and the danger of serious physical injury must
exist at the time the complaint is filed.” Id.
(citing Rittner v. Kinder, 290 Fed. App'x 796,
797 (6th Cir. 2008)). Past dangers do not qualify.
Id. (citations omitted). In addition, “the
allegations must be sufficient to allow a court to draw
reasonable inferences that the danger exists.”
Id. Courts will not find the exception met when the
imminent danger claims are “conclusory or ridiculous or
are clearly baseless (i.e. are fantastic or delusional and
rise to the level of irrational or wholly incredible).”
Id. (quoting Rittner, 290 Fed. App'x at
complaint fails to establish imminent danger. Plaintiff's
complaint alleges First Amendment retaliation against several
employees at the MDOC's Parnall Correctional Facility.
Plaintiff maintains that Defendants issued him false
misconduct tickets because of Plaintiff's grievance
writing. While Plaintiff alleges that one of the Defendants
threatened him for grievance writing by warning him if he
kept it up, “he'd pay for it, ” this is a
vague threat that does not necessarily threaten physical
harm. Because Plaintiff has filed at least three previous
lawsuits that were dismissed as frivolous or for failure to
state a claim while he has been incarcerated and Plaintiff
cannot establish imminent danger, his Complaint is subject to
dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). See Gresham v.
Stewart, No. 13-10189, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2498 (E.D.
Mich. Jan. 9, 2017) (noting that “courts are permitted
to revoke previously granted in forma pauperis
status if it later becomes evident that the original IFP
status should not have been granted.”)(internal
quotation marks and citation omitted).
the Court finds it appropriate to address Plaintiff's
abusive and harassing litigation strategies. Plaintiff is not
only a well-known litigant in this district, but other
districts as well. He has filed at least 11 cases in this
district alone with a total of at least 45 cases in various
federal district courts throughout the country. ECF No. 119,
PageID.1337. Moreover, in these proceedings, Plaintiff has
ignored and disobeyed orders of this Court. Since the
inception of this lawsuit, Plaintiff has filed at least 52
motions and/or letters, the majority of which do not relate
to the allegations in the original complaint. By August of
2018, Plaintiff sought to amend his complaint to add
allegations that would expand the scope of the original
filing on at least five separate occasions. ECF No. 43.
Because of this, Magistrate Judge Anthony Patti cautioned
Plaintiff in September of 2018 that “any attempt to
expand the scope of his original complaint without the
Court's permission will be stricken from the record. This
would include events occurring before June 26, 2017 or after
his December 19, 2017 original complaint was filed, as well
as any additional Defendants and locations associated with an
expanded time period.” Id. at PageID.657.
Magistrate Judge Patti permitted Plaintiff an opportunity to
amend his original complaint as long as it complied with
these parameters. Id. Plaintiff failed to submit an
amended complaint. ECF No. 69, PageID.859.
Magistrate Judge Patti's warning, between September of
2018 and April of 2019, Plaintiff submitted at least ten
filings in contravention of Judge Patti's warning that
the scope of this matter would not be expanded to include
incidents occurring at different correctional facilities
against different defendants ...