United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
INITIAL ORDER FOR PRO SE PRISONERS
have filed this federal civil rights lawsuit pro se,
that is, without the help of a lawyer. There are rules and
procedures that you must follow in order to proceed with your
lawsuit, even though you are not a lawyer.
Follow All Court Rules. You must comply with the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure as well as Local Rules for the
Eastern District of Arkansas. In particular, Local Rule
5.5(c)(2) provides that:
It is the duty of any party not represented by counsel to
promptly notify the Clerk and the other parties to the
proceedings of any change in his or her address, to monitor
the progress of the case, and to prosecute or defend the
action diligently. A party appearing for himself/herself must
sign his/her pleadings and state his/her address, zip code,
and telephone number. If any communication from the Court to
a pro se plaintiff is not responded to within thirty
(30) days, the case may be dismissed without prejudice. Any
party proceeding pro se must be expected to be
familiar with and follow the Federal Rules of Civil
The Three Strikes Rule. The Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g), provides that:
In no event shall a prisoner bring a civil action or appeal a
judgment in a civil action or proceeding under this section
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.
Service of Defendants. All Defendants must be served within
120 days of the filing of the Complaint. This includes
“John/Jane Doe” Defendants. It is your
responsibility to identify all Defendants, including
“Doe” Defendants. The Court will order service on
all properly identified Defendants, but you are responsible
for providing valid service addresses for each of them. Any
Defendant who is not served within 120 days will be
dismissed, without prejudice, from the lawsuit. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m); Lee v. Armontrout, 991 F.2d
487, 489 (8th Cir. 1993).
No Right to Appointed Counsel. This is a civil case. Unlike
criminal cases, there is no right to have an appointed lawyer
in a civil case. Phillips v. Jasper County Jail, 437
F.3d 791, 794 (8th Cir. 2006). If your case proceeds to a
jury trial, however, a lawyer will be appointed to assist
Do Not File Discovery. Discovery requests (such as
interrogatories and requests for production of documents) and
responses to discovery requests cannot be filed with the
Court. Instead, you must mail discovery requests and
responses directly to counsel for the Defendant. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(d). Do not mail discovery requests to
Defendants' counsel until after he or she has
filed an Answer or Motion to Dismiss.
Do Not Send Documents to the Court, Except in Two Situations.
You may send documents or other evidence to the Court
only if: (1) it is attached to a Motion for Summary
Judgment, or a Response thereto; or (2) the Court orders you
to file documents or other evidence.
Witnesses. If your case is set for trial, as your trial date
approaches, you will be asked to provide a witness list.
After reviewing your witness list, the Court will subpoena
the necessary witnesses.
Filing Fee. Every civil case filed by a prisoner requires the
plaintiff to pay a filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. A $400
filing fee must be paid at the beginning of the lawsuit
unless the plaintiff cannot afford to pay the entire fee at
once. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee in a lump
sum, you may file a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis (“IFP motion”). If you are granted
IFP status, the filing fee is $350, which will be collected
in installments from your prisoner account. Importantly, the
entire filing fee will be collected, even if your lawsuit is
IFP motion contained a blank prisoner calculation sheet. The
Court must have that form properly completed by jail
officials to determine whether you are entitled to proceed
IFP, and if so, the amount of your initial partial filing
fee. You claim that you have not done so because you fear
jail officials will retaliate against you if they learn about
this lawsuit. However, if the Court determines that you have
pled a viable claim, it must serve your Complaint on the
Defendants. Thus, Defendants, and other jail officials, will
know about your claims either sooner or later.
Clerk is directed to mail you a prisoner calculation sheet.
If you wish to proceed with this lawsuit, you must return a
properly completed prisoner calculation sheet to the Clerk on
or before June 16, 2016. If you do not timely ...