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Robertson v. Mapes

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division

November 6, 2019

BRAD ROBERTSON PLAINTIFF
v.
MAPES, Warden, NEACCC DEFENDANT

          INITIAL ORDER FOR PRO SE PRISONERS

         You and Nathan Zachary McMullan have filed a single civil rights complaint that was severed into two separate lawsuits. This is the case number for your lawsuit. You are proceeding pro se, which means, without a lawyer. Nevertheless, there are rules and procedures that you must follow in order to proceed with your lawsuit.

         First: 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 Procedure.

         Second: 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.

         Third: Service of Defendants. All Defendants must be served within 90 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 90 days may 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). Service is not appropriate at this time.

         Fourth: 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 you.

         Fifth: 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.

         Sixth: 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.

         Seventh: 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 dismissed.

         You have not paid the $400 filing fee or filed an IFP motion for your case. The Clerk will be directed to send you a prisoner IFP application, along with an institutional trust fund account statement. You will be given until December 6, 2019 to either: (1) pay the $400 filing fee for your case; or (2) file an IFP motion. If you file an IFP motion, you must have an authorized jail official complete and sign the trust fund account statement and certificate.

         Eighth: Signature. You did not sign the § 1983 Complaint. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(a) (a pro se litigant must sign every pleading and motion and a court “must strike an unsigned paper unless the omission is promptly corrected”). You will be given until December 6, 2019 to correct this deficiency.

         Ninth: Screening. After the filing fee and signature issues are resolved, the Court will screen your Complaint, [1] determine whether service is ...


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