United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
PERRY R. NEAL, Plaintiff,
STEVE DANIELS, THOMAS WICKEHAM, DIVISION OF COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS, and WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendants. v.
STADTMUELLER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
who is incarcerated at Stanley Correctional Institution,
filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging that his civil rights were violated.
See (Docket #1). On May 4, 2018, the Court assessed
an initial partial filing fee (“IPFF”) of $7.59
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1951(b)(1). See (Docket
#8). Plaintiff then requested that the entire $350 filing fee
in this matter, including both the IPFF and the remaining
balance, be paid from his prison release account. (Docket
#10). The Court allowed Plaintiff to pay the IPFF from his
release account but explained that it would not allow him to
pay the entire filing fee from that account. (Docket #12).
The Court instructed Plaintiff to request that the
institution disburse the IPFF from his release account.
Id. at 2.
12, 2018, Plaintiff filed what purports to be a motion for
reconsideration of the Court's order denying him access
to his release account for the full filing fee. (Docket #14).
For the reasons stated below, the Court will deny the motion.
Court may not order a disbursement from Plaintiff's
prison release account to pay the full filing fee in this
matter. The most the Court can do is, as it has already done,
permit the IPFF to be paid from his release account. See
Doty v. Doyle, 182 F.Supp.2d 750, 751 (E.D. Wis. 2002)
(noting that “the federal Prison Litigation Reform Act
[(“PLRA”)]. . .authorize[s] the courts to order
that. . .a prisoner's release account be made available
[to pay an IPFF]”). The Court lacks the
authority-statutory or otherwise-to allow a prisoner to tap
into his release account to pay current (or future)
litigation costs beyond the IPFF. Cf. Wilson v.
Anderson, No. 14-CV-0798, 2014 WL 3671878, at *3 (E.D.
Wis. July 23, 2014) (declining to order that a prisoner's
full filing fee be paid from his release account,
“[g]iven the [DOC's] rationale for segregating
funds into a release account” and the absence of any
statutory authority compelling the court to do so).
prisoners the use of their release accounts to fund
litigation costs is also prudent given that those accounts
are “restricted account[s] maintained by the [DOC] to
be used upon the prisoner's release from custody.”
Id. Permitting a prisoner to invade that account for
litigation costs could be a detriment to the prisoner's
likelihood of success post-incarceration, see Wis.
Adm. Code. § DOC 309.466 (stating that disbursements
from a prisoner's release account are authorized
“for purposes that will aid the inmate's
reintegration into the community”), especially if the
prisoner is overly litigious. As the Seventh Circuit has
instructed, “like any other civil litigant, [a
prisoner] must decide which of [his] legal actions is
important enough to fund, ” Lindell v.
McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1111 (7th Cir. 2003); thus, if
a prisoner concludes that “the limitations on his funds
prevent him from prosecuting [a] case with the full vigor he
wishes to prosecute it, he is free to choose to dismiss it
voluntarily and bring it at a later date.” Williams
v. Berge, No. 02-CV-10, 2002 WL 32350026, at *8 (W.D.
Wis. Apr. 30, 2002). He is not free, however, to tap into his
release account to cover those legal costs.
arguments to the contrary lack merit. First, he cites a 2016
letter he received from prison officials stating that they
cannot disburse release account funds toward court filing
fees without a court order. (Docket #14-1). For the reasons
stated above, the Court finds it imprudent to permit
Plaintiff to invade his release account for the entire filing
fee but will permit the IPFF to be paid therefrom. Plaintiff
has some funds, however meager, in his regular trust account,
and it is from those funds that the balance of the filing fee
in this matter will be paid over time. Moreover, while
Plaintiff suggests that he was allowed to pay the filing fee
in another matter using his release account funds,
see (Docket #14 at 2), this Court will not do so for
the reasons it has already given.
consequence, the Court is obliged to deny Plaintiff's
request to pay the entire filing fee from his release
account. He must submit a disbursement request to the
institution so that the IPFF can be paid from his release
account. If the IPFF is not received by the Court within
fourteen (14) days of the date of this Order, this case will
be dismissed for Plaintiff's failure to prosecute the
same. Civ. L. R. 41(c); Fischer v. Cingular Wireless,
LLC, 446 F.3d 663, 665 (7th Cir. 2006).
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion to use his release
account to pay the full filing fee in this matter (Docket
#14) be and the same is hereby DENIED;
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall pay the IPFF in this
matter, $7.59, within fourteen (14) days of the date of this
Order by requesting a disbursement of that amount from his
inmate release account, otherwise this matter will be
FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order be sent to the
officer in charge of the ...