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Rodriguez v. Macon State Prison

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

September 16, 2019

HJALMAR RODRIGUEZ, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
MACON STATE PRISON, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          MARC T. TREADWELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         Following a jury trial and entry of final judgment in favor of the Defendants, Plaintiff Hjalmar Rodriguez, Jr. filed a notice of appeal. Doc. 319. In his notice of appeal, the Plaintiff stated that he was unable to pay the filing fee, and prison officials would not provide him a certified copy of his trust fund account statement so that he could petition to proceed in forma pauperis. Doc. 319 at 1. The Plaintiff moved for the Court to order prison officials to produce a copy of his trust fund account statement. Doc. 322. The Court granted Plaintiff's motion. Doc. 323. Prison officials complied with the Court's Order and produced a certified copy of Plaintiff's trust fund account statement. Doc. 324.

         Applications to appeal in forma pauperis are governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and Fed. R. App. P. 24. 28 U.S.C. § 1915 provides:

(a)(1) [A]ny court of the United States may authorize the commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or proceeding, civil or criminal, or appeal therein, without prepayment of fees or security therefor, by a person who submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets such prisoner possesses that the person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor. Such affidavit shall state the nature of the action, defense or appeal and affiant's belief that the person is entitled to redress. . . .
(3) An appeal may not be taken in forma pauperis if the trial court certifies in writing that it is not taken in good faith.

         Similarly, Fed. R. App. P. 24(a) provides:

(1) [A] party to a district-court action who desires to appeal in forma pauperis must file a motion in the district court. The party must attach an affidavit that:
(A) shows . . . the party's inability to pay or to give security for fees and costs;
(B) claims an entitlement to redress; and
(C) states the issues that the party intends to present on appeal.
(2) If the district court denies the motion, it must state its reasons in writing.

         Thus, the Court must make two determinations when faced with an application to proceed in forma pauperis. First, it must determine whether the Plaintiff is financially able to pay the filing fee required for an appeal. Documents filed in this Court on August 14, 2019 indicate that the Plaintiff is unable to pay the $505 appellate filing fee. Doc. 324.

         Next, the Court must determine if the Plaintiff has satisfied the good faith requirement. “‘[G]ood faith' . . . must be judged by an objective standard.” Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 445 (1962). The plaintiff demonstrates good faith when he seeks review of a non-frivolous issue. Id. An issue “is frivolous if it is ‘without arguable merit either in law or fact.'” Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528, 531 (11th Cir. 2002) (citations omitted). “Arguable means capable of being convincingly argued.” Sun v. Forrester, 939 F.2d 924, 925 (11th Cir. 1991) (quotation marks and citations omitted); Carroll v. Gross, 984 F.2d 392, 393 (11th Cir. 1993) (“[A] case is frivolous . . . when it appears the plaintiff ‘has little or no chance of success.'”) (citations omitted). “In deciding whether an [in forma pauperis] appeal is frivolous, a district court determines whether there is ‘a factual and legal basis . . . for the asserted wrong, however inartfully pleaded.'” Sun, 939 F.2d at 925 (citations omitted).

         Although somewhat difficult to decipher, it appears that the Plaintiff is appealing the following pretrial orders: (1) July 9, 2015 Order adopting in part the Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge, Doc 52; (2) April 25, 2016 Order granting Defendants' motion to vacate entry of default judgment as to Defendant Burnside, Doc. 118; (3) October 6, 2017 Order adopting the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation as modified, Doc. 183; (4) October 6, 2017 Order adopting the Recommendation to deny Plaintiff's motions for preliminary injunctive relief, Doc. 184; (5) March 20, 2018 Order denying Plaintiff's motions for extension, motion for additional discovery, motion to compel, motion to stay, and motion for a discovery conference, Doc. 217; (6) July 13, 2018 Order denying Plaintiff's motion to compel, motion to stay, and motion for reconsideration, Doc. 267; (7) July 13, 2018 Order denying Plaintiff's motion for clarification and notice, motion for extension, motion for copies, and motion for a hearing, Doc. 268; (8) July 20, 2018 Order denying Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration, ...


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