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Fedd v. State

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

December 9, 2019

LEVI ARTHUR FEDD, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF GEORGIA., Respondent.

          ORDER OF DISMISSAL

          MARC T. TREADWELL, JUDGE

         Plaintiff Levi Arthur Fedd, an inmate in Ware State Prison in Waycross, Georgia, has filed a pro se motion for a writ of mandamus, Mot. for Writ of Mandamus, ECF No. 1, and a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Mot. for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, ECF No. 2. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED, and his motion for a writ of mandamus is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. If Plaintiff wants to proceed on his claims, he must file a new action and pay the full $400.00 filing fee.

         I. Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         With regard to a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, federal law prohibits a prisoner from bringing a civil action[1] in federal court in forma pauperis

if [he] 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.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). This is known as the “three strikes provision.” Under § 1915(g), a prisoner incurs a “strike” any time he has a federal lawsuit or appeal dismissed on the grounds that it is frivolous or malicious or fails to state a claim. Medberry v. Butler, 185 F.3d 1189, 1193 (11th Cir. 1999). If a prisoner incurs three strikes, his ability to proceed in forma pauperis in federal court is greatly limited: leave may not be granted unless the prisoner alleges an “imminent danger of serious physical injury.” Id.

         A review of court records on the Federal Judiciary's Public Access to Court Electronic Records (“PACER”) database reveals that Plaintiff has filed multiple federal lawsuits and that at least three of his complaints or appeals have been dismissed as frivolous or malicious or for failure to state a claim. See, e.g., Order Dismissing Appeal, Fedd v. Swanner, No. 16-11318-G (11th Cir. June 30, 2017) (three-judge panel dismissing appeal as frivolous); Order Dismissing Appeal, Fedd. v. Singh, No. 16-11805 (11th Cir. Feb. 2, 2017) (three-judge panel dismissing appeal as frivolous); Order Dismissing Compl., Fedd. v. Almedom, No. 5:15-cv-00104-MTT-CHW (M.D. Ga. Feb. 12, 2016) ECF No. 48 (dismissing for failure to state a claim and failure to exhaust). Petitioner is accordingly barred from prosecuting this action in forma pauperis unless he is in imminent danger of serious physical injury. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).

         To qualify for this exception, a prisoner must allege specific facts that describe an “ongoing serious physical injury” or “a pattern of misconduct evidencing the likelihood of imminent serious physical injury.” Sutton v. Dist. Attorney's Office, 334 Fed.Appx. 278, 279 (11th Cir. 2009) (per curiam) (internal quotation marks omitted). Complaints of past injuries are not sufficient. See Medberry, 185 F.3d at 1193. Vague and unsupported claims of possible dangers likewise do not suffice. See White v. State of Colo., 157 F.3d 1226, 1231-32 (10th Cir. 1998). The exception to § 1915(g) is to be applied only in “genuine emergencies, ” when (1) “time is pressing, ” (2) the “threat or prison condition is real and proximate, ” and (3) the “potential consequence is ‘serious physical injury.'” Lewis v. Sullivan, 279 F.3d 526, 531 (7th Cir. 2002).

         In this case, Plaintiff seeks an order directing that the State provide him with a transcript of his trial so that he may use it in a habeas corpus proceeding. Mot. for Writ of Mandamus, ECF No. 1. Nothing in Plaintiff's petition suggests that he is in imminent danger of serious physical injury. Thus, because Plaintiff has not alleged facts demonstrating that he was in imminent danger of serious physical injury when he filed his complaint, Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED.

         II. Preliminary Review

         Even if Petitioner was permitted to proceed in forma pauperis, his Petition would still be subject to dismissal. Because Petitioner is a prisoner “seeking redress from a governmental entity or [an] officer or employee of a governmental entity, ” the Court is required to conduct a preliminary screening of his Complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). When conducting a preliminary screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true. Boxer X v. Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006). Pro se pleadings, like the one in this case, are “held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys and will, therefore, be liberally construed. Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Still, the Court must dismiss a prisoner complaint if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         A claim is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Miller v. Donald, 541 F.3d 1091, 1100 (11th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court may dismiss claims that are based on “indisputably meritless legal” theories and “claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). A complaint fails to state a claim if it does not include “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).

         In his petition, Petitioner seeks an order requiring the State of Georgia to provide him with hearing transcripts from his criminal trial. Even when liberally construed, Petitioner's application does not seek relief available from this Court, as the United States District Courts do not have the authority to issue writs compelling action by state officials in the performance of their duties. See Moye v. Clerk, DeKalb Cnty. Superior Court, 474 F.2d 1275, 1276 (5th Cir. 1973) (per curiam);[2] see also Lawrence v. Miami-Dade Cnty. State Attorney Office, 272 Fed.Appx. 781, 781 (11th Cir. 2008) (per curiam) (“Because the only relief [petitioner] sought was a writ of mandamus compelling action from state officials, not federal officials, the district court lacked jurisdiction to grant relief and did not err in dismissing the petition.”) Accordingly, this Petition is subject to dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         III. ...


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