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Jones v. Byerly

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

September 10, 2019

KEVIN JEROME JONES (TDCJ No. 1169005), Plaintiff,
M. BYERLY, ET AL., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Kevin Jerome Jones, a Texas prisoner, has filed a pro se civil rights complaint alleging that he was denied due process related to a disciplinary proceeding at TDCJ's Eastham Unit and requesting damages. See Dkt. No. 3.

         And he has moved for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). See Dkt. No. 4.

         His action has been referred to the undersigned United States magistrate judge for pretrial management under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and a standing order of reference from Chief Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn.

         And the undersigned enters these findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation that the Court should summarily dismiss this action without prejudice under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) unless, within the time for filing objections to this recommendation or by some other deadline established by the Court, Jones pays the full filing fee of $400.00.

         Applicable Background, Legal Standards, and Analysis

         Prisoners may not proceed IFP if, while incarcerated or detained in any facility, they have filed three or more civil actions or appeals in federal court that were dismissed as frivolous, malicious, or for failure to state a claim. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).

         Jones is subject to this three-strikes bar. See Jones v. Spurlock, No. 3:19-cv-66-G-BT (N.D. Tex.), Dkt. No. 6 at 2 (finding that Jones “has accrued three strikes under § 1915(g)” (citing Jones v. Bd. of Pardons & Parole, No. 18-11555 (5th Cir. Jan. 4, 2019) (finding that he was barred from proceeding IFP due to three strikes and dismissing appeal for failure to pay the filing fee))); id., Dkt. No. 9 (judgment dismissing Jones's action as barred by Section 1915(g)); see also Jones v. Roberts, No. 9:19-CV-65, 2019 WL 2521141 (E.D. Tex. May 15, 2019), rec. adopted, 2019 WL 2515316 (N.D. Tex. June 17, 2019) (recognizing that Jones is barred by Section 1915(g)); Jones v. Hutto, No. 3:19-cv-1359-N-BN, 2019 WL 3307068 (N.D. Tex. June 11, 2019), rec. accepted, 2019 WL 3304791 (N.D. Tex. July 23, 2019) (same); Jones v. Johnson, No. 9:19-CV-95, 2019 WL 3782137 (E.D. Tex. June 10, 2019), rec. adopted, 2019 WL 3776375 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 10, 2019) (same).

         The only exception to this bar is when the prisoner is “under imminent danger of serious physical injury.” Id. But, in order to meet the “imminent danger” exception, “the ‘threat or prison condition [must be] real and proximate.'” Valdez v. Bush, No. 3:08-cv-1481-N, 2008 WL 4710808, at *1 (N.D. Tex. Oct. 24, 2008) (quoting Ciarpaglini v. Saini, 352 F.3d 328, 330 (7th Cir. 2003)). “Allegations of past harm do not suffice - the harm must be imminent or occurring at the time the complaint is filed.” Id.; see also McGrew v. La. State Penitentiary Mental Health Dep't, 459 Fed.Appx. 370, 370 (5th Cir. 2012) (per curiam) (“The determination whether a prisoner is under ‘imminent danger' must be made at the time the prisoner seeks to file his suit in district court, when he files his notice of appeal, or when he moves for IFP status.” (citing Baños v. O'Guin, 144 F.3d 883, 884-85 (5th Cir. 1998))).

         A prisoner must “allege specific facts” to support the imminent-danger exception. Valdez, 2008 WL 4710808, at *1. “General allegations that are not grounded in specific facts which indicate that serious physical injury is imminent are not sufficient to invoke the exception to § 1915(g).” Id. (quoting Niebla v. Walton Corr. Inst., No. 3:06-cv-275-LAC-EMT, 2006 WL 2051307, at *2 (N.D. Fla. July 20, 2006)).

         Thus, the “specific allegations” must reflect “ongoing serious physical injury” or “a pattern of misconduct evidencing the likelihood of imminent serious physical injury.” Martin v. Shelton, 319 F.3d 1048, 1050 (8th Cir. 2003). For example, as to allegedly inadequate medical care, use of “the past tense when describing” symptoms - which should be corroborated by medical records or grievances - is not sufficient to allege imminent danger. Stone v. Jones, 459 Fed.Appx. 442, 2012 WL 278658, at *1 (5th Cir. Jan. 31, 2012) (per curiam).

         And there must be a nexus between the claims made and the imminent danger alleged. See Stine v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons Designation & Sentence Computation Unit, No. 3:13-cv-4253-B, 2013 WL 6640391, at *2 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 17, 2013) (citations omitted), aff'd, 571 Fed.Appx. 352 (5th Cir. 2014) (per curiam).

         As Jones's current civil action falls under the three-strikes provision, he may not proceed without the prepayment of fees unless he shows that he is subject to imminent danger of serious physical injury. But his complaint lacks substantive factual allegations to show that he currently is in imminent danger of serious physical injury as to overcome Section 1915(g). The Court should therefore bar Jones from proceeding IFP. See Adepegba v. Hammons, 103 F.3d 383, 388 (5th Cir. 1996).

         Reco ...

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