United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
L. Litkovitz United States Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the Court on plaintiffs motion to waive the
filing fee and to reimburse him for amounts he has paid
towards the fee. (Doc. 46).
the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), the
moment a prisoner files his complaint with the Court, he
becomes "responsible for the filing fee" and
"waive[s] any objection to the withdrawal of funds from
his trust fund account to pay court fees and costs."
Patterson v. Mackie, No. 13-15149, 2014 WL 1478437,
at *1 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 15, 2014); see also McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 605 (6th Cir. 1997)
("by filing the complaint the prisoner waives any
objection to the fee assessment by the district court"
and "to the withdrawal of funds from the trust account
by prison officials to pay the prisoner's court fees and
PLRA does not allow for the cancellation of a prisoner's
obligation to pay the full filing fee after the complaint is
filed. See Goins v. Decaro, 241 F.3d 260, 261 (2nd
Cir. 2001) ("The PLRA makes no provision for return of
fees partially paid or for cancellation of the remaining
indebtedness in the event an appeal is withdrawn. That is not
surprising, since a congressional objective in enacting the
PLRA was to make all prisoners seeking to bring lawsuits or
appeals feel the deterrent effect created by liability for
filing fees.") (internal quotation and citation
omitted); see also Ippolito v. Buss, 293 F.Supp.2d
881, 883 (N.D. Ind. 2003) (pointing out that the PLRA does
not contain exceptions to or exemptions from the requirement
that prisoners bear the cost of the full filing fee). Cf.
Watley v. Parks, No. 1:Olcv622, 2013 WL 3467044, at *1
(S.D. Ohio July 9, 2013) (Bowman, M.J.) (Report &
Recommendation) (citing Gains in a
"long-closed" case as support for denying the
prisoner-plaintiffs motion for relief from the Court's
previous Order to pay the full filing fee as required by the
PLRA), adopted, 2013 WL 3934345 (S.D. Ohio July 30,
2013) (Beckwith, S.J.).
accordance with a Second Circuit precedent, the Sixth Circuit
has held that "a prisoner is obligated to pay assessed
fees and costs only while he or she remains
incarcerated." McGore, 114 F.3d at 612-13
(citing McGann v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., 96
F.3d 28, 29-30 (2nd Cir. 1996)). "After release, the
obligation to pay the remainder of the fees is to be
determined [by the district court] solely on the question of
whether the released individual qualifies for pauper
status" as a non-prisoner. Id. at 613; see
also Smith v. City of Chattanooga, No. 1:10cv206, 2010
WL 5257238, at *l (E.D. Term. Dec. 17, 2010).
juncture, plaintiff is yet to be released from prison. He
therefore remains obligated to pay the filing fee by making
monthly installment payments to the Court until he has
satisfied the full amount due. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2)
provides in pertinent part:
After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner
shall be required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of
the preceding month's income credited to the
prisoner's account. The agency having custody of the
prisoner shall forward payments from the prisoner's
account to the clerk of the court each time the amount in the
account exceeds $10 until the filing fees are paid.
PLRA contains no language suggesting that the courts have
authority or any discretion to allow prisoners to depart or
deviate from the payment schedule explicitly set out in that
statutory provision. Cf. Ippolito, 293 F.Supp.2d at
883 ("there is nothing [in § 1915(b)(2)] suggesting
that the court may depart from the explicit language of the
statute [or] that a prisoner may deviate from the payment
schedule, or that a court may .. . defer a prisoner's
payment until he is released from custody"). Indeed, as
the district court in Ippolito pointed out,
"deferring the required payments until after a prisoner
has been released from prison would destroy the purpose of
the statute." Id. "[E]nsuring payment of
the full amount of filing fees is much easier while a
prisoner is in custody and has a prisoner's trust
account[;] it is not so simple once a prisoner has been
released," particularly given that he may qualify at
that point for exemption as a pauper from any further
obligation to satisfy the full amount due.
in sum, this Court concludes that it lacks discretion to
grant the relief requested by plaintiff in his motion.
Therefore, the motion (Doc. 46) is DENIED.
IS SO ORDERED.
 It is noted that McGore was
overruled in part on other grounds by the Supreme Court in
Jones v. Bock,549 U.S. 199 (2007), and the Sixth
Circuit in LaFountain v. Harry,716 F.3d 944 (6th
Cir. 2013). The citations to McGore in this Order
are proper because they do not pertain to ...