Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Andrews v. Cervantes (9th Cir. - June 26, 2007)

We return to sunny (and unhumid) San Diego -- and regular internet access, thankfully -- from the backwaters of North Carolina and are welcomed by this opinion by Judge Berzon. Which is a lengthy exegesis on precisely when prison inmates can get out of paying a $350 filing fee.

The work we'll do to make sure that indigent inmates have to pay $350 to file a civil lawsuit is pretty impressive. This case alone tops out at twenty single-spaced pages. And it's far from the only one, as Judge Berzon lists over a half-dozen other cases that have been forced to adjudicate the precise contours of the "imminent danger of serious physical injury" exception to the rule that once prisoners have three lawsuits dismissed under 12(b)(6) (i.e., "three strikes"), they've got to pay the $350 filing fee thereafter. We're also putting some heavy legal talent into the issue, as MoFo represents the indigent prisoner here.

Ultimately, Judge Berzon holds that the particular prisoner here doesn't have to pay the filing fee because he sufficiently alleges imminent danger. Which means we've devoted $50,000 or so in social resources to try -- unsuccessfully -- to force Antolin Andrews to cough up $350.

It's good to be home.