On Tuesday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a Kansas prisoner who claimed that he was entitled to bring his lawsuit without first paying the ordinary filing fees.
Instead, the Court applied the 1995 federal Prison Litigation Reform Act in a manner that broadly takes into account an inmate’s prior history of filing frivolous lawsuits and refused to exempt the inmate from the filing fee requirement.
“The Court made clear that the federal law means what it says – there is a real limit on the number of times a prisoner may bring frivolous suits that cost the state time and taxpayer’s money to defend and adjudicate,” Schmidt said in a news release. “Today’s ruling should help discourage other frivolous lawsuits by inmates in Kansas prisons and jails.”
The federal law allows prisoners only three chances to bring frivolous lawsuits without first paying the full filing fee. After that, the inmate must pay the fee before filing, which usually has the effect of discouraging the frivolous suit.
Today’s case, Strope v. Cummings, involves an inmate at the El Dorado Correctional Facility who has brought more than 20 lawsuits against the state, seven of which were found to be frivolous on their face and dismissed. The Court ruled that the inmate must pay filing fees before being allowed to proceed with his three pending appeals and any future suits against the state.