Case: Boles v. Matthews

2:97-cv-02510 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee

Filed Date: June 5, 1997

Closed Date: 1999

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 5, 1997, a Tennessee inmate filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act against Shelby County Circuit Court in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. The plaintiff, representing himself, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the state court clerk refused to legally change plaintiff's name in violation of his civil rights.On June 16, 1997, the District Court (Judge Unknown) dismissed the plaintif…

On June 5, 1997, a Tennessee inmate filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act against Shelby County Circuit Court in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. The plaintiff, representing himself, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the state court clerk refused to legally change plaintiff's name in violation of his civil rights.

On June 16, 1997, the District Court (Judge Unknown) dismissed the plaintiff's claims sua sponte. The District Court dismissed under the "three strikes" provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). In addition, the court deemed the case frivolous, for failure to present any claim with an arguable or rational basis in law or fact, placing restrictions on the plaintiff's ability to file lawsuits in the future. Finally, the District Court also denied the plaintiff's in forma pauperis status and ordered the plaintiff to pay the entire $150 filing fee.

On March 15, 1999, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Gilbert S. Merritt, R. Guy Cole, Jr., and Nancy G. Edmunds) reversed in part and affirmed in part. Boles v. Matthews, 173 F.3d 854 (6th Cir. 1999). The Court disagreed that the plaintiff had accumulated three strikes, finding that previous Sixth Circuit dismissals, in cases he had filed, were for failure to pay the filing fee and did not constitute strikes. However, finding that the District Court had no authority to review the state court decision and noting that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was unconstitutional, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the District Court's dismissal of the complaint as legally frivolous. Finally, finding that "prisoners are no longer entitled to a waiver of the fees and costs of litigation," the Sixth Circuit further upheld the District Court's decision to impose fees and deny pauper status.

Because we have only the Sixth Circuit opinion, we have no more information on this file.

Summary Authors

Josh Altman (5/22/2006)

People


Judge(s)

Cole, Ransey Guy Jr. (Ohio)

Edmunds, Nancy Garlock (Michigan)

Merritt, Gilbert Stroud Jr. (Tennessee)

Judge(s)

Cole, Ransey Guy Jr. (Ohio)

Edmunds, Nancy Garlock (Michigan)

Merritt, Gilbert Stroud Jr. (Tennessee)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

97-05874

Unpublished Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

173 F.3d 854, 1999 WL 183472, 1999 U.S.App.LEXIS 4599

March 15, 1999

March 15, 1999

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 14, 2022, 3:17 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Tennessee

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 5, 1997

Closing Date: 1999

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Tennessee inmate filed a complaint in which he sought declaratory and injunctive relief in connection with the alleged refusal of Tennessee state court clerk to process Boles's attempt legally to change his name.

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Shelby County Circuit Court (Tennessee), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond

Affected Gender:

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run