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Arzuaga v. Quiros

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

March 20, 2015

JOSÉ ARZUAGA, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
ANGEL QUIROS, WARDEN, INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY, MICHAEL PAFUMI, LIEUTENANT, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, T. RIORDIN, LIEUTENANT, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, RIVERA, LIEUTENANT, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, SCOTT SALIUS, CAPTAIN, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, MATTHEW PRIOR, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, RICHARD FUREY, HSA, INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY, MARK FRAYNE, PSY. D., INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY, HEATHER GAW, PSY.D, INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY, GERARLD GAGNE, PSYCHIATRY, INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY, NICOLE QUAILS, SOCIAL WORKER, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, PAT WARD, SOCIAL WORKER, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, SHANNON, NURSE, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, RAE, CAPTAIN, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, Defendants-Appellees. JOSÉ ARZUAGA, Plaintiff-Appellant, STEVEN FAUCHER, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, EDWARD MALDONADO, INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY, DON CYR, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, BRYAN RAE, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, BRIAN JACKSON, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, NELSON CORREIA, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, TIMOTHY CARROLL, KEVIN ARZT, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, JASON CAHILL, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, MICHAEL PAFUMI, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, ROHAN DAIRE, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, DAVID ANAYA, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, ANA CLAUDIO, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, MELVIN SAYLOR, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, PAUL GERMOND, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, DERRICK MOLDEN, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, JAMES SHARP, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, TONY WILLIAMS, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, MARK FRAYNE, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, THOMAS LEONE, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, GALBERT, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, BLONIASZ, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, BARNETTE, LIEUTENANT, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, JOE TAYLOR, NIGEL RODNEY, Defendants-Appellees. JOSÉ ARZUAGA, Plaintiff-Appellant, RICHARD CIEBOTER, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, RUTKOWSKI, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, MIKE JONES, INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, Defendants-Appellees

 Submitted February 27, 2015

Appeals from three orders entered bye the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Dominick J. Squatrito, J.), which dismissed the plaintiff-appellant's complaints for failure to pay the required filing fees. We conclude that the plaintiff-appellant's receipt of approximately $6,000 in pastdue Social Security benefits did not make him ineligible to proceed in forma pauperis, because the No Social Security Benefits for Prisoners Act of 2009 barred him from accessing those benefits. We further conclude that the plaintiff-appellant's receipt of an additional $350 in his prisoner trust account after he filed his motions to proceed in forma pauperis also did not render him ineligible, because he complied with the statutory requirements when he spent those funds instead of applying them to filing fees. Additionally, we recall the mandate in a previously dismissed appeal because we conclude, contrary to a previous order of this Court, that the appeal was in fact timely. Accordingly, the orders of the district court are VACATED and these cases are REMANDED for further proceedings.

José Arzuaga, Pro se, Somers, CT.

Robert B. Fiske, III, Assistant Attorney General, for George Jepsen, Attorney General of the State of Connecticut, Hartford CT, for Defendants-Appellees Steven Faucher, et al.

Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, for George Jepsen, Attorney General of the State of Connecticut, Hartford CT, for Defendants-Appellees Angel Quiros, et al.

Before: KATZMANN, Chief Judge, WALKER and CHIN, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 30

Per Curiam

These cases call on us to clarify when prisoners are eligible to proceed in forma pauperis (" IFP" ). Over the past several years, plaintiff-appellant José Arzuaga,

Page 31

who is currently incarcerated at the Corrigan Correctional Center in Connecticut, filed three separate actions against prison officials under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Although the district court initially granted Arzuaga's motion to proceed IFP, the district court later revoked Arzuaga's IFP status because Arzuaga had received approximately $6,000 in past-due Social Security benefits that he had not reported to the district court. After Arzuaga subsequently failed to pay the filing fees, the district court dismissed all three actions, prompting these appeals.

As the appellees now seem to concede, Arzuaga's past-due Social Security benefits did not provide a basis for revoking his IFP status because the No Social Security Benefits for Prisoners Act of 2009 barred Arzuaga from accessing those benefits while incarcerated. See 42 U.S.C. § 404(a)(1)(B)(ii). We write primarily to address the appellees' contention that the revocation of Arzuaga's IFP status should nonetheless be affirmed on alternative grounds. In May 2013, after the three complaints were filed, Arzuaga received a separate deposit of $350 into his prisoner trust account and spent that money on consumer goods rather than filing fees. The appellees contend that by failing to apply these funds to filing fees, Arzuaga made himself ineligible for IFP status.

We conclude that Arzuaga complied with the provisions of the IFP statute even though he did not use the additional $350 he received to pay filing fees. We also conclude that, contrary to an earlier order of this court dismissing one of Arzuaga's appeals as untimely, all three appeals were timely. Accordingly, we exercise our authority to recall the mandate sua sponte in the dismissed appeal and reinstate that appeal. And because the district court erred by revoking Arzuaga's ...


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