Garrett v. Murphy

The Third Circuit donned its facemask to resume calling balls and strikes, as it had weeks prior in Talley v. Wetzel. The plaintiff in this case is a pro se litigant with a penchant for filing suit, as was Mr. Talley. Both plaintiffs sought to file claims without prepaying filing fees under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 because they are indigent. But Section 1915 has a “three strikes and you’re out” provision that revokes the right to proceed in forma pauperis if the litigant has three prior actions dismissed because they are frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim. Here, the plaintiff’s eligibility to avoid prepaying fees turned partly on whether suits barred by Heck v. Humphrey are correctly dismissed for failing to state a claim. In Heck, the Supreme Court held that a prisoner lacks a “cause of action” under § 1983 if the prisoner challenges an “allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment” before the conviction or sentence is overturned. The Third Circuit held that such a dismissal counts as a strike, and thus the plaintiff had already struck out.

Search entire site by keyword...

Search for Summaries by Hashtag...

Past Opinion Summaries