White v. Lemma, No. 19-13650 (11th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Although a court must procedurally dismiss without prejudice the claim of a prisoner who has struck out under the three-strikes provision and failed to pay the filing fee, the court may also consider the merits to dismiss the case with prejudice instead. After the sheriff counterclaimed in a prior suit, plaintiff responded with the current action against the sheriff, his counsel, and the United States Department of the Treasury.
The Eleventh Circuit held that the district court properly dismissed the current case on its merits and affirmed the judgment. The court held that plaintiff had struck out under the three-strikes provision because he failed to pay the filing fee and that the three-strikes provision is non-jurisdictional. In this case, the district court properly held that plaintiff failed to qualify for in forma pauperis status since he had three qualifying prior dismissals and failed to allege that he was in danger of imminent harm. The court also held that the district court correctly dismissed the case on the merits of plaintiff's claims under the False Claims Act; the abuse-of-process claim was properly dismissed; and plaintiff was not entitled to defense and indemnification.