United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER REQUIRING PLAINTIFF TO PAY A FILING FEE IN
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court are Plaintiff Laronda Phox's
(“Phox”) responses to the Court's Show Cause
Orders (Docs. 17, 23). The Court finds Phox did not comply
with the Court's orders. Based on the Court's finding
that she has abused the in forma pauperis process by filing
numerous meritless lawsuits, she is required to pay a filing
fee in all future cases filed with the United States District
Court for the Western District of Missouri.
no stranger to this Court. In the past sixteen years, she has
filed fourteen civil lawsuits, eight in the last five years
Court, in consideration of its limited resources, became
concerned with the number of seemingly meritless civil
lawsuits filed by Phox in this District. On June 29, 2017,
the Court ordered Phox to show cause why she should not be
enjoined from filing future lawsuits in this District (Doc.
15). The Court directed Phox to submit a response listing
every case she has filed in any court in the past twenty
years, including the nature of the action, its disposition,
and whether she paid any filing fees in the action. Phox
responded with a listing of the fourteen cases she has filed
in this District but did not list any state court
has proceeded pro se for all or at least some
portion of every lawsuit she has filed in this District. Her
earlier lawsuits alleged various forms of discrimination and
wrongful termination. The subject matter of the most recent
lawsuits involves financing and her credit report.
fourteen cases, Phox paid a filing fee in only one, a case
where Phox had legal representation during the earlier stages
of the proceedings. In all other cases, Phox has requested
leave to file in forma pauperis. In almost every case, she
has been granted leave to file without payment of fees either
initially or upon motion for reconsideration.
three cases, her motion to file in forma pauperis was denied
because the court found she did not meet the threshold of
stating a non-frivolous claim under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). See Phox v. Ctr. for Mgmt.
Assistance, 4:01-CV-00930-SOW (W.D. Mo. Sep. 27, 2001),
ECF No. 4 (finding no facts to establish court had
jurisdiction because Phox had not demonstrated she had
exhausted the administrative procedures); Phox v.
Excelsior Springs Job Corps, 4:05-CV-01294-RED (W.D. Mo.
Jan. 17, 2006) (in forma pauperis granted to the extent the
court could review the complaint and determining the court
lacked subject matter jurisdiction), ECF No. 4; Phox v.
Nat'l Mktg. Res., 4:08-CV-00202-FJG (W.D. Mo. Mar.
24, 2008), ECF No. 5 (finding plaintiff's case was
frivolous and failed to state a claim).
that progressed past Phox's motion to file in forma
pauperis were generally resolved through summary judgment for
the defendant or dismissed for Phox's failure to state a
claim. Phox appealed three of those cases to the Eighth
Circuit, which affirmed the district courts' rulings. The
three cases she filed in 2012, against Capital One Auto
Finance, Resurgent Capital Services, LP, and Allstate
Insurance Company, settled.
case against George E. Fern Co., the court barred her from
any further filings in that matter after finding she filed
numerous frivolous allegations and made baseless accusations
against many of the individuals associated with the case.
Phox v. George E. Fern Co., 10-0536-CV-W-DW (W.D.
Mo. July 9, 2013), ECF Nos. 296, 371. In that case, the court
found her various deficient filings “delayed resolution
of the case and imposed a significant burden on judicial
resources.” Phox v. George E. Fern Co.,
10-0536-CV-W-DW (W.D. Mo. July 9, 2013), ECF No. 296.
case filed on March 4, 2016, she alleges Virtuoso Sourcing
Group, LLC, the same defendant in this case, accessed her
credit report without a permissible purpose and
“learned information about her”-an allegation
similar to the one she makes in this case. Phox v.
Virtoso Sourcing Grp., No. 4:16-CV-00190-BCW, ECF No.
1-1 at 2. The court granted in part Phox's request to
file without payment of fees and ordered a reduced filing fee
of $200.00. Phox filed a motion for reconsideration of that
decision, which the court denied. Id., ECF No. 8. On
June 6, 2016, Phox withdrew her complaint in that case, and
on February 9, 2017, Phox filed this lawsuit.
U.S.C. § 1915 states “[a]ny court of the United
States may authorize the commencement, prosecution
or defense of any suit, action or proceeding, civil or
criminal, or appeal therein, without prepayment of fees and
costs or security therefor.” (emphasis added) As
permitted under this statute, the Western District of
Missouri has adopted Local Rule 83.7, which states
“[a]n individual may request leave to commence a civil
action without being required to prepay fees or costs by
filing with the complaint an affidavit requesting leave to
proceed in forma pauperis.” L.R. 83.7.
filing pro se petitions are not subject to the
financial considerations-filing fees and attorney's
fees-that deter other litigants from filing frivolous
petitions. “Every paper filed with the Clerk of this
Court, no matter how repetitious or frivolous, requires some
portion of the [Court's] limited resources. A part of the
Court's responsibility is to see that these resources are
allocated in a way that promotes the interests of
justice.” In re McDonald, 489 U.S. 180, 184,
(1989). “The goal of fairly dispensing justice,
however, is compromised when the court is forced to devote
its limited resources to the processing of repetitious and
frivolous requests.” In re Sindram, 498 U.S.
177, 179-80 (1991). Pro se litigants have a greater
capacity than most to disrupt the fair allocation of judicial
resources because they are not constrained by the financial