Williams v. Paramo

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Post-Conviction Relief
  • Date Filed: 01-07-2015
  • Case #: 13-56004
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Reinhardt for the Court; Circuit Judges Pregerson and Nguyen
  • Full Text Opinion

In order for a defendant who already has three strikes to file in forma pauperis, they will have to allege, either through declaration or affidavit, a “continued existence of imminent danger at the time the notice of appeal is filed.”

Lonnie Williams, a prisoner of California, alleges that Officers Paramo, Olsen, and Marrero started rumors that she was a convicted sex offender, which caused prison gangs to threaten her safety. Williams claims that she tried to correct the rumor through administrative proceedings, but was met with resistance. As a result, she moved for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. While Williams had already filed three lawsuits that had been dismissed, which would prevent her from proceeding in forma pauperis, the district court found that she fell within the exception because she alleged “imminent danger of serious physical injury.” However, due to her failure to object to the defendants' motion to dismiss the case, summary judgment was granted to the defendants. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit analyzed whether or not Williams fell within the exception to file in forma pauperis. The panel explained that the imminent danger exception to the three strike limit requires the plaintiff to allege a “continued existence of imminent danger at the time the notice of appeal is filed.” Thus, when a district court finds that the prisoner has sufficiently alleged this exception, whether it be through an affidavit or declaration, the imminent danger is presumed to continue at the time of the filing of the notice of appeal. The panel held that Williams sufficiently alleged an ongoing danger to her person, because of threats to her life, which allowed for her to file her petition under this exception. The panel held that the district court incorrectly granted summary judgment. GRANTED; VACATED and REMANDED.

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