Lane v. Rupert, 050115 FED5, 14-40782

Docket Nº:14-40782
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:MICHAEL LANE, Plaintiff-Appellant v. JOHN A. RUPERT; PATRICK COPPER; FRANK HOKE; GALE KARRIKER; UNKNOWN DORSEY, Mailroom Supervisor; JOHN DOE; JANE DOE, Defendants-Appellees
Judge Panel:Before KING, JOLLY, and HAYNES, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:May 01, 2015
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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MICHAEL LANE, Plaintiff-Appellant

v.

JOHN A. RUPERT; PATRICK COPPER; FRANK HOKE; GALE KARRIKER; UNKNOWN DORSEY, Mailroom Supervisor; JOHN DOE; JANE DOE, Defendants-Appellees

No. 14-40782

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

May 1, 2015

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas USDC No. 6:14-CV-305

          Before KING, JOLLY, and HAYNES, Circuit Judges.

          PER CURIAM[*]

         Michael Lane, Texas prisoner # 1238595, moves for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) on appeal following the district court's dismissal of his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). Lane argued that the defendants denied him access to the courts because they failed to timely mail his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition to the district court. The district court determined that Lane's § 1983 complaint failed to state a claim for relief and as frivolous because (1) he was collaterally estopped from showing that he placed his § 2254 petition in the prison mail system by its due date, and (2) he could not show the requisite harm in order to proceed with an access to the courts claim because his § 2254 petition received full review on the merits.

         Lane's motion for leave to proceed IFP is construed as a challenge to the district court's certification that the appeal is not taken in good faith. See Baugh v. Taylor, 117 F.3d 197, 202 (5th Cir. 1997). When considering this challenge, we must determine "whether the appeal involves legal points arguable on their merits (and therefore not frivolous)." Howard v. King, 707 F.2d 215, 220 (5th Cir. 1983) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). If we uphold the district court's certification that the appeal is not taken in good faith, Lane must pay the filing fee or the appeal will be dismissed for want of prosecution. See Baugh, 117 F.3d at 202. Alternatively, we may dismiss the appeal sua sponte if it is frivolous. Id. at 202 n.24.

         Prisoners have a constitutional right of access to the courts. Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 821 (1977). However, the right of access to the courts "is ancillary to the underlying claim, without which a plaintiff cannot have suffered injury by being shut out of court." Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 415 (2002). Thus, to prevail on an access to the courts claim, a prisoner must show that an actionable claim was rejected. See Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S....

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