United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
MICHAEL S. OWLFEATHER-GORBEY, Plaintiff,
JUDGE JACKSON L. KISER, ET AL., Defendant.
E. Conrad Chief United States District Judge
S. Owlfeather-Gorbey, a federal inmate proceeding pro se,
filed this civil rights action under Bivens v. Six
Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).
Gorbey sues three federal judges, a prosecutor, and numerous
federal prison officials, alleging that they have conspired
to place and keep him in segregated housing at the United
States Penitentiary in Lee County ("USP Lee") and
to have his past civil actions dismissed, among other things.
Gorbey has applied to proceed in forma pauperis.
Upon review of the record, the court finds that Gorbey does
not qualify to proceed in forma pauperis under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g) and that this case must be summarily
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 substantially amended
the in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. §
1915. The purpose of the Act was to require all prisoner
litigants suing government entities or officials to pay court
filing fees in full, either through prepayment or through
installments withheld from the litigant's inmate trust
account. § 1915(b). Section 1915(g) denies the
installment payment method to prisoners who have "three
strikes" - those prisoners who have had three previous
cases or appeals dismissed as frivolous, malicious, or for
failure to state a claim, unless the three-striker inmate
shows "imminent danger of serious physical injury."
has brought such actions or appeals on three or more prior
occasions. See Owlfeather-Gorbey v. Jackson, No.
2:16-cv-00551, slip op. at 4 (E.D. Va. Sept. 22, 2016)
(dismissed for failing to state a claim); Gorbey v. The
State of Virginia, No. 2:11-cv-00164, slip op. at 4
(E.D. Va. Mar. 17, 2011) (dismissed for failing to state a
claim); Gorbey v. United States. No. 2:08-cv-00121,
slip op. at 3-4 (N.D. W.Va. July 7, 2010); see, e.g.,
Gorbey v. Fed-Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco. Firearms &
Explosives, No. 5:11-cv-00126, slip op. at 5-10 (N.D.
W.Va. Mar. 14, 2012) (M.J., Seibert) (listing 25 cases that
qualify as strikes under § 1915(g)). Accordingly, Gorbey
may proceed in forma pauperis (without prepayment of
the filing fee) only if he can show that he faces imminent
danger of serious physical injury. § 1915(g).
complaint, Gorbey repeatedly alleges, without stating any
facts, dates, or details in support, that the defendants have
conspired to place in him "imminent danger extreme
prison conditions and or significant hardships." (Compl.
1, ECF No. 1.) He complains that various defendants have, in
the past: "manipulated" or wrongfully dismissed his
prior civil actions; fabricated disciplinary charges against
him that have delayed or impeded his transfer; held him in
"water flooded cells" with "overflowing
toilets;" committed or failed to prevent unspecified
staff "misconduct" or "retaliations"
against him; "tr[ied] to ar[r]ange assaults or death for
Gorbey by trying to place him in cells with inmates of
different housing status;" imposed "hours of
umbilical [sic] restraints hurting his wrists and
an[k]les;" denied him "proper-timely medical
treatments and or medications;" and made him "climb
to top bunks irrespective of hi[s] lower bunk medical status
repeatedly causing pain and injuries." (Id. at
2-5.) Gorbey states that "just being at USP Lee is an
imminent danger." (Id. 6.)
list of past, undated events, with no specification of
injuries suffered or likely to occur, is simply insufficient
to show that at the time Gorbey filed his complaint, he was
in imminent danger of any serious physical injury related to
the named defendants within the meaning of § 1915(g).
See Chase v. O'Malley. 466 F.App'x 185, 186
(4th Cir. 2012) (noting that prisoner must be seeking relief
from and demonstrate a danger that is imminent at the time of
filing the complaint); Pettus v. Morgenthau. 554
F.3d 293, 296 (2d Cir. 2009) (noting that to qualify for
imminent danger exception under § 1915(g), the complaint
must reveal a nexus between the imminent danger it alleges
and the claims it asserts). Gorbey has not alleged, nor can
the court find, any respect in which having his past civil
actions dismissed placed him in any danger of physical harm.
Finally, his repeated reliance on the phrase "imminent
danger" is nothing more than a label or conclusion that
the court need not accept as factual support for his claims.
See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007) (finding "a plaintiffs obligation to provide the
'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief
requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do") (citation omitted).
the records reflect that Gorbey has at least three
"strikes" under § 1915(g) and he has not
demonstrated that he was in imminent danger of physical harm
when filing this complaint, the court denies Gorbey the
opportunity to proceed in forma pauperis and
dismisses the complaint without prejudice under §
1915(g). An appropriate order will issue this day.
Clerk is directed to send copies of this memorandum opinion
and accompanying order to plaintiff.
 Gorbey has also tried to incorporate,
generally, unspecified incidents described in several past
civil actions he has filed. The court declines this
invitation and will decide this case only on the allegations
stated in this action. In any event, occurrences mentioned in
conclusory fashion in this case are strikingly similar to
those Gorbey describes in one prior lawsuit, Gorbey v.
Bowles, No. 78:16-cv-00522; the court dismissed that
case on December ...