Fees; In Forma Pauperis; Dismissal

The docket fee for an appeal is paid in the district court. The amount is $455.00 for appeals filed on or after April 9, 2006.  The docket fee for a petition for review of a decision of a federal agency or for an original proceeding is $450.00 for petitions or original proceedings filed after April 9, 2006, paid in this Court.

If you are indigent you may file a motion for in forma pauperis status which dispenses with the filing and/or docketing fee in non-prisoner cases and allows you to file fewer copies of your brief. It does not cover other expenses associated with the appeal, e.g., service, copying, mailing, or costs you may have to pay the other party if you lose the appeal.  FRAP 39.

The Clerk's Office will advise you whether you need to file a motion for in forma pauperis status. If you do not pay the docket fee or file the motion to proceed in forma pauperis and additional forms as may be required in accordance with the Clerk's instructions, your appeal may be dismissed.  3rd Cir. LAR 3.3 and 107.

            A. In Forma Pauperis Status for Prisoners

The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, effective April 26, 1996, has made significant changes to the in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. §1915, as it applies to civil actions and appeals filed by prisoners.  The statute no longer provides for the waiver of court filing or docketing fees for prisoners who are granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. If a prisoner has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, the prisoner is obligated to pay the entire filing and/or docketing fee in the manner prescribed by statute, regardless of the outcome of the proceeding or appeal.

If you are a prisoner and paid the filing fee at the beginning of your case in the district court or were granted in forma pauperis by the district court and are indigent or cannot afford to pay the fees on appeal, you must file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis in the Court of Appeals. 

            B. In Forma Pauperis Status for Non-Prisoners

If you are not a prisoner and paid the filing fee at the beginning of your case in the district court, but are indigent or cannot afford to pay the fees on appeal, you may file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, with an affidavit of poverty, in the district court.

If the district court denies the motion, or if you were granted permission to proceed in forma pauperis at the beginning of your case in the district court but the district court dismissed your case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e), you must file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis and affidavit of poverty in the Court of Appeals. FRAP 24. If you file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, this Court will review the district court record; if the Court determines that an appeal is totally without legal merit, it may dismiss the appeal prior to the filing of briefs.  28 U.S.C. §1915(e).