A prison inmate sued his psychiatrist. Because he had filed more than 30 lawsuits since 1996, the District Court required him to post a bond of $1,000 to continue with the lawsuit. The district court reasoned that the bond would cover some of defendants’ costs in litigating with the inmate.
The Seventh Circuit reversed on the ground that the court failed to consider whether the inmate was indigent before imposing the bond. The bond requirement was an abuse of discretion because the district court knew that the inmate could not pay it. The bond requirement served only to dismiss the lawsuit. The Seventh Circuit discussed other tools that courts can use to deter frivolous litigation.