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Pro Se Complaint - Prisoner

Civil Forms
Pro Se Forms
E-Filing Instructions: 


The purpose of this Information and Instructions is to assist you in preparing a PRO SE complaint, seeking relief under 42 USC 1983.  The Court can grant relief under 1983 only for wrongs which amount to the denial of federal constitutional rights by a person acting under color of state law.  Your complaint can be brought in this Court only if one or more of the named defendants is located within this judicial district.

In order for your complaint to be considered by the district court, it must be typewritten or legibly handwritten on only one side of the paper. The complaint must contain a caption setting forth the name of the Court and the names of all parties. All questions must be answered clearly and concisely in the appropriate spaces on the form.  Extra pages are not permitted except to add additional defendants, to add claims under the Statement of Claims (Part V) or to complete the Prisoner's Litigation History (Part VII).  Citation of legal authority or argument is not necessary. All other pleadings which you file should also have the name of the Court, the names of the parties, and the file number (which is provided by the Clerk at the time you file the complaint).

Your complaint must be signed and must include a declaration under penalty of perjury.  You are cautioned that any deliberately false statement of a material fact may serve as the basis for prosecution and conviction for perjury.  You, therefore, should exercise care to assure that all answers are true, correct and complete.  ALSO, you must include your current address and telephone number on EACH pleading filed.

An original of the complaint must be provided for the Court and one copy of the complaint for each of the named defendants. For example, if you name two defendants, you must file an original and two copies of the complaint.  You should keep an additional copy of the complaint for your own records. All copies of the complaint must be IDENTICAL to the original.

The complaint must be accompanied by a filing fee of $405.00 made payable to the U.S. District Court Clerk. Payment may be made in cash, by money order or cashier’s check. No personal checks will be accepted. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, you may complete a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis & Supporting Affidavit. This form may be obtained from the Clerk of the Court. Your In Forma Pauperis status will be governed by 28 USC 1915, as amended by the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996.

Pursuant to 42 USC 1997e, prisoners must exhaust available administrative remedies before initiating a prison conditions case under 42 USC 1983, or any other federal law.  You, therefore, must initiate and complete all levels of administrative review of your complaint through your institution prior to bringing a prison conditions action under 42 USC 1983.

Notwithstanding the payment of any filing fee, or any portion thereof, the Court will dismiss your action if it is satisfied that the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

You are responsible for completing a summons for each person (defendant) you have sued and for delivering it with a copy of the complaint for service.   If you are proceeding  in forma pauperis, you are also responsible for completing and signing a USM-285 Form for each named defendant. When your complaint is completed, it should be delivered or mailed with the necessary copies, service documents, and filing fee or Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis & Supporting Affidavit to the following address:



101 North 5th Street

Muskogee, OK 74401

The Court does not require copies of any motions, pleadings or correspondence or other documents submitted to the Court for filing and consideration.  You must, however, furnish the opposing party (defendant) or his attorney with a copy of all such documents submitted to the Court.  Each original document (except the original complaint), must include a "Certificate of Service" stating the date a copy of the document was mailed to the opposing party or his attorney and the address to which it was mailed. Any pleading or other document received which fails to include a certificate of service may be disregarded by the Court or returned. If you want a file-stamped copy of a motion or other pleading returned to you, you must provide a copy, along with a self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage affixed for return of the copy to you.

A certificate of service must be in the following form: I hereby certify that a copy of the above pleading/document was mailed to opposing party or attorney at (address, city, state, zip) on (date) (your signature as Plaintiff).

The United States Magistrates, the Clerk of Court, and Deputy Clerks are officers of the Court and are prohibited from giving legal advice. Questions of this nature should be directed to an attorney.

A copy of the Local Civil Rules of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma is available upon request from the Clerk.

Instructions For Summons:

After your complaint and, if applicable, your motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis have been accepted for filing, the Court will determine whether you must pay the full filing fee, or you will be permitted to pay the fee in installments.  When you have paid the required full or partial fee, the Court Clerk will send you summonses and USM-285 Forms for your completion.  You are responsible for providing full names and addresses for the defendants on all summonses and USM-285 forms. You must complete one summons for each defendant named in the complaint and return it to the Court Clerk's Office.  Each summons must include:

(The numbers correspond with the information requested on the form)

  1. Your name.
  2. Full name of the defendant named in your civil rights complaint.
  3. Name and address of the defendant you have named in the complaint.
  4. Your full name and address for notice of service.

Instructions for USM-285 Form:

If you want the US Marshals Service to serve the complaint, and you qualify for such service, see Rule 4(c)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, you must complete one USM-285 Form for each defendant named in the complaint and return the form to the Court Clerk's Office.  Each USM-285 Form must include:

(The numbers correspond with the information requested on the form.)

  1. Your full name.
  2. Full name of the defendant in your civil rights complaint.
  3. Name and address of the defendant you have named in the complaint.
  4. Your full name and address for notice of service.
  5. Your signature, the appropriate box checked, and the date. Unsigned USM-285 Forms will not be forwarded to the US Marshals Service.
Revision Date: 
Wednesday, January 31, 2024