United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
(Doc. 120) filed by Catherine Williams
("Plaintiff'), seeking leave to proceed in forma
pauperis with her appeal to the United States Court of
Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. For the reasons that follow,
Plaintiffs motion is DENIED.
March 7, 2014, Plaintiff filed the Complaint in this action
alleging race and gender discrimination under Title VII.
(Doc. 1). The action proceeded to a jury trial on August 19,
2016, and, after the close of evidence, the trial was
temporarily delayed due to historic flooding in East Baton
Rouge Parish and surrounding areas. When the trial resumed on
August 29, 2016, the Court granted the State of
Louisiana's ("Defendant's") motion for
judgment as a matter of law and dismissed Plaintiffs
remaining claims. After the Court denied Plaintiffs Motion
for Reconsideration (Doc. 117), Plaintiff filed her Notice of
Appeal on February 27, 2017, appealing "the final
judgment (Doc. 110) entered...on September 2, 2016 and the
Ruling and Order denying Plaintiffs Motion for
Reconsideration (Doc. 117) entered...on January 30,
2017" as well as various adverse evidentiary rulings by
the Court. (Doc. 118). Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a
transcript request and the instant motion, seeking assistance
in paying the remaining costs associated with her appeal,
including the costs of obtaining the Court's transcripts.
(See Docs. 119, 120).
statute authorizing the Court to grant in forma
pauperis status to an indigent party requires that the
party demonstrate an inability to pay fees associated with
the action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Further, and relative
to the instant request, Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure
("Rule") 24 requires a party who desires to pursue
an appeal as a pauper to attach an affidavit that, among
other things, shows the party's inability to pay or to
give security for fees and costs. Fed.R.App.P. 24(a)(1).
Attached to Plaintiffs motion is an affidavit delineating
Plaintiffs income, assets, liabilities, and expenses.
(See Doc. 120-2).
the execution of an affidavit of indigence does not
automatically entitle a litigant to proceed in forma
pauperis. Rather, the Court enjoys limited discretion to
grant or deny a motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis based upon the financial statement set forth
within the applicant's affidavit. See Adkins v. E.I.
Du Pont De Nemours & Co., Inc., 335 U.S. 331, 337
(1948); Green u. Estelle, 649 F.2d 298, 302 (5th
Cir. Unit A June 1981); see also 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a). Typically, a district court must inquire as to
whether the costs of an appeal would cause an undue financial
hardship to the litigant, a standard that requires a showing
of more than an inconvenience to the applicant. Prows v.
Kastner, 842 F.2d 138, 140 (5th Cir. 1988); see also
Walker v. Univ. of Tex. Med. Branch, No. 08-417, 2008 WL
4873733, at *1 (E.D. Tex. Oct. 30, 2008) ("The term
'undue financial hardship' is not defined and,
therefore, is a flexible concept. However, a pragmatic rule
of thumb contemplates that undue financial hardship results
when prepayment of fees or costs would result in the
applicant's inability to pay for the 'necessities of
life.'") (citing Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de
Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948)).
on the financial information provided, the Court finds that
Plaintiff is not indigent and is capable of paying the
remaining costs associated with her appeal without
sacrificing the necessities of life, and would consequently
not suffer an undue financial hardship should she proceed
with her appeal. The financial information submitted in the
affidavit in support of Plaintiffs request to proceed in
forma pauperis reflects that Plaintiff is presently
employed and receives monthly retirement benefits and rental
income, resulting in a total monthly income of $3, 775.65.
(See Doc. 120-2 at p. 1). Plaintiff also has
approximately $3, 300.00 in bank accounts or other financial
institutions, and Plaintiffs asset list includes a 2007 Honda
Accord, although the affidavit does not list a specific
value. (See Doc. 120-2 at p. 2). Plaintiffs
monthly expenses, including utilities, insurance, and
property taxes, total $4, 119.56 per month. (Doc. 120-2 at p.
4). Plaintiffs affidavit further suggests that she has a
total yearly income of $45, 307.80, which is well above the
official poverty guidelines for a family of her
size. On the whole, Plaintiffs income would
allow her to pay fees and costs associated with her appeal
without undue hardship.
IT IS ORDERED that the Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis (Doc. 120) filed by Catherine Williams is DENIED.
 Interestingly, Plaintiff lists real
property income in her calculation of monthly income and
property taxes in her calculation of monthly expenses, yet
claims no home or real estate assets.
 That Plaintiffs monthly income is
approximately $343.91 less than her combined monthly expenses
is not inconsistent with the Court's finding that
Plaintiff can proceed with her appeal without experiencing
undue financial hardship. Several courts within the Fifth
Circuit have denied in forma pauperis status to
litigants with similar financial circumstances. For example,
the court in Buckhaulter u. Bank of America
Corporation found that a party with a monthly income of
§3, 600.00 and monthly expenses totaling $3, 840.00
could not proceed in forma pauperis where the
plaintiff had several hard assets and $200.00 each in cash
and in a bank account. Buckhaulter v. Bank of America
Corp., No. 3:14-CV-545, 2014 WL 4370619 (S.D. MS. Aug.
29, 2014). Additionally, a district court has found that an
annual income of approximately $20, 000, 00 was sufficient to
deny in forma pauperis status to a litigant.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. v. Charles W. Sears Real Estate,
Inc., 865 F.2d 22 (2d Cir. 1988;; see also Ponder v.
Schitltz, No. 3:02-CV-1353, 2002 WL 31114054 (N.D. TX.
Sept. 20, 2002) (finding that a combined monthly income of
$2, 876.00 was enough to deny in forma pauperis
status). In another case, the plaintiff was denied in
forma pauperis status because he had a monthly income of
$3, 025.00, owned a home and two cars (one of which belonged
to his spouse), and had a savings account with $76.00. The
plaintiffs only dependent was his spouse. Duran v.
Macias-Price, No. 1:07-cv01209, 2007 WL 2462066 (E.D.
CA. Aug. 27, 2007).
 Plaintiffs affidavit indicates that
she has one minor granddaughter who is dependent on Plaintiff
for support. Assuming, based on this information, that
Plaintiffs household has two persons, the applicable poverty
guideline would be $16, 240. See U.S. Department of Health
& Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for
Planning and Evaluation, Poverty ...