United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. PEREZ-MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2)
filed by Plaintiff, Harry Braxton (“Braxton”).
Because Braxton has the means to pay the filing fee, and
would not suffer a significant financial burden in doing so,
Braxton's motion should be denied.
counsel, Braxton filed suit on May 29, 2018. (Doc. 1). The
next day, Braxton filed the Motion to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis. (Doc. 2). Braxton signed, filed, and attached to
the Motion an “Application to Proceed in District Court
Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Doc. 2-1), which details his
assets and liabilities. As discussed below, Braxton's
income exceeds his monthly expenses. And Braxton reported no
long-term liabilities or other financial hardships.
Law and Analysis
for leave to proceed in forma pauperis are governed by 28
U.S.C. § 1915, which states, in pertinent part:
[A]ny court of the United States may authorize the
commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or
proceeding, civil or criminal, or appeal therein, without
prepayment of fees or security therefor, by a person who
submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets
such prisoner possesses that the person is unable to pay
such fees or give security therefor. Such affidavit shall
state the nature of the action, defense or appeal and
affiant's belief that the person is entitled to redress.
district court has discretion to grant or deny a request to
proceed in forma pauperis. Williams v. Estelle, 681
F.2d 946, 947 (5th Cir. 1982) (citing Green v.
Estelle, 649 F.2d 298, 302 (5th Cir. 1981)). A party
does not need to be completely destitute in order to proceed
in forma pauperis. Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours
& Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948). An affidavit
which states that the party cannot pay, because of his
poverty, and still be able to provide himself and dependents
with the necessities of life, is sufficient. Id.
However, it is well-settled that in forma pauperis status
“should not be granted by the Court unless it
reasonably appears that the cost of filing would be beyond
petitioner's means.” Carroll v. United
States, 320 F.Supp. 581, 582 (S.D. Tex. 1970).
these standards, a court denied a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis where the plaintiff had a monthly income of $3,
400.00, and monthly expenses totaling $3, 846.00, a home
(valued at $101, 000.00), two vehicles (valued at $40, 000.00
and $3, 000.00, respectively), 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). The court found that the family would not be
rendered destitute given the home and vehicle ownership.
Id. Another court denied in forma pauperis status to
a plaintiff with one dependent, a monthly income of $3,
025.00, a home and two cars (one of which belonged to his
spouse), and a savings account with $76.00. Duran v.
Macias-Price, No. 1:07-cv-01209, 2007 WL 2462066 (E.D.
Ca. Aug. 27, 2007); see also Ponder v. Schultz, No.
3:02-CV-1353, 2002 WL 3114054 (N.D. TX. Sept. 20, 2002) (a
combined monthly income of $2, 876.00 was enough to deny in
forma pauperis status).
Braxton reports a total monthly income (consisting of Social
Security and retirement benefits) of $2, 230, and a checking
or savings account containing $1, 400. His monthly living
expenses for rent, electricity, transportation, medical
expenses, and insurance total $1, 400. While Braxton reports
no other items of value owned, he also reports no dependents,
and no other debts or financial obligations. He therefore
reports $830 in monthly disposable income in addition to $1,
400 in cash.
plainly has the means to pay the filing fee. And given his
financial situation, Braxton would not be deprived of
life's necessities - or even financially compromised - if
he did so.
IT IS RECOMMENDED that Braxton's Motion to Proceed In