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Hebert v. USA

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

May 13, 2019

JOHN KEITH HEBERT
v.
USA ET AL

          JUNEAU JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Carol B. Whitehurst United States Magistrate Judge.

         Pro se plaintiff, John Keith Hebert filed the instant complaint on March 25, 2019, contemporaneously with a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (IFP). His complaint makes numerous allegations against various defendants stemming time spent in Afghanistan working for a private security firm. This matter has been referred to the undersigned for review, report, and recommendation in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636 and the standing orders of the Court.

         Background

         Plaintiff's 43-page Complaint consists of various claims made against over 75 defendants, including the United States of America, former C.I.A. Director John Brennan, the State of California and President Donald J. Trump. Plaintiff's claims stem from his work for a private security firm in Afghanistan in 2014, and the issues that have arisen since his termination, including mental, health physical health and financial problems.

         Law and Analysis

         IFP status is a privilege, not a right, that is based on the "policy of equality of access, ensuring that those who cannot afford the payment of costs have the same ability to present meritorious claims as those who cannot afford such payment." Enters v. Clear Channel Communs, Civil No. SA-14-365-FB, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191421, *6 (W.D. Tex., May 19, 2014) (citing Nasim v. Warden, Md. House of Corr., 1');">64 F.3d 951, 953 (4th Cir. 1995) (en banc), cert. denied, 16 U.S. 1177');">516 U.S. 1177 (1996)); see also Startti v. United States, 15 F.2d 1115');">415 F.2d 1115, 1116 (5th Cir. 1969). A person need not be "absolutely destitute" to proceed. Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 1');">335 U.S. 331 (1948). Rather, IFP status is available to a person who declares to the Court, by way of affidavit, that he "cannot because of his poverty 'pay or give security for the costs . . . and still be able to provide' himself and dependents 'with the necessities of life.'" Id.

         Assuming that a plaintiff does meet the financial prerequisites to proceed IFP, plaintiff must also establish that he has raised a non-frivolous issue. The applicable standard is found in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2):

Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that -
(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or
(B) the action or appeal -
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune ...

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