Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

James v. Social Security Administration

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division

June 3, 2019

SHELTON BARNELL JAMES PLAINTIFF
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION DEFENDANT

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MICHAEL T. PARKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis [2]. Having considered the Plaintiff's submissions, the undersigned recommends that the Motion [2] be denied and Plaintiff be directed to pay the filing fee.

         On May 6, 2019, Plaintiff filed his Complaint [1], along with his Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis [2]. The Court has sufficient information before it to evaluate Plaintiff's financial status.

         In making the IFP determination, the Court may consider the total monetary resources available to assist Plaintiff. “There is no absolute right to be allowed to proceed in forma pauperis in civil matters; rather it is a privilege extended to those unable to pay filing fees when the action is not frivolous or malicious.” Startti v. United States, 415 F.2d 1115, 1116 (5th Cir. 1969). 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) is designed to provide access to federal courts for plaintiffs lacking the financial resources to pay any part of the statutory filing fees. See Barnes v. Secretary, Dept. of Treasury, 2010 WL 4220422 (S.D.Miss. Sept. 16, 2010). The Court must examine the Plaintiff's financial condition in order to determine whether the payment of fees would cause an undue financial hardship. Prows v. Kastner, 842 F.2d 138, 140 (5th Cir. 1988). “There is authority for the proposition that the privilege of proceeding in forma pauperis in civil actions for damages should be allowed only in exceptional circumstances.” Williams v. Beau Rivage, 2009 WL 3431457 (S.D.Miss. 2009). “The granting or denying of in forma pauperis proceedings of a civil nature is left to the sound discretion of the District Court.” Id. (citing Willard v. United States, 299 F.Supp. 1175, 1177 (N.D. Miss. 1969)).

         A review of the financial information submitted reflects that Plaintiff's spouse receives $3, 200.00 per month in income. Thus, Plaintiff's annual household income is $38, 400.00. Plaintiff states that his forty-three year old sister relies on him and his spouse for support.

         Courts have utilized the applicable Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines to assess an applicant's financial condition.[1] The applicable poverty guideline for a three-person household is $21, 330.00 annually.[2] Plaintiff's annual household income is well above the poverty level. Plaintiff owns a home worth $100, 000.00, two sport utility vehicles collectively worth $5, 000.00, and a Harley Davidson motorcycle worth $4, 500.00. Plaintiff also states that his spouse has $400.00 in a checking account.

         Plaintiff lists $2, 294.00 in monthly expenses, which include $800.00 for food and $50.00 for clothes.[3] Plaintiff also states that they pay $2, 400.00 per year in homeowner's insurance and pay $550.00 in unspecified taxes. Additionally, Plaintiff states that he and his spouse filed for bankruptcy in 2018 and make biweekly payments of $816.00. According to Plaintiff's assertions, he has significant expenses. Courts, however, have denied IFP applications even where the plaintiffs' expenses exceed their income. See Slaughter v. Vilsack, 2013 WL 1704909 (M.D. Ga. April 19, 2013). “Section 1915 is designed to protect those litigants who suffer true financial hardship, not those who are well-equipped to pay the filing fee but choose to allocate their resources in a different manner.” McCoy v. Colvin, 2013 WL 868682, at *1 (W.D. Ark. Mar. 7, 2013).

         Given Plaintiff's assets, including a $100, 000.00 home and a $4, 500.00 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and that Plaintiff does not have a mortgage or pay rent, Plaintiff should be able to pay the filing fee in order to commence this action without undue hardship if given a reasonable amount of time to tender the requisite amount. Under the circumstances presented, Plaintiff should not be permitted to proceed at taxpayer expense.

         RECOMMENDATION

         Based on the foregoing, the undersigned recommends that:

         1. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis [2] be DENIED.

         2. Plaintiff be given sixty (60) days to pay all of the costs associated with the filing of this lawsuit.

         3. Should Plaintiff fail to timely pay all of the costs associated with the filing of this lawsuit, this matter be dismissed without prejudice and without further notice.

         NOTICE OF ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.