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Robertson v. International Longshoremen's Association

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

July 21, 2014



G.R. SMITH, Magistrate Judge.

As she did over a half decade ago in Robertson v. International Longshoremen's Association, CV409-067, doc. 1 (S.D. Ga. Apr. 9, 2009) plaintiff Cynthia R. Robertson seeks leave to file, without prepayment of the Court's filing fee, her employment-discrimination case against the "Lathorpe Ave, ILA." Doc. 1 at 1 ¶ 2. The Court takes that to mean, again, the International Longshoreman's Association (ILA).[1] Doc. 1.

The Court will grant leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) if the plaintiff demonstrates that she cannot, because of poverty, afford to pay the costs of litigation and still provide for herself and any dependents. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a); Adkins v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours, 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948); Martinez v. Kristi Kleaners, Inc., 364 F.3d 1305, 1307 (11th Cir. 2007). While Robertson need not be absolutely destitute, the fact that financing her own litigation may cause some difficulty is not sufficient to relieve her of her obligation to pay her own way if she can do so without undue hardship. Adkins, 335 U.S. at 339-340.

Robertson, who remains employed by the ILA and "work[s] as needed, " says she makes 1500 or more" a week and has $600 in her checking account but claims she does "not know" how much money she has received in wages, salary (etc.) for the past 12 months." Doc. 2 at 2. She evidently owns two cars outright (she lists no related debt on them). Id. Plaintiff claims she owes "about $7, 000" in "hospital bills." Id. at 3. But five years ago she listed the same exact ($7, 000) hospital debt - to "Candler Hospital" - plus another $7, 000 owed to "Memorial Hospital." CV409-067, doc. 1 at 3. It is simply not common, nor believable, to have medical bills in the same amount ($7, 000) five years apart. She also lists (in her current IFP motion) one dependent, CV414-103, doe. 2 at 3, down from three previously, CV409-067, doe. 1 at 3, but that dependent ("Norman Davis 3 years old") does not live with her. CV414-103 at 3.

The Court should deny Robertson's IFP motion. Doe. 2. She can easily review her pay stubs and figure out what she had made over the last 12 months - something she was able to do five years ago. CV409-067, doe. 1 at 1. The Court simply does not believe her claim that she "do[es] not know." CV414-103, doe. 2 at 1. She also owns two vehicles - evidently outright - and she has failed (as instructed by the Court's IFP form) "describe... [their] approximate value." Id. at 3. And to "work as needed" denotes discretion to work when one wants, which is not an indication of IFP-level impoverishment.

In short, Robertson - whose last case against this defendant was dismissed as baseless, CV409-067, doc. 36, and who advances an encore performance here[2] - has failed to convince this Court that she qualifies for IFP status. Her IFP motion, then, must be DENIED. Doc. 1. Her letter-motion[3] for appointment of counsel is also DENIED. Doc. 3. Finally, if plaintiff files a Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2) Objection to this ruling, she must include with it documentary evidence of her $7, 000 hospital debt claim, and expressly cite to 28 U.S.C. § 1746 in declaring, under penalty of perjury, that the information she has conveyed to this court is true.[4] See 28 U.S.C. § 1746 (permitting written, unsworn declaration subscribed in proper form as true under penalty of perjury to substitute for an affidavit).


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