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Sikes v. Colvin

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

March 13, 2015

CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of. Social Security, Defendant.


G. R. SMITH, Magistrate Judge.

Deborah Lynn Sikes seeks judicial review of a Social Security Disability claim. Doc. 1. She also moves for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Doc. 2. While a plaintiff need not be absolutely destitute in order to proceed IFP, Adkins v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours , 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948), the fact that financing her own litigation may cause some difficulty is not sufficient to relieve a plaintiff of her obligation to pay her own way where it is possible to do so without undue hardship.

On her IFP application Sikes claims she has no income, no assets, and no living expenses. Doc. 2 at 1-2. She does not reveal the source of her food, clothing, and shelter. Wary of such claims and cognizant of how easily one may consume a public resource with no financial skin in the game, [1] this Court demands supplemental information from dubious IFP movants. Lister v. Dept of Treasury , 408 F.3d 1309, 1313 (10th Cir. 2005) (court did not abuse its discretion by denying status to Social Security benefits claimant seeking judicial review of Commissioner's benefits denial; claimant, after having been specifically instructed on how to establish IFP status, failed to fill out proper forms or otherwise provide court with requisite financial information); Jackson v. Tucker , 2014 WL 851438 at * 1 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 5, 2014) ("After further review, the Court is not satisfied with his response. It undeniably costs money to live, and Jackson not only swears he has zero assets of any kind, but that he also supports two children. That's plainly not credible.") (cite omitted); Kareem v. Home Source Rental , 966 F.Supp.2d 1345, 1346 (S.D. Ga. 2013).

To that end, it tolerates no lies. Ross v. Fogam , 2011 WL 2516221 at * 1 (S.D. Ga. June 23, 2011) ("Ross, a convicted criminal, chose to burden this Court with falsehoods, not honesty. The Court thus rejects Ross's show cause explanation, as it is clear that he purposefully chose to disguise his filing history and financial status."); Johnson v. Chisolm , CV411-127, 2011 WL 3319872 at * 1 n. 3 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 1, 2011) ("This Court does not hesitate to invoke dismissal and other sanctions against inmates who lie to or otherwise deceive this Court."); see also Moss v. Premiere Credit, LLC , CV411-123, doe. 54 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 6, 2013) (Eleventh Circuit Order: "Moss's [IFP on appeal] motion is DENIED because her allegation of poverty appears to be untrue in light of her financial affidavit and filings in the district court.").[2]

Within 14 days of the date this Order is served, Sikes shall file a new IFP application, and shall disclose to the Court the following information:

(1) What she spends each month for basic living expenses such as food, clothing, shelter, and utilities, and the dollar value of any public or private assistance she may receive;
(2) Where she gets the money to pay for those expenses (include all "off-the-books" income, whether in cash or in-kind);
(3) Whether she owns any means of transportation and, if she does not, whether she has regular access to same, as owned by another (including a rental company);
(4) Whether she possesses a cellular telephone, TV set, and any home electronics equipment (include estimated value and related carrying expenses, such as carrier and subscription fees);
(5) Whether she has any credit or debit cards;
(6) Whether she is the account owner, or has signature power, as to any accounts with a bank or other financial institution;
(7) Whether she anticipates any future income within the next year.
(8) A list of any other cases showing an indigency-based, filing fee reduction or waiver granted by any other court (include the full case name, case number and the name of the court granting same).

Answering these points will better illuminate plaintiffs true financial condition. In that regard, she must again declare the facts he pleads to be true under penalty of perjury. If she does not use a preprinted IFP form to respond (hence, if she uses a blank sheet of paper), she must insert this above her signature: "I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date)." 28 U.S.C. § 1746(1).


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