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Shellman v. Colvin

United States District Court, Southern District of Georgia, Savannah Division

May 12, 2015

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


Patrice Shellman has filed a complaint asking the Court to review the denial of her social security disability claim. Doc. 1. She also seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP").[1] Doc. 2. The Court does not rubber-stamp IFP applications, however, and in hers she claims zero assets and zero income, but states that two minors are dependent upon her. Id. at 2. It is, of course, facially inconsistent to claim to support two minors and yet disclaim any assets or income whatsoever. Shellman, then, appears to have omitted material information.

Wary of such claims and cognizant of how easily one may consume a public resource with no financial skin in the game, [2] this Court demands supplemental information from dubious IFP movants. Lister v. Dep't 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, 986 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, doc. 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.").[3]

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

(1) All "off-the-books" income, whether in cash or in-kind;
(2) Whether she has regular access to any transportation vehicle, as owned by another (including a rental company);
(3) 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);
(4) Whether she has any credit or debit cards;
(5) Whether she is the account owner, or has signature power, as to any accounts with a bank or other financial institution;
(6) Whether she anticipates any (within the next year) future income; and
(7) 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 she 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 his 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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