United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
PAUL L. NALLY, Plaintiff,
STATE OF GEORGIA AND THE SUPERIOR COURT OF TREUTLEN COUNTY, GEORGIA, Defendants.
T. TREADWELL, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
Paul L. Nally has moved to proceed in forma
pauperis. Doc. 2. Motions to proceed IFP are governed by
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), which provides:
[A]ny court of the United States may authorize the
commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or
proceeding, civil or criminal, or appeal therein, without
prepayment of fees or security therefor, by a person who
submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets
such prisoner possesses that the person is unable to pay such
fees or give security therefor.
considering a motion to proceed IFP filed under §
1915(a), "[t]he only determination to be made by the
court... is whether the statements in the affidavit
satisfy the requirement of poverty." Martinez v.
Kristi Kleaners, Inc., 364 F.3d 1305, 1307 (11th Cir.
2004) (emphasis added). To show poverty, a plaintiff need not
show in the affidavit that he is "absolutely
destitute." Id. Instead, "[s]uch an
affidavit will be held sufficient if it represents that the
[plaintiff], because of his poverty, is unable to pay for the
court fees and costs, and to support and provide necessities
for himself and his dependents." Id.
"Where the IFP affidavit is sufficient on its face to
demonstrate economic eligibility, the court should first
docket the case and then proceed to the question of whether
the asserted claim is frivolous." Id. (internal
quotation marks, alterations, and citation omitted). However,
"[i]f the district court finds that [plaintiff's]
affidavit is insufficient to provide an adequate basis for an
IFP determination, [plaintiff] should be directed to file a
supplemental affidavit providing additional information,
including [his] liabilities, which may assist the court in
its ruling." Id. at 1308; see also Thomas
v. Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, 574 Fed.Appx. 916,
917 (11th Cir. 2014) ("A court may not deny an IFP
motion without first comparing the applicant's assets and
liabilities in order to determine whether he has satisfied
the poverty requirement.").
case, Plaintiff has not submitted an affidavit to show he is
unable to pay for the court fees. Rather, in his motion to
proceed IFP, Plaintiff states that he receives a gross
monthly sum of $1, 752.32 and that, due to his indigent
status, he "is without sufficient funds and other
resources necessary to obtain all mailing addresses of the
Grand Jurors so that he might submit his petition directly to
all of them." Doc. 2 at 1. First, Plaintiff's
apparent gross annual income of $21, 027.84 far exceeds the
federal poverty guideline for a household of one, which is
$12, 060. In addition, because there is no
affidavit, the Court cannot compare Plaintiff's assets
and liabilities to determine whether he satisfies the poverty
requirement. While the Court may "look beyond the
plaintiff's application to proceed in forma
pauperis to determine his financial condition, "
Plaintiff has provided no additional information other than
his bare claim of indigent status. Durrett v. Jenkins
Brickyard, Inc., 678 F.2d 911, 917 (11th Cir. 1982).
Accordingly, Plaintiff must pay the full filing fee of
$400.00, or, if he still claims he is impoverished, file a
detailed affidavit providing additional information,
including an itemization of his assets and liabilities.
should also note that an action only has legal merit in the
federal court if it falls within the court's limited
subject-matter jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life
ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Accordingly,
if an action does not fall within the Court's
subject-matter jurisdiction, it is frivolous under Section
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and thus warrants dismissal of both the
action itself and the accompanying IFP application. See
Davis v. Ryan Oaks Apartment., 357 Fed.Appx.. 237, 238
(11th Cir. 2009) (affirming the district court's decision
to vacate its order granting IFP because the court was
"authorized, indeed compelled, to dismiss the case once
it realized that subject-matter jurisdiction did not
exist"). Moreover, regardless of whether a plaintiff has
filed an IFP application with his action, the Court is
obligated to consider sua sponte whether a claim
falls within its subject-matter jurisdiction and dismiss the
claim if it finds subject-matter jurisdiction to be lacking.
See Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 141 (2012).
Thus, if Plaintiff chooses to submit an affidavit in support
of his motion to proceed IFP, he should carefully consider
whether his complaint establishes that this Court has the
jurisdiction to give him the relief he seeks. In all
likelihood, this case will be dismissed.
 "Despite the statute's use of
the phrase 'prisoner possesses, ' the affidavit
requirement applies to all persons requesting leave to
proceed IFP." Martinez v. Kristi Kleaners, 364
F.3d 1305, 1306 n.2 (11th Cir. 2004).
 The federal poverty guidelines can be