United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
T. TREADWELL, JUDGE.
Marcus Swayne has moved to proceed in forma pauperis. Doc. 2.
As discussed below, the Plaintiff's motion to proceed IFP
(Doc. 2) is GRANTED, and the Plaintiff's
complaint (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED without
prejudice pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform
to proceed IFP are governed by the PLRA, specifically 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), the Court must first determine whether the Plaintiff
is unable to pay court costs and fees and is therefore a
pauper under § 1915, and then determine whether the
claim asserted is frivolous or malicious. Procup v.
Strickland, 760 F.2d 1107, 1114 (11th Cir. 1985).
poverty, a plaintiff need not show in the affidavit that he
is “absolutely destitute.” Martinez v. Kristi
Kleaners, Inc., 364 F.3d 1305, 1307 (11th Cir. 2004)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
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. (quotation marks and citation
omitted). However, this statute “should not be a broad
highway into the federal courts.” Attwood v.
Singletary, 105 F.3d 610, 613 (11th Cir. 1997) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted). Section 1915(a)
“conveys only a privilege to proceed without payment to
only those litigants unable to pay costs without undue
hardship.” Mack v. Petty, 2014 WL 3845777, at
*1 (N.D.Ga. 2014) (internal quotation marks and citations
omitted). The district court is given wide discretion to
decide IFP cases and should grant the privilege sparingly,
especially in civil cases for damages. Martinez, 364
F.3d at 1306 (citation omitted).
case, the Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit showing that
he is unable to pay the court fees. In his motion to proceed
IFP, the Plaintiff states that he receives a monthly income
in the amount of $1, 500, with his spouse earning a monthly
income of $1, 600, for a total household income of $3, 100.00
per month. Doc. 2 at 1-2. The Plaintiff's
apparent household gross annual income of $38, 000 is above
the federal poverty guideline for a household of two, which
is currently $16, 910. The Plaintiff does not expect any major
changes to his household income during the next twelve
months. Id. at 2.
to determine indigent status, the Court must also compare the
Plaintiff's assets and liabilities. See Thomas v.
Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, 574 Fed.Appx. 916, 917
(11th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted) (holding that a court
must compare the applicant's assets and liabilities to
determine whether the poverty requirement has been satisfied
because an annual income exceeding the poverty guideline is
“insufficient” on its own as a reason to deny an
IFP motion). The Plaintiff's financial affidavit shows
assets of a home, valued at $140, 000; a 2009 Ford F150,
valued at $3, 000; and a 2015 Toyota Highlander valued at $2,
500. Doc. 2 at 3. The Plaintiff's household monthly
expenses, including the mortgage payment, utilities,
maintenance, food, and insurance, are between $3, 300 and $3,
Id. at 4-5.
appears the Plaintiff's household monthly expenses exceed
the household monthly income. Accordingly, having read and
considered the Plaintiff's financial affidavit, the Court
concludes the Plaintiff is unable to pay the costs and fees
associated with this lawsuit, and his motion to proceed IFP
(Doc. 2) is GRANTED.
1915 does not create an absolute right to proceed IFP in
civil actions. “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.”
Martinez, 364 F.3d at 1307 (internal quotation
marks, alterations, and citation omitted). When allowing a
plaintiff to proceed IFP, the Court shall dismiss the case if
the Court determines that the complaint (1) “is
frivolous or malicious;” (2) “fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted;” or (3)
“seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
is frivolous if it “has little or no chance of success,
” meaning that it appears “from the face of the
complaint that the factual allegations are ‘clearly
baseless' or that the legal theories are
‘indisputably meritless.'” Carroll v.
Gross, 934 F.2d 392, 393 (11th Cir. 1993). “A
dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state
a claim is governed by the same standard as a dismissal
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6).”Thomas v. Harris, 399 Fed.Appx.
508, 509 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing Mitchell v.
Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997)). However,
because the Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, his
“pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than
pleadings drafted by attorneys and will, therefore, be
liberally construed.” Hughes v. Lott, 350 F.3d
1157, 1160 (11th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation ...