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Smart v. Leif

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

July 12, 2019



         Proceeding pro se, Matthew Smart has filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Complaint alleging various problems with his arrest and prosecution. Doc. 1. He also moves for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). Doc. 2. The information he has provided in support of his IFP motion is incomplete and contradictory. He must, therefore, clarify his financial status, or pay the required filing fee, before his case can proceed.

         Smart's application to proceed IFP originally stated that he was self-employed, and appears to indicate an income of $5, 000, perhaps per month. See doc. 2 at 1. He has, however, stricken that information and written “void.” Id. In lieu, he states that he was employed as of January 22, 2019 but made $3, 000 per month. Id. His Complaint also indicates that the arrest he complains of occurred on January 23, 2019, and among the relief he seeks is “compensation for the lost of $50, 000 in business and the lost [sic] of all my employee's for my company tip top tree ser.” Doc. 1 at 6. Despite that concession, he indicates that he has not received any money from any “[b]usiness, profession, or form of self-employment” for the past twelve months. Id. It appears, therefore, that Smart contends he was the owner or operator of a profitable business-after all he expected to make $50, 000 in approximately six months-on January 23, at 4:13 a.m., see Id. at 5-6, but that same business and all its profits and equipment have evaporated, leaving no assets of funds. To say nothing of the fact that, apparently, this same business disappeared retroactively leaving no income or property during the past twelve months. The Court is, to say the least, skeptical.

         Wary of indigency claims where information appears to have been omitted, 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. See, e.g., Kareem v. Home Source Rental, 986 F.Supp.2d 1345 (S.D. Ga. 2013); Robbins v. Universal Music Grp., 2013 WL 1146865 at *1 (S.D. Ga. Mar.19, 2013).[2]

         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, 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 of North America, LLC, 2013 WL 842515 (11th Cir. Mar. 6, 2013) (“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]Plaintiff's application for IFP status omits material details. He therefore must properly fill out his application to proceed IFP, additionally, he must disclose[4] the following information within 14 days from the date of this Order:

(1) His monthly income for each of the previous twelve months, i.e., from July 2018 through June 2019;
(2) The current legal status of Smart's business;
(3) Whether Smart, or a business he owns or controls, has any assets, including equipment;
(4) Whether he possesses a cellular telephone and any home electronics equipment (include estimated value and related carrying expenses, such as carrier and subscription fees);
(5) Whether he has any credit or debit cards;
(6) Whether he is the account owner, or has signature power, as to any accounts with a bank or other financial institution;
(7) Whether he anticipates any future (within the next year) income;
(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).

         Providing this information will better illuminate Plaintiffs true financial condition. In that regard, he must again declare the facts he pleads to be true, and sign his name to that declaration - under penalty of perjury. If he does not use a preprinted IFP form to respond (hence, if he uses a blank sheet of paper), he 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). The Clerk is DIRECTED to serve with this Order a blank IFP form for Plaintiffs convenience. Failure to comply with this directive will result in a recommendation of dismissal on IFP-deficiency grounds alone. Kareem v. Home Source Rental, 2014 WL 24347 at *1 (S.D. Ga. Jan. 2, 2014).

         SO ...

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