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Mansfield v. United States

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

October 29, 2019




         Plaintiff, appearing pro se, has submitted a complaint, doc. 1, and motion to amend, doc. 7, alleging multiple statutory and constitutional claims. She seeks to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). Doc. 2. The information she has provided in support of her IFP motion is incomplete. She must, therefore, clarify her financial status, or pay the required filing fee, before her case can proceed.

         Plaintiff is employed and receives $2, 637.00 each month in wages. Doc. 2 at 1. She also affirms having received income from other sources during the previous year, though the nature of this income is unclear. Id. Plaintiff holds as assets a truck-valued at $10, 000.00-and, the court deduces, a home.[1] Doc. 2 at 2. These facts would typically not support a conclusion that IFP is appropriate.[2] The Court, however, notes that plaintiff has indicated considerable debt and monthly expenses in excess of monthly income. Id. Those monthly expenses include a vague reference to $300.00 in “miscellaneous costs.” Id. Also, a $1, 800.00 expense to Title Max is listed as both a monthly expense and debt, making it unclear to the Court if $1, 800.00 is a recurring monthly obligation or the total value of an outstanding loan. Id.

         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, [3] 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).[4]

         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.”).[5] Plaintiff's application for IFP status is, at best, incomplete. She, therefore, must amend her application to proceed IFP, to unambiguously disclose[6] the following information within 14 days from the date of this Order:

(1) The source and amount of any non-wage income received within the previous 12-months;
(2) All held assets (e.g., homes, vehicles, household furnishings, etc.);
(3) The type and amount of all regular monthly expenses; and (4) Monthly payments toward outstanding debts.

         Providing this information will better illuminate Plaintiff's true financial condition. In that regard, she must again declare the facts she pleads to be true, and sign her name to that declaration-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). The Clerk is DIRECTED to serve with this Order a blank IFP form for Plaintiff's 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 ORDERED.



[1] Included amongst listed monthly expenses and debts are references to a mortgage. Doc. 2 at 2. This suggests the ownership of real property and related furnishings that are not listed amongst plaintiff's assets.

[2] A party need not establish that they are completely destitute, but must demonstrate that, because of their poverty, they are “unable to pay for the court fees and costs, and to support and provide necessities for himself and his dependents.” Martinez v. Kristi Kleaners, Inc., 364 F.34 1305, 1307 (11th Cir. 2004). IFP is reserved for those for which the Court's ...

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